The Jet Press Hall of Fame: The Candidates So Far……


For anyone that has missed it so far, it’s time to bring you up to speed.

We are electing our first class of the Jet Press Hall of Fame, and we are in the midst of introducing the candidates to all of you.

Each writer on the site is bringing you the candidate they feel is most deserving of enshrinement, and making the case in an article. When every writer has put in their entry, we will have a vote with all of you, and the top three vote getters will be enshrined.

Today, we wanted to bring you the candidates talked about so far, to keep everyone on the same page. Click directly on their name for the entire post. An excerpt will follow the name:

Don Maynard

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.

Freeman McNeil

One of the most under appreciated players in Jets history is Freeman McNeil. McNeil is a three-time Pro Bowler and also made 1st team All-Pro in 1982. He also led the Jets to team success with the team making the playoffs in 4 of his 1st 6 seasons and leading the team to the AFC Championship Game in the strike shortened 1982 season. Only Mother Nature and Don Shula‘s duplicity kept that team from the Superbowl.

Kevin Mawae

Kevin Mawae will be my candidate for The Jet Press Hall of Fame. He was a staple on several New York Jets offenses where Curtis Martin put up some huge numbers. In this wonderful game we hold dear to our heart, there are certain positions which get overlooked because they aren’t making flashy plays, or their impact doesn’t seem as significant because the numbers do not show up on a stat sheet. The linemen on both sides of the ball fit this description. Game in and game out the line on both sides of the ball set the tone of the game. In Mawae’s first year with the Jets, the offensive had the 4th ranked rushing offense in the NFL. These holes surely did not open themselves; the O- line had to plow over these defensive linemen to clear that space. In order for Vinny Testaverde or Chad Pennington to have the opportunity to stretch the field, they need time in the pocket, as well as the receivers needing time to get downfield. Again, this all starts upfront.

Chad Pennington

But when you talk about the most accurate quarterbacks in Jets history, the first name that comes to mind is Chad Pennington. Just look at where he stands in the Jets Record book for completion percentage and passer rating. He is either first or near the top in both categories.

August 4, 2012; Canton, OH, USA; New York Jets former running back Curtis Martin (left) is presented his bust by former coach Bill Parcells during the 2012 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremonies at Fawcett Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas Jones

Thomas Jones ran for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns for the Jets in 2009– his best season of his 12 year career. Let’s be honest, Jones carried the Jets to the AFC Championship Game in 2009. Yeah, the Jets had the #1 defense in football. Yeah, Mark Sanchez made the throws when he needed to. But Jones was the one to hammer the nail to get there. If I remember correctly, it was Jones’ two yard rush that sealed the deal in San Diego, to propel the Jets into the AFC title game. He couldn’t do it on his own in Indianapolis, but that was a tall task. Going into Peyton’s place, you have to stop him or keep up with him. Neither of that happened, and the Jets ended up releasing Jones after a career year.

Curtis Martin

Lately, when you think of New York Jets running backs, the first names that come to mind are Shonn Greene, Chris Ivory, and Bilal Powell. That wasn’t always the case. First thing that comes to my mind when thinking about the topic is hall of fame member, Curtis Martin. He helped the Jets running game be strong for eight seasons before finally retiring.

Wayne Chrebet

Unfortunately for myself, I vaguely remember watching Wayne Chrebet play simply because he was at the end of his career when I was old enough to start really getting into football. Every Sunday in my house, I would remember by Dad and Uncle talking about Wayne Chrebet. Not one word they said was negative, and every adjective they used to describe Wayne was positive. The most common word used to describe Chrebet was ” tough” . After watching some tape on him, I cannot help but agree. While Chrebet did not have the best numbers as a Jet, few players left more of an impact on the organization, which is why number #80 deserves to be in the JetPress Hall Of Fame.

Wesley Walker

Wesley Walker joined the Jets in 1977, drafted in the second round of the draft that season, with the 33rd pick overall. He made his mark immediately, posting 35 receptions for 740 yards, a 21.1 yards per reception average. He took off in a game against the Oakland Raiders in week six, catching four passes for 178 yards and an 87 yard touchdown.

Joe Namath

While playing for the AFL, Namath made the All-Star team in each of his first four seasons. In 1967, he was first quarterback to surpass 4,000 passing yards. In 1969, the year before the AFL-NFL merger (but third AFL-NFL Super Bowl – announced in 1969), Namath led the Jets into Super Bowl III, where he would face off against the Baltimore Colts.

We will have one or two more candidates before we bring it to you for a vote.