Former Jets punter and radio announcer Dave Jennings passed away yesterday at age 61 of complications from Parkinson's Disease.
Punters on bad football teams get a lot of work, and Jennings was up to the challenge. Known for kicks that lingered in the air, angled toward the sideline and regularly pinned opposing teams inside their 20-yard line, he was named to four Pro Bowls. The Associated Press named him its All-Pro punter in 1979, when he led the N.F.L. in punts (104) and punting yardage (4,445), and again in 1980, probably his best season, when he led all punters with a 44.8-yard average. He punted 931 times for the Giants, more than anyone before or since, averaging 41.7 yards per kick.
He finished his career on the field with the Jets, playing with them from 1985 to 1987. Over all, his punts traveled 47,567 yards, more than 27 miles, the 11th-highest total in N.F.L. history.
Jennings had his best days as a player with the Giants, but he made his name in broadcasting with the Jets. He provided color commentary for Jets games on the radio from 1988 to 2001. He was extremely insightful and not afraid to criticize the team if it was merited. There is talk this was part of the reason the Jets dismissed Jennings after the 2001 season. He moved to the Giants radio booth, where he called games until 2007.
Rest in peace, Dave.