Former Jets Quarterback, Mark Sanchez
(Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com)
The New York Jets are one of two ‘New York’ NFL teams with the other being the New York Giants. Playing in the Eastern Division of the AFC (American Football Conference) in the National Football League (NFL), they have headquarters in the Florham Park area of New Jersey and, uniquely in the NFL, share a stadium with their close rivals, the New York Giants, at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
The history of the New York Jets stretches back to 1959 when they were founded as the Titans of New York – an original member of the American Football League. The league then merged with the rival National Football League the following year.
It took until 1968 until they first made the playoffs, going on to play the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl II where they beat them 16-7 at the Miami Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. Since then, the New York Giants have reached the playoffs 13 times but have never returned again to the Super Bowl. With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints, they share the record of winning their one and only Super Bowl appearance.
- Full Name: New York Jets
- Conference: American Football Conference
- Division: Eastern
- Location: New York
- Stadium Name: MetLife Stadium
- Year Established: 1959
- Owner: Woody Johnson
- Head Coach: Todd Bowles
- Manager: Mike Maccagnan
- Nickname: Gang Green
- Mascot: None
- Team Colours: Green and white
NY Jets vs Cleveland Browns
(Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com)
The history of the Jets begins in 1959 when the team were originally founded as the Titans of New York by Harry Wismer, representing the City of New York. He successfully argued that the city was big enough to have two franchises (it already had the Giants) and called it the Titans of New York because “Titans are bigger and stronger than Giants”. Wismer soon secured the Polo Grounds as the team’s home ground although this was decrepit and was inferior to rival teams’ facilities.
Sadly, debts began to rise for Wismer by 1962 and the franchise and it was only saved from bankruptcy when it was rescued by Sonny Werblin, an entertainment executive and sports impresario who headed up a five man investment team. They paid $1m for the franchise and immediately renamed it the New York Jets and put in place a new management and coaching team headed up by Weeb Ewbank who had led the Baltimore Colts to consecutive NFL championships in 1958 and 1959. Led by Ewbank and with Joe Namath – the Jets’ quarterback – in the form of his life, the Jets eventually reached the heights of the NFL by defeating the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III despite being rank outsiders.
Unfortunately after this win and the merger of the AFL (which the Jets played in) and the NFL, the team lost a significant amount of form which lasted throughout the 1970s. Some form was regained in the 1980s with playoff appearances in 1981, 1982, 1985 and 1986. Unfortunately, the early 90s saw the Jets struggling once again and this prompted the then Jets owner, Leon Hess, who bought the franchise in the 70s, to replace coach Bruce Coslet with Pete Carroll. Carroll could do no better and was promptly fired after a season with his replacement Rich Kotite lasting just two seasons.
Hess’ third appointment was much better thankfully and former New England Patriots Coach, Bill Parcells, came to the Jets in 1997 and led them to the AFC Championship Game in 1998. However, Parcells did not stay around too long and neither did his successor Bill Belichick who resigned almost on the same day he was appointed.
The dawn of the 21st century saw three more coaching changes but the team did find a rich vein of form and managed to reach the playoffs six times in 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009 and 2010. Today the team remains a popular franchise and fans hope that they will see a rise in form soon and that they may add another Super Bowl appearance to their record.
Super Bowl Appearances
Super Bowl III New York Jets 16 – Baltimore Colts 7
Played on January 12, 1969 at the Miami Orange Bowl in Florida, Super Bowl III was the first ever AFL-NFL Championship game to bear the name ‘Super Bowl’. Before the game, the Baltimore Colts were overwhelming favourites with most sports writers and fans believing that the American Football League teams, such as the New York Jets, were inferior to those in the National Football League, such as the Baltimore Colts. The Colts had also just posted a 13-1 record so hardly anyone called it for the Jets. However, thanks to a fantastic team performance, led by quarterback, Joe Namath, who was subsequently named as the Super Bowl’s MVP (Most Valuable Player), the New York Jets beat the Baltimore Colts 16-7 in a convincing win that upset all the odds.
MetLife Stadium (Richard Cavalleri / Shutterstock.com)
The New York Jets play at the Metlife Stadium, which is situated at 1 MetLife Stadium Drive, East Rutherford, New Jersey. Opened originally in 2010 as the New Meadowlands Stadium, the naming rights were soon sold to the MetLife insurance company.
The stadium is a joint venture between the Jets and their NFL rivals, the New York Giants, and is owned jointly by them. It was built using private funds to cover the $1.6 billion construction cost. This cost makes it the most expensive stadium ever built and with a capacity of over 82,000, it is the second largest stadium in the NFL in terms of seating capacity with only the Los Angeles Rams’ temporary Memorial Coliseum Stadium being bigger seating over 93,000.
Uniquely being shared between two NFL teams, the stadium’s design reflects this and the outer skin of the stadium and interior lighting can be easily switched to show different colours depending upon whether it is a Jets or a Giants game. This idea originated from the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, which is shared by two of Germany’s biggest soccer clubs, 1860 Munich and Bayern Munich.
Surprisingly, unlike many new NFL stadiums, the MetLife Stadium does not have a roof. There were initial proposals to include a roof but, unfortunately, these fell through thanks to funding issues. This means that indoor events such as the Final Four cannot be held at the stadium.
As well as being the home stadium for the Jets and the Giants, the MetLife Stadium has also hosted a wide range of other events in its short history. These include concerts by Bon Jovi, the Eagles, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Eminem, One Direction, and Beyoncé, as well as Wrestlemania 29 and a number of international soccer matches.
Don Maynard (1960-1972)
Playing for the franchise’s first 13 years, wide receiver Don Maynard symbolised the heart and soul of the New York Jets early years. He posted five 1000 yard seasons with the Jets and retired in 1973 as the NFL’s all-time leader in receptions with 633 and in receiving yardage with 11,834. These records have long since been broken but he’ll always be remembered fondly by Jets fans.
Joe Namath (1965-1976)
His career had a few ups and downs but Namath is one of the Jets three Hall of Fame players and the one who guaranteed victory in their only Super Bowl win. His figures may not make him one of the best ever quarterbacks ever to play the game, but his iconic contribution to their only Super Bowl win makes him a fond fan favourite.
Mark Gastineau (1979-1988)
Defensive end Mark Gastineau struck fear into the hearts of opponents. Fast, flamboyant, and full of attitude, his antics may have offended some but whether people found his on-pitch celebrations unsportsmanlike or not, he was an awesome player for the Jets and one that will go down as one of the best players ever to play for them.
Did You Know?
- Celebrity fans of the New York Jets include Larry David, Chris Rock, and Kevin James.
- Bill Parcells is the only coach to have worked with both of New York’s football franchises – the New York Jets and the New York Giants.
- Despite being called the New York Jets, the Jets actually play all their home games in New Jersey, as do their rivals the New York Giants.
- When competing as the New York Titans, the team’s uniform was blue and gold.