Honorable Mention: In spite of the bad history at QB for the Jets, there have been multiple effective passing combinations. In 1986 Al Toon caught 85 passes for over 1100 yards from Ken O'Brien. Keyshawn Johnson caught 83 passes from Vinny Testaverde in 1998 on their way to the AFC Championship game. In 2002 Laveraneus Coles caught 89 passes for 1264 yards, the 4th most in team history, from Chad Pennington. Coles may have been #4, but the next person on the list had three through one...
The Number Four New York Jet of All-Time:
Say what you want about how rule changes have changed the rules to benefit receivers, no Jet has ever seen the ball more times than Don Maynard. This Hall of Famer is head and shoulders above every offensive weapon in Jets history in terms of games played and production.
This original Jet and Hall of Famer appeared in 4 Pro Bowls, had 1 All-Pro selection, was named to the AFL All-Time team, Jets All-Time team, Jets inaugural Ring of Honor, and had his #13 jersey retired.
Don Maynard is the Jets all-time leading receiver in every major statistical categories: Games played, receptions, yards, and touchdowns. He has the 2nd highest number of yards from scrimmage in team history. His 88 touchdowns and 172 games played are the most for any Jets offensive weapon. Maynard hold 4 of the top 5 receiving yard seasons, including the top three. He is tied for the most receiving touchdowns in a single season, and has 3 of the top 5 receiving TD seasons. He is the only player in team history to average over 20 yards per reception in a season where he caught more than 50 passes - a feat he accomplished twice. He has the 5 highest yards/game seasons of any Jets receiver in history.
Need I say more? No? I will anyway.
After spending a mediocre rookie year with the Baltimore Colts in 1958, Maynard spent a year in the CFL before joining the inaugural New York Titans team in 1960. This "NFL reject" as the New York papers called him, caught 72 passes for over 1200 yards in his first year. In 1965 he was teamed with an injury prone rookie out of Alabama and caught a career high 14 TDs out of 22 thrown that year. In 1967, arguably the greatest year for a receiver in team history, Maynard caught 71 passes for 1434 yards (20.2 yards per catch) and 10 TDs. In 1968 he caught 10 TDs out of 15 thrown to the entire team and had an other-worldly 22.8 yards per reception.
Maynard was as reliable in the clutch as he was in the regular season. During the 1968 AFL Championship game, Maynard caught 6 passes for 118 yards and 2 TDs, including a TD catch in the final minutes of the game to complete a Jets comeback and send them to Superbowl III.
Unlike the man throwing him the football during those golden years, Don Maynard was not a talker. He rarely appeared on television or in the New York media in general. He came to the Jets as an unheralded, unwanted castoff from the NFL and CFL and gave the Jets some of the greatest years of production in history. When it came to getting a new contract he let his hands, feet and hybrid route running do the negotiating for him.
We could debate for hours if Namath made Maynard a Hall of Famer or vice versa. Nonetheless, Don Maynard is universally accepted and recognized as one of the greatest to ever wear the Jets uniform. And he deserves every accolade he gets, including being the Number Four New York Jet of All-Time.
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