New York Jets

The New York Jets had a rough start: In 1960, the New York business man Harry Wismer was involved in the founding of the American Football League and received a franchise for New York named Titans. Although the Titans had some success on the field, they were bankrupt after three years. The only thing that could help was a new start under a new name.

A group led by businessman David “Sonny” Werblin bought the team from Wismer and found such s chaos in the administrative area that they decided that only a new name could polish up the tarnished image: The group chose the name New York Jets which should reflect the new, modern and emerging image of the New York football team. At the same time the construction of a new stadium was started and with Weeb Ewbank, a new renowned head coach was contracted.

Ewbank, who had come to NFL championship honors with the Baltimore Colts, proceeded to build a new team. His biggest coup was in 1965 when he could sign quarterback Joe Namath. The fact that the playmaker of the University of Alabama didn’t choose to play for the established NFL, but for its smaller challenger – the AFL – led to a huge media attention and brought the AFL a big step forward on its way to being recognized as a full-fledged professional football league.

And the New York Jets were also responsible for the next big step on that way: In 1968, they played in Super Bowl III, against the highly favored Baltimore Colts NFL champion. All experts expected a clear defeat of the team from the “Big Apple”, only their quarterback Namath guaranteed a victory of his team. And he kept his word: The Jets won with 17:7. The victory of the team from New York is still regarded as the greatest Super Bowl surprise at all. Also, this game contributed to the big success of American football in the United States and coined the image of this sport for a whole generation.

The New York Jets could never win a second Super Bowl – also because of Namaths’ constant injury worries, however, during hard times, they could always live on their surprise coup in Super Bowl III. This had also a positive effect on the number of fans: Since 1964 all season tickets for the Jets are sold out year after year with an average of approximately 55,000 spectators watching the games of the Jets. In 1984, the team left the Shea Stadium and moved to the Giants Stadium in the Meadowlands on the outskirts of New York and shared it with the other team from New York, which they still do to this day with the new stadium that was built later on.

The Jets had to wait for the 1980s to become serious playoff contenders under the coaches Walt Michaels and Joe Walton again. Reaching the playoffs regularly, in 1982, they were close to reaching the Super Bowl. From 1997, Bill Parcells who had led the city rivals New York Giants to two Super Bowls took over the team. But Parcells didn’t have the same success with the Jets: In 1998 the Jets lost the AFC Championship game to the Denver Broncos. In the 2000s they almost reached the Super Bowl two times und head coach Rex Ryan, but the New York Jets were not able to duplicate their great success of 1968.

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