1996 New York Jets season
|1996 New York Jets season|
|Head coach||Rich Kotite (resigned)|
|Home field||The Meadowlands|
|Division place||5th AFC East|
|Playoff finish||did not qualify|
The 1996 New York Jets season began with the team trying to improve upon its league-worst 3–13 record from 1995. However, this season proved even more calamitous as they finished 1–15, which is the worst record in franchise history. This led to the resignation of head coach Rich Kotite after the season ended.
The Jets tied an NFL record that the New Orleans Saints set in 1980 and became the fifth team and first since the 1991 Indianapolis Colts to finish a season with fifteen losses. The record would be equaled by the 2000 San Diego Chargers, 2001 Carolina Panthers, and the 2007 Miami Dolphins before the 2008 Detroit Lions eclipsed it by becoming the first team to go through a sixteen-game season without a single victory.
After three seasons with quarterback Boomer Esiason as the starter, the Jets decided to go in a different direction and released Esiason in the offseason. They signed Neil O'Donnell, who had just led the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Super Bowl, to replace him in the hopes he would duplicate his success with the Steelers. The Jets received the first pick in the NFL draft in April and drafted wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson out of the University of Southern California. The Jets also signed offensive tackles Jumbo Elliott and David Williams and receivers Jeff Graham and Webster Slaughter. The Jets spent $70 million in the offseason on free-agent and rookie contracts.
O'Donnell was the starter for the first six games of the season, but they went 0–6 under him. He suffered a season-ending shoulder injury during pregame warmups before the seventh game. Longtime Buffalo Bills backup quarterback Frank Reich replaced him, but he didn't fare much better. They lost to Jacksonville and Buffalo, before the now lowly 0–8 Jets beat former Jets QB Boomer Esiason and his new team, the Arizona Cardinals (although Esiason didn't play for the game for Arizona), in Sun Devil Stadium for what would be their only win of the season, in their first game against the Cardinals since 1978. Kotite announced his resignation on December 20.
|Week||Date||Opponent||Result||Game site||Network||Kickoff (ET)||Attendance|
|1||September 1, 1996||at Denver Broncos||L 6–31||Mile High Stadium||NBC||4:00pm||
|2||September 8, 1996||Indianapolis Colts||L 7–21||Giants Stadium||NBC||1:00pm||
|3||September 15, 1996||at Miami Dolphins||L 27–36||Pro Player Stadium||NBC||1:00pm||
|4||September 22, 1996||New York Giants||L 6–13||Giants Stadium||FOX||4:00pm||
||Game broadcast by FOX (Mike Breen and Bill Maas)|
|5||September 29, 1996||at Washington Redskins||L 16–31||Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium||TNT||8:00pm||
|6||October 6, 1996||Oakland Raiders||L 13–34||Giants Stadium||NBC||1:00pm||
|7||October 13, 1996||at Jacksonville Jaguars||L 17–21||Alltel Stadium||NBC||1:00pm||
|8||October 20, 1996||Buffalo Bills||L 22–25||Giants Stadium||NBC||4:00pm||
|9||October 27, 1996||at Arizona Cardinals||W 31–21||Sun Devil Stadium||NBC||4:00pm||
|11||November 10, 1996||New England Patriots||L 27–31||Giants Stadium||NBC||1:00pm||
|12||November 17, 1996||at Indianapolis Colts||L 29–34||RCA Dome||NBC||1:00pm||
|13||November 24, 1996||at Buffalo Bills||L 10–35||Rich Stadium||NBC||1:00pm||
|14||December 1, 1996||Houston Oilers||L 10–35||Giants Stadium||NBC||1:00pm||
|15||December 8, 1996||at New England Patriots||L 10–34||Foxboro Stadium||NBC||1:00pm||
|16||December 14, 1996||Philadelphia Eagles||L 20–21||Giants Stadium||FOX||12:30pm||
|17||December 22, 1996||Miami Dolphins||L 28–31||Giants Stadium||NBC||1:00pm||
|(2) New England Patriots||11||5||0||.688||418||313||W1|
|(4) Buffalo Bills||10||6||0||.625||319||266||W1|
|(6) Indianapolis Colts||9||7||0||.563||317||334||L1|
|New York Jets||1||15||0||.063||279||454||L7|