Honorable Mention: There were many players whose names are sometimes forgotten in the "Guarantee" leading up to Superbowl III. Cornerback Randy Beverly intercepted 2 redzone passes - one from Earl Morral and one from Johnny Unitas. Kicker Jim Turner made 3 critical Jets field goals. Receiver George Sauer caught 8 passes for 133 yards - more than half of Namath's passing yards in the game. And of course Matt Snell, who scored the team's only touchdown to go along with his 121 rushing yards. These heroes helped the Jets bring home the AFL's first Superbowl, as did the next person on the countdown...
The Number Six New York Jet of All-Time:
Perhaps the Jets' most complete defensive player not named Joe Klecko, Larry Grantham was a true Jet in every sense of the word.
In 1960, the New York Titans made Linebacker Larry Grantham one of their original draft picks. Owner Harry Wismer was not an easy man to get a paycheck from - he accrued massive debts on the team and couldn't always pay his players. Many jumped ship before Werblin took over in 1962 - Grantham didn't.
He only missed 7 games in a 13-year career and retired with 24 interceptions, the most of any Jets linebacker and 3rd most of any Jet - tying him with CB Aaron Glenn among others. Grantham could do just about everything - rush the passer, tackle from both Weak and Strong side, run stop, cover the receiver in space, and make plays.
In the entire existence of the AFL, Grantham was named All-AFL each year and made 5 AFL Pro Bowls. Grantham retired in 1972. He was named a member of the AFL All-Time team with 5 other Jets. His 5 1st Team All-Pro selections are the most among any Jet in history. In 2011 Grantham was elected to the Jets Ring of Honor along with Gerry Philbin, Freeman McNeil and Al Toon.
Nowadays many star players leave bad situations for more money or a better chance to win a title. The fact that Grantham remained with the Jets for its entire AFL existence and beyond speaks to his commitment to be a Jet - something that can't be said for many other fan favorites who leave for greener pastures.
Grantham won every possible accolade someone could win because he was one of the most dominant players at his position of his era. Though sacks and tackles were not recorded, his impact was greatly felt as he helped the Jets rise from the gutter of New York sports to the height of power in the AFL - and stayed there to appreciate every moment of it.
Next: Could Joe Namath have even made it to Superbowl III without this man?