New York Jets’ Mt. Rushmore
Once known as the New York Titans, the franchise changed its name to the Jets in 1963. Within five seasons the Jets went from a fledgling AFL team to a Super Bowl-winning NFL powerhouse. These are the best of the best players in franchise history, the New York Jets’ Mt. Rushmore.
Nearly 40 years removed from his last game in New York, Broadway Joe still remains the Jets’ most recognizable star. Namath embraced the bright lights of New York City and became one of the NFL’s most popular players during his era. During his time with the Jets, Namath made appearances in commercials, The Brady Bunch and even starred in his own late-night talk show. During the early stages of his career, Namath was one of the premier gunslingers in the league. He led the AFL in passing yards in his second and third seasons and followed that up by winning the Jets’ only Super Bowl in his fourth. In 1967, Namath became the first player in history to throw for 4,000 yards, the only quarterback to do so in a 14 game schedule.
Along with Joe Namath, Don Maynard helped establish the Jets as a legitimate NFL franchise. During the team’s 1968 Super Bowl run Maynard was the offense’s top playmaker, as he racked up 1,297 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. At his peak, Maynard was one of the best wide receivers in the league. Before the AFL/NFL merger, Maynard led the AFL in receiving yards (1,434) and touchdowns (14). Maynard’s career highlight came in the 1968 AFC Championship game, where he torched the Raiders with 118 yards and two touchdowns. Even as the NFL has transformed into a more athletic, pass-driven league, Maynard has managed to hold on to nearly all of the Jets’ all-time receiving records.
Curtis "My favorite" Martin was a big time producer and fan-favorite during his eight-year career with the Jets. Martin was well known for his incredible consistency, durability and professionalism. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in 10 of his 11 seasons, and served as the Jets foundation on offense for almost a decade. At the age of 31, Martin became the oldest player in NFL history to lead the league in rushing yards, with 1,697. Martin’s 14,101 career rushing yards ranks fourth in NFL history, ahead of greats like Eric Dickerson, JIm Brown and Marshall Faulk. In 2012, Martin became the fifth Jets player to be inducted to the Hall of Fame, the first since Joe Namath in 1985.
Winston Hill was the highly regarded, but little celebrated leader of the Jets’ offensive line from 1963-76. He was a four-time AFL Pro Bowler, four-time NFL Pro Bowler and a member of the AFL All-Time Second team. Hill was a humble player and never took much credit for the team’s success, but many of his teammates and coaches credited him with being a key contributor to Jet’s Super Bowl run. Despite his impressive on-field accomplishments, HIll has never been nominated for the Hall of Fame, a crime in the eyes of many Jets fans.
Mark Gastineau, Wayne Chrebet, Wesley Walker, Weeb Ewbank, Mo Lewis, Joe Klecko