It’s historic. It’s longstanding. It shares a stadium. It’s the battle of Jets vs Giants fans.
Two groups that passionately follow their teams’ every move. But which camp has a tendency toward gloating? And which is known for slinging the most mud? Is one fan base objectively more committed than the other?
For fans of either team, it’s a topic that hits close to home — literally. These are the only two teams in the NFL that come from the same place and play on the same turf: Since 2010, it’s been MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.
Before that, it was Giants Stadium for 26 years.
Traditionally, national sports team rivalries are determined by division — for example, the Philadelphia Eagles vs the Dallas Cowboys. There are also regional clashes, as seen between the Washington Redskins and the Baltimore Ravens.
However, the New York Jets and the New York Giants are an anomaly. They’re not in the same division or conference, and as a result, they only really square off in the preseason.
Regular season games generally happen every four years when the NFC East plays the AFC East.
And now, as the two teams get ready to face each other in regular-season play in 2019, for the first time in nearly half a decade, will the clash add fuel to the fire of any fan base antagonism?
NY Giants or NY Jets: Which team has the best fan base?
That’s a loaded question. Historically, it’s easier to be a New York Giants fan than a New York Jets fan.
“Giants are the class act of New York sports,” said Giants fan Ryan T. “They welcome other fans to New York for games. All around passionate but not over the top.”
They’ve still had their fair share of frustration over the years. Lifelong fans like Kurt F. know that defense is the team’s strong suit, and defensive coaches from Vince Lombardi to Bill Belichick have defined the Giants’ success — but they keep going to other teams.
“That’s what really burns up Giants fans,” he said. “This turnover of great coaches.”
Still, they’ve had a lot to cheer about. The Giants have four NFL Championships and four Super Bowl wins, with five appearances.
But when the team isn’t winning, they grumble louder too, and the last few years have been tough times for the team and its followers. Fans were vocal on Twitter after the NY Giants traded away fan-favorite Odell Beckham.
But they still pull for their G-Men, convinced every year they’ll make it to the playoffs.
“Giants fans are riding a bit of a high from their latest Super Bowl,” said Jets fan Adam K. “They forgot their roots, and they’ve gotten a little too used to success.”
And what about those NY Jets fans?
And while the Giants camp is known for cheering, it’s become customary for Jets fans to jeer during the NFL Draft. They’ve developed a culture that celebrates, or at least indulges in, their team’s hardships.
“The Jets are always the underdog,” Adam said. “Jets fans are used to carrying their team through thick and thin — they aren’t bandwagon fans!”
The Jets history of brutal losses, unfortunate mishaps, and unbridled fury goes way back. Just look at the infamous Heidi Game of 1968, where an NBC made-for-television movie eclipsed gameplay.
“The Jets were leading by seven and playing the Oakland Raiders,” recalled Kurt. “They got to about a minute left — and the stations curtailed coverage of the game and put on Heidi, and Oakland scored two touchdowns to win the game. The fans were just furious.”
Between keeping the faith, booing the draft, and Fireman Ed — the retired firefighter and superfan who led the “J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets!” chant on and off for 27 years — it goes without saying that Jets fans are a slightly zanier bunch than their Giants counterparts.
But nothing has stopped them from supporting Gang Green all these years.
Along with the rousing “J-E-T-S” cheer, they have another saying: the more subdued and sarcastic “It could be worse.”
“Jets fans seem to have a touch of defeatism or at least an expectation that they will lose more than they win,” said Ryan.
Giants vs. Jets odds
Here are the odds for the Giants vs. Jets game this Sunday as of Nov. 4 from the top three NJ sports betting apps:
|Giants vs. Jets||DraftKings||FanDuel||William Hill|
|Spread||NYJ +2.5 NYG -2.5||NYJ +2.5 NYG -2.5||NYJ +1.5 NYG -1.5|
|Moneyline||NYJ +112 NYG -136||NYJ +120 NYG -138||No line|
A family feud: Jets vs Giants fan loyalty
Here’s a better question: Is there any fan base antagonism?
“Most folks are brought up in either a Jets family or a Giants family, and that dictates which team they cheer for,” said fan Adam K., who was raised in a Giants household but defected to the Jets.
“The rivalry is sort of meaningless,” admitted Kurt. “Everyone hates when they play each other because there’s potential to knock out a team from the finals.”
However, in the rare cases where the Jets and the Giants go head-to-head, battle lines are drawn.
“It’s in the same stadium, they represent the same area and a lot of fans have family and friends who root for the other team,” said Adam. “Depending on your personal experience, it becomes either really nice or really heated.”
Although the Giants and Jets have only met 13 times in regular-season play since 1970, they’ve had their share of memorable meetings that have refueled the stadium-sibling rivalry.
In 1988, they crossed paths in the last game of the season. The Jets’ playoff hopes were already dashed, and the Giants needed the win to snatch the NFC East title and win a playoff spot.
But the Jets, who’d had an otherwise dismal season, beat the Giants 27-21 and kept them out of the playoffs. Needless to say, Giants fans were outraged.
Sweet revenge was a long time in the making.
In 2011, both teams needed a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, but the Giants closed out a Jets lead in the second quarter and went on to victory, eliminating the Jets from playoff contention and eventually winning Super Bowl XLVI.
Then there’s the Snoopy Bowl. According to Giants fan Ryan T., this annual exhibition match does have a tendency to stoke the fires.
“I remember Jason Sehorn getting injured returning a kick, and missing the entire season in a year where the Giants had big hopes. Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez got hurt in an exhibition game in the fourth quarter, which was the start of the end of his career.”
Jets and Giants fans looking forward to a matchup year
The Giants beat the Jets in their preseason Snoopy Bowl this year, which doesn’t mean a thing except to fans looking for bragging rights.
This year’s regular-season meeting will take place on Nov. 10 in Week 10. Jets fans have a lot to be optimistic about with new acquisitions Le’Veon Bell and Quinnen Williams and last year’s first-round draft, Sam Darnold.
The Giants look equally primed for success this year thanks to surprising new QB Daniel Jones and last year’s rookie star Saquon Barkley.
Is there a fan base who deserves a bit of humbling this year? We’re inclined to think not.
Sure, most Giants fans think of their team as New York’s No. 1. They were here first, and their longer history boasts a lot more championships. But loyal Giants fans take the slumps, too. They’re not going anywhere.
In turn, Jets fans are the scrappy diehards, having stayed with their team through years of disappointing seasons with unconditional love, relishing the good times and waiting for them to return.
Who’s the fiercest fan base? Just ask a Jets or Giants fan, and they’ll gladly tell you.
Super Bowl Championships
- Jets: 1 (III)
- Giants: 4 (XXI, XXV, XLII, XLVI)
- Jets: Ray Romano, Adam Sandler, Hayden Panettiere, Jay-Z, Rachael Ray, Bobby Cannavale
- Giants: Lady Gaga, Spike Lee, Alyssa Milano, Jon Bon Jovi, Kate Mara, Tracy Morgan
Biggest Lead Blown
- Jets vs Philadelphia Eagles (1993): 21-point lead
- Giants vs San Francisco 49ers (2003): 24-point lead
- Jets vs Miami Dolphins (2000): 23-point deficit
- Giants vs Chicago Cardinals (1949): 21-point deficit
Show your team spirit this NFL season and check out DraftKings Sportsbook to place your bets.
Photo credits: New York Giants vs. New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in 2010 –– Debby Wong / Shutterstock Inc., New York Jets fan holding sign during game at MetLife Stadium in 2012 –– Debby Wong / Shutterstock Inc., Giants Rookie QB Daniel Jones during a game in 2018 –– Soule’ Photographer / Shutterstock Inc.