Jets News

Celebrate the Birth of the New York Jets’ Franchise

By Alan Schechter

It’s July 4th, Independence Day, when we celebrate the birth of our nation. Well, today, we are only a couple of months past the birthday of our franchise! Well, not the franchise as a whole, I mean the time the franchise became the New York Jets. The New York Titans arrived on the scene in 1959 with the birth of the AFL. But today we talk about the belated 40th birthday of the name, the New York Jets. The date was April 15, 1963.

Let’s go back a little for brief background.

After the modest success the team achieved as the Titans, a five man group bought the franchise from Harry Wismer. The five man group was: David A. “Sonny” Werblin, Townsend B. Martin, Leon Hess, Donald C. Lillis and Philip H. Iselin. For anyone that doesn’t know, that is the same Leon Hess that owned the team until his death in the 1990’s, with Bill Parcells at the helm.

That date was March 28th, 1963. After purchasing the team, Sonny Werblin, and his background in producing TV shows, wanted a new, creative name for his team. Two thought processes entered Sonny’s mind. The country was entering the “Jet” age, as airplanes were filling the air, and air travel was becoming more and more common. Secondly, with Shea Stadium being placed between LaGuardia Airport, and what would become known as Kennedy Airport, it seemed appropriate to name his team the “Jets”.

40 years and a couple of months later, here we are. Happy birthday New York Jets, and many, many more.