My All Time Favorite New York Jets Players
Originally called the Titans, the New York Jets took part in two of the AFL’s biggest moments before the merger of the two leagues in 1970. First, the Jets were able to lure one of the best players in franchise history to them in 1965. Joe Namath is still considered one of the best Jets ever more than 50 years after he took his first snaps as quarterback. Namath was part of one of the most memorable moments in Jets and NFL history when he guaranteed that the underdog Jets would defeat the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. After the Jets victory, though considered one of the worst teams to win a Super Bowl, Namath became known as Mr. Jet and is considered one of the best Jets of all time.
Despite the team’s continuous run of mediocrity, with a few playoff seasons sprinkled in over the years, the New York Jets have had a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. Curtis Martin, Darrelle Revis, Don Maynard and Mark Gastineau are all considered some of the best Jets ever. These players are either in the Pro Football Hall of Fame or are considered some of the best players at their positions. The Jets may only have one Super Bowl in its trophy case, but the top players in the team’s history won a slew of individual honors to cement their status with in the NFL community.
There is and there will never be another quarterback like Broadway Joe. The bravado, the guarantee, the talent all culminate into the man Jets fans have come to love. The current New York Jets all-time leader in passing yards took the team to their only Super Bowl appearance in 1968 and also gave the team their first and only Super Bowl Victory to date. When everybody thinks of the Jets, one of the first names that will come to mind is Joe Namath. By the end of his 12-year stint with the Jets, Namath completed 1,886 passes for 27,057 yards and 173 touchdowns.
The quarterback out of Southern California has led the Jets to two consecutive AFC Championships appearances in his first two years in the NFL.
Even though he arrived in New York at age 35, Testaverde proved that age is simply just a number. For seven years, Testaverde played a crucial role as he led the Jets offense, throwing for 12,497 yards, 77 touchdowns, completing 59 percent of his passes. Like Jumbo Elliot, Testaverde was huge in the Jets comeback victory against the Dolphins in October of 2000 as he slowly but surely ate away at the 30-7 Miami lead.
n 1998 the Jets got Curtis Martin from the New England Patriots, one of the best decisions they ever made. Martin did not waste any time once he got to New York as he continued to rush for over 1,000 yards every season except for his last. This commitment to success is what got Martin 10,302 rushing yards as a member of the Jets, placing him above Freeman McNeil, Emerson Boozer, Matt Snell and all of the other New York Jets running backs. Martin was not inducted into the Hall of Fame, but it is only a matter of time since he is one of the NFL’s most successful running backs.
In 1982, the Jets had an NFL rushing leader in Freeman McNeil despite a shortened season because of a work stoppage. 1982 was not McNeil’s only successful season, the three time pro bowler rushed over 1,000 yards in 1984 and 1985. By the end of his career in 1992, McNeil was the all-time leading rusher in Jets franchise history until Curtis Martin joined the team in 1998.
It is mainly running backs that gain all the recognition for being successful rushers as most fullbacks are used to block. In 1969, Matt Snell was more than a blocking fullback as he rushed for 121 yards with one touchdown in Super Bowl III. Snell’s touchdown was the only one scored for the Jets that game. His career numbers also represent his versatility as he rushed for over 4,000 yards with 24 touchdowns in his nine years as a Jet.
While he was not at his best with the Jets, John Riggins definitely deserves to be acknowledged for his accomplishments as a part of the green & white. Before Curtis Martin and Freeman McNeil, Riggins was the first Jet to ever rush over 1,000 yards as he had 1,005 yards in 1975.
As a part of the Jets organization, Keyshawn caught 305 passes for 4,108 yards with 31 touchdowns, averaging 13.5 yards a reception.
Al Toon was a great New York Jet. In the eight seasons he played with the Jets and had over 500 receptions for over 6,500 yards with 31 touchdowns.
Possibly the most inspiring story in Jets history is Wesley Walker’s story. Throughout his career, Walker played with one healthy eye, yet he was able to produce at a high level. In the 13 years Walker played with the Jets, he caught 438 passes for 8,306 yards, with 71 touchdowns and averaging 19 yards a reception.
For 13 years, Don Maynard gave Jets fans a reason to cheer for him, by the time he was done in New York, Maynard had accumulated 627 receptions for 11,732 yards, 88 touchdowns while averaging 18.7 yards a reception. Maynard was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987 as he was one of the best receivers in NFL history and the greatest receiver in Jets history; his Super Bowl ring, statistics and place in the NFL Hall of Fame speak for themselves.
Richard Caster produced as a part of gang green. In his eight seasons as a Jet, he caught over 250 passes for more than 4,000 yards with 36 touchdowns.
The bulky Shuler was versatile, as he could block but also had soft hands. The skill he possessed is what all coaches look for, an all-around player that is beneficial to the team. In his 12 years with the Jets, Shuler 462 passes for 5,100 yards with 37 touchdowns.
The powerful tackle always flew under the radar as he never went to a Pro Bowl or was named All-Pro, but he definitely helped when it came to protecting Emerson Boozer, Matt Snell, Joe Namath and many others. From 1963 to 1976, Hill was as reliable and durable as offensive lineman come.
OG – Randy Rasmussen (1966-1981)
Sometimes the guys in the trenches go unnoticed or don’t get the attention they deserve, in this case Randy Rasmussen is being acknowledged for his dedication to playing for the Jets game in andgameout. In the 15 seasons he played, Rasmussen played in 207 games and started in 198.
When someone speaks of Kevin Mawae, they automatically think great center. There is a reason why Curtis Martin is the all-time leader in rushing yards for the Jets, he had a great offensive line for the eight years he played in New York. Mawae was in charge of that group, and he did a spectacular job of controlling those men. This is best exemplified by the fact that from 1999 to 2004, he always made the Pro Bowl.
Like Mark Sanchez, Nick Mangold is young but he has done everything and anything the Jets have asked of him since he first joined the team. The six foot four center was number 47 on NFL’s top 100 players of 2011 and is a key part in the Jets successful running game that has been one of the league’s top rushing offenses.
OG – Dave Herman (1964-1973)
The last of the defensive players is Mark Gastineau. Known for his “sack dance” in opposing teams backfields’ Gastineau was a love him or hate him kind of guy. One thing people can not take away from him, is the fact that he is one of the NFL’s all time greatest pass rushers. For 17 years, Gastineau held the single season sack record with 22 sacks in 1984. By the end of his career Gastineau had 107.5 unofficial sacks (74 official sacks), which is why he is one of the best in NFL history, it is only a matter of time until he has a bust in Canton.
Possibly one of the biggest steals the Jets ever had in their history is Joe Klecko. In 1977, the Jets drafted Klecko in the sixth round of the NFL Draft, he made sure that the Jets would not regret drafting him. In his 11 years with the Jets, Klecko played at each defensive line position, making the Pro Bowl at each position. By the end of his career Klecko had 24 (official) sacks, aside from Jets fans, Klecko is not a big name, possibly why he is not in the Hall of Fame even though he made several All-Pro first teams.
The defensive end has been a great piece of the Jets organization for the last decade. Since 2000, Ellis has racked up 72.5 sacks in 170 games played while making 387 tackles with 166 assists.
DT – John Elliott (1967-1973)
While injuries after the Super Bowl season kept him from doing much better, John Elliot is still one of the better defensive tackles. Elliot’s contributions served the Jets well as they helped to keep the Baltimore Colts to only seven points; in 1969, he was named to the All-AFL first team.
Before there was the New York Sack Exchange, there was Gerry Philbin. The defensive end played for the Jets in the late ’60s into the seventies and was part of the Super Bowl champion team. From 1967 through 1969, the Associated Press and UPI named Philbin to the All-AFL first team.
Morris “Mo” Lewis
Mo Lewis was the ideal linebacker for the New York Jets. For 13 years, Lewis was the guy you could count on, he rarely missed games and would always produce. By the end of his career, Lewis had statistics that many linebackers aim for. Lewis had 1012 tackles, 52.5 sacks, 14 interceptions and four touchdowns. The Jets wee very fortunate to draft Lewis in the third round of the 1991 NFL draft, an investment well spent.
LB – Larry Grantham (1960-1972)
Ahead of Al Atkinson for most interceptions by a New York Jets linebacker and tied for third most interceptions by a Jet is linebacker Larry Grantham. Grantham recorded 24 interceptions, returning one for a touchdown while being named to the All-AFL team each year from 1960 to 1971.
Lance Mehl is a player that deserves recognition for the promise he had and great play he showed in his brief time with the Jets. Mehl played with the Jets from 1980 to 1987, but knee injuries kept him sidelined, leading to an early retirement. Mehl is most known for his spectacular play in the 1982 playoffs against the Raiders.
Better known as “Revis Island” is the Jets current cornerback. Right now, Revis is arguably the best cornerback in the league as he shuts down any receiver he faces, essentially taking them out of the game. Some think he has the potential to be one of the best Jets ever as he is feared by offenses all around the league.
One of the former Jets players tied for third most interceptions is James Hasty. Until 1995, Hasty was a part of Gang Green as he racked up 24 interceptions and 18 fumble recoveries.
While they work just as hard as other players, safeties never really get the recognition they deserve. While this name is a throwback, Bill Baird was the Jets greatest safety. Further proving the point that Baird is an unsung hero in New York, Baird was never in the pro bowl, but he currently holds the record for most interceptions by a member of the Jets with 34.
Darrelle Revis may be the best cornerback for the Jets right now, but he still needs to have another few seasons where receivers get lost on “Revis Island” before he is labeled the best cornerback in Jets history. As of right now, Aaron Glenn holds the title of best cornerback in Jets history. Like James Hasty, Glenn is tied for third most interceptions in franchise history with 24. His speed not only let him to get to the ball in order to pick it off, it allowed him to take three back for touchdowns, one of which that went for 100 yards.
S – Victor Green (1993-2001)
S – Dainard Paulson (1961-1966)
By far the most durable New York Jet as Pat Leahy holds the team record for most games played (250) as he played for 18 years. On top of that, Leahy holds the record for the franchise’s all-time leading scorer with 1,470 points. He was named to the All-Pro first team in 1978 and the All-Pro second team in 1981, 1986 and 1987.
P – Curley Johnson (1960-1968)
PR – JoJo Townsell (1985-1990)
KR – Bruce Harper
When it came to special teams and offense, Bruce Harper was the man to go to for the Jets. With over 200 catches in his career and over 11,000 all-purpose yards. Harper was a great kick returner and reliable receiver when chunks were needed.
Wilbur “Weeb” Ewbank (1963-1973)
He has the most wins as a coach in franchise history (71) and is the only head coach in franchise history to win a Super Bowl. Besides the amount of wins and losses, there are no other statistics of Ewbank’s to quote, what matters is that he brought the Lombardi trophy home to New York and is the only one to do it for gang green so far.
From the vast emptiness of the Polo Grounds to the thunderous roar of the Meadowlands, the incredible history of the New York Jets. Covering 47 seasons of passion, J-E-T-S takes you from the dismal hilarity of the early years, through the Joe Namath era, the New York Sack Exchange, the heartbreak kids of 1986 right up to the Eric Mangini era of today. The history of the New York Jets is unlike any other in the history of the NFL. Born into anonymity, formed on the consistent verge of bankruptcy, to love the Jets is to dream. In January of 1969, the dream became reality as the Jets overcame the greatest odds in sports history to win Super Bowl III.
- Named in 1963 after the Jets that flew overhead at Shea Stadium, their home starting in 1964 from nearby LaGuardia Airport. It also gave them a name that rhymed with Mets, who they shared Shea Stadium with at the time.
- New York Titans (1960-1962)
- New York Jets (1963-Present)
- Sammy Baugh (1960-1961)
- Bulldog Turner (1962)
- Weeb Ewbank (1963-1973)
- Charley Winner (1974-1975)
- Ken Shipp (1975)
- Lou Holtz (1976)
- Mike Holovak (1976)
- Walt Michales (1977-1982)
- Joe Walton (1983-1989)
- Bruce Coslet (1990-1993)
- Pete Carroll (1994)
- Richie Kotite (1995-1996)
- Bill Parcells (1997-1999)
- Al Groh (2000)
- Herman Edwards (2001-2005)
- Eric Mangini (2006-2008)
- Rex Ryan (2009-2014)
- Todd Bowles (2015-2018)
- Adam Gase (2019-Present)
SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS
- Super Bowl III (1968) – New York Jets defeat Baltimore Colts 16-7
AFL CHAMPIONS (PRE-1966)
SUPER BOWL APPEARANCES
- Super Bowl III (1968) – New York Jets vs. Baltimore Colts
AFL CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES (PRE-1966)
AFL/AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
- 1968, 1982, 1998, 2009, 2010
- 1968, 1969, 1998, 2002
- 1968, 1969, 1981, 1982, 1985, 1986, 1991, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2010
- 12-13 .480
HALL OF FAME PLAYERS
- Weeb Ewbank Coach (1963-1973)
- Ronnie Lott S (1994)
- Curtis Martin RB (1998-2005)
- Don Maynard WR (1960-1972)
- Art Monk WR (1994)
- Joe Namath QB (1965-1976)
- John Riggins RB (1971-1975)
- 12 Joe Namath QB (1965-1976)
- 13 Don Maynard WR (1960-1972)
- 28 Curtis Martin RB (1995-2005)
- 73 Joe Klecko DE (1977-1987)
PRO BOWL MVP
- 1966 Joe Namath QB
- 1967 Verlon Biggs
- 1968 Don Maynard WR
- 1968 Joe Namath QB
- 1985 Mark Gastineau LB
- 1999 Keyshawn Johnson WR
COACH OF THE YEAR
AFL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
- 1964 Matt Snell FB
- 1965 Joe Namath QB
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
- 1988 Erik McMillan S
- 1995 Hugh Douglas DE
- 2004 Jonathan Vilma LB
OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
AFL PLAYER OF THE YEAR
- 1968 Joe Namath QB
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
SUPER BOWL MVP
- Super Bowl III – Joe Namath QB (1968)
Bill Baird is my all time Jet. He was the DB coach at Fresno St. when I played there in 1973 and was a great guy for even an OL guy to have as a role model.