This morning, we present to you our first candidate for the Jet Press Hall of Fame, presented by our own, Ioanny. For anyone who missed the post last night, click here to learn how the Hall of Fame will be put together.
If you are a Jets fan you invariably know of the teams lone Superbowl win in the 1968-69 season, and by extension every Jet fan knows the name Joe Namath, the legendary quarterback who guaranteed victory the night before the game. This was a pivotal moment in the history in the NFL helping solidify the legitimacy of the AFL (which would later become the AFC) as a league. However, as every football fan knows, it’s not all about the quarterback, sometimes it’s just as much about the receivers who turn a quarterbacks throws into yards and points. Don Maynard was one of Joe Namath’s most reliable receiving threats during those early Jet days.
Don Maynard started his career with the New York Giants in 1958 and played with them for one year, and followed it up with a stint with the CFL Hamilton Tiger-Cats before becoming the first player to sign with the AFL’s Titans of New York. The Titans of New York later would become the team we all know and love today, the New York Jets. Maynard played with the Titans during the entirety of their existence and stuck with the team when they became the Jets. Though he was initially considered an NFL reject, he would later earn Hall of Fame honors and finish his career with 633 receptions for 11,834 yards and 88 touchdowns.
When Joe Namath came into town his numbers immediately shot up and he had his 3rd 1000 yard receiving and hit a career high in touchdowns with 14. He was an integral part of Joe Namath’s development giving him a reliable receiving option from day one. The Jets continued improving the team after Joe Namath adding Emerson Boozer and George Sauer finally putting together a championship team. During Superbowl III Maynard did not have a single catch, but this was because the Colts consistently had him in double coverage, this would open up Sauer and Boozer elsewhere on the field giving the Jets the chance to win it all.
Don Maynard was the ultimate team player and the fact that he was happy to be stuck double covered during the Superbowl shows exactly this. He was definitely a statistical monster and averaged 18.7 yards a catch which is the highest of any player all time with more that 600 receptions, but the fact that he was able to put his stats aside for the of the team is a tribute to this point. He was one of the greatest Jets of all time and played a pivotal role in the Jets lone Superbowl title.