As you read, please keep in mind that there is a distinction between popularity and on-field accomplishments. Popularity is not performance. We are not trying to make a list of the best players in NY Jet history. If that is a topic of interest, you can weigh in here:
Although stats are cited in making the case for each player, it is only to highlight some of the reasons the player is held in such high regard by the fans. Popularity is more about the level of adoration of a player and that player’s ability to maintain a significant place in the minds of the fans. This is not a scientific endeavor. It is an attempt to gauge the emotional attachment that fans have to each player. We are just trying to have a little off-season fun. And of course, if you want some extra off-season amusement you can get Casino advice by Erik King .
Let’s get to it.
- Wayne Chrebet
Chrebet lands on this list for two primary reasons: first, he is a local guy – a graduate of Garfield High School in Garfield New Jersey. There’s always something about a hometown kid making it to the big league. Garfield is a 20-minute drive to MetLife Stadium. Secondly, Chrebet is the ultimate underdog. Fans love an underdog and Chrebet certainly qualifies. He stands at 5’10” and played at 188 pounds – hardly NFL typical measurements. He graduated from Hofstra University, which is not known for cranking out NFL talent. Despite long odds, Chrebet excelled on the field. He played for the Jets for all of his 11-year career. He caught at least 48 passes for his first eight seasons. It seemed like Chrebet was catching tough passes in traffic at critical points in games since the first time he put on the Jet helmet.
- Don Maynard
Don Maynard is not a name that young Jet fans will be familiar with, but he’s easily worthy of this list with older fans. Although Maynard played his final game for the Jets in 1972, you can still spot his number 13 jersey around the stadium on Sundays. Maynard is arguably the best Jet player of all time. He is a Hall of Famer for a franchise that has very few , and he was part of the Jets Super Bowl team in 1969. Maynard remains among the all-time leaders in yards per catch with an 18.7 mark. Maynard produced stats comparable with players in the modern era despite playing shorter seasons during a time when the passing game was not nearly as much of a focus.
- Kevin Mawae
Kevin Mawae is another name that may be fading for current Jet fans, but most fans remember Mawae very fondly. Like Maynard, Mawae would need to be mentioned on a list of all-time best Jet players. Mawae lands on this list largely for displaying toughness and tenacity at a position most fans don’t fully appreciate. The fans that do appreciate the game that takes place in the trenches recognize Mawae’s effectiveness and the fact that he was an emotional leader on offense. You could often spot the seven-time Pro Bowler celebrating big runs downfield after making effective blocks at multiple levels of the defense. Mawae was a centerpiece for the Jets during a period where the playoff-starved franchise made the post-season four times. Kevin Mawae is another player on the short list of Jet Hall of Famers.
- Joe Klecko
Joe Klecko might be the defensive equivalent of Kevin Mawae. Jet fans love Kelcko to this day for the high-motor effort and lunch-pail approach the four-time Pro Bowler applied to his craft. Klecko has a bit of underdog in his fan appeal as well, entering the league at 263 pounds and playing the interior defensive line at about 270 pounds. He played with a strength that far exceeded his stature. Klecko was the perfect complement to the flash of Mark Gastineau. Klecko’s understated style suited many fans who felt his teammates may have been over the top. Joe Klecko rates well in this analysis as he excelled at a position where the franchise has historically struggled. Klecko and the rest of the “Sack Exchange” pressured and sacked quarterbacks at a rate the team has not nearly approached since.
- Joe Namath
Joe Namath is far and away the most popular New York Jet. Namath is maybe the only Jet player in history to carve a space for himself in the psyche of non-Jet fans. The franchise’s struggle for success since Namath and the Jets won the Super Bowl over 50 years ago is a barrier for most Jet players in achieving national recognition. Namath’s success on the field, his transition to broadcasting, and his personal flair have allowed him to stay relevant in the mind of football fans for nearly 60 years. Namath was perhaps the first player to have a brand. His on on-field individuality, appearances in commercial spots, and very public personal life resulted in a level of notoriety that had not been approached before. Namath escaped the anonymity with which the NFL helmet veiled other players. He was larger than life during his time in the league, and he is still a relevant cultural icon today.