The Jets are an original member of the AFL, but they were founded as The Titans of New York. In their 56 seasons, they are most known for their historic upset in Super Bowl III over the Baltimore Colts before the AFL-NFL merger, when they became the first AFL team to defeat an NFL franchise. That victory, along with the brash guarantee of the win by the star QB, is arguably the most significant game and moment in the history of Pro Football.
Outside of their AFL Championship and Super Bowl III win, the Jets haven’t enjoyed much team success. They’ve never won the AFC title, they’ve only won their division 4 times and made the playoffs 14 times with their last appearance coming in 2010. Of the 9 teams that begin play in 1960 along with them, they have the lowest total of regular season wins (387).
But I don’t want to bash on New York’s “other team”, because despite the mediocre team success, some talented players and coaches have worn the green and white.
- No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
- Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
- Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.
Joe Namath (1965-76) was under center for the team’s only Super Bowl appearance and Victory in Super Bowl III, and was named the game’s MVP. “Broadway Joe” is the Jets career leader in wins (60) for a QB, passing yards (27,057), passing touchdowns (170) and pass attempts (3,655). He was the first QB to throw for 4,000 yards in a season in 1967. Namath was a 2-time AFL MVP (1968,1969), 2-time UPI AFL Player of the Year, 1965 AFL Rookie of the Year, 4-time AFL All-Star (1965,1967-1969), 1972 Pro Bowler, and a member of the AFL All-Time Team. The team retired his jersey number 12, and in 1985 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Weeb Ewbank (1963-1973) was the winning head coach in Super Bowl III and the AFL Championship. His 71 victories as head coach are still the most in team history. In 1969 he was awarded NFL Coach of the Year, and in 1978 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He also won two NFL Championships as head coach of the Baltimore Colts.
Curtis Martin (1998-2005) is the Jets all-time leader in rushing yards (10,302), rushing touchdowns (58) and carries (2560). Martin was a 3-time Pro Bowler (1998,2001,2004) and 3-time All-Pro with the Jets. Four times he was named New York Jets MVP (1999-2001,2004) and he became the oldest player to lead the NFL in rushing in 2004 at age 31. Add his numbers from his three seasons with the New England Patriots (1995-1997) and his total of 14,101 rushing yards is the 4th most in NFL history. The Jets retired his jersey number 28, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012.
Don Maynard (1960-1972) is the Jets/Titans all-time leader in receptions (627), receiving yards (11,732) and receiving touchdowns (88). He was a member of the Super Bowl III and AFL Championship teams. Maynard was a 4-time AFL All-Star (1965,1967-1969), 4-time All-AFL (1965,1967-1969) and is a member of the AFL All-Time Team. The team has retired Maynard’s jersey number 13, and he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.
J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets! fans what do you think? Is this the Mount Rushmore you’d want to see for your team, or is there someone not on the list that you’d prefer to see? Let me know.