New York Jets Throwback Thursday: Don Maynard


I received a message from my editor yesterday morning, asking if I’d like to do another throwback piece for the JetPress. Of course I jumped at the chance, especially since the player to be featured would be my choice!

Again I return to my Jets football roots, by featuring another member of the Super Bowl III winning team.

Don Maynard, if you don’t know him, was another key member of the New York Jets’ only  championship team.

His name came quickly to mind as he was talked about widely this year, as Eric Decker came extremely close to breaking Maynard’s record for the most receiving yards in a  single game for the Jets.

That’s right folks, believe it or not Don Maynard set the record for the Jets franchise in 1967, with 228 yards, and it still stands today!

I have to be honest here, but I sat watching Eric Decker’s performance this year, and hoped he wouldn’t break it. As luck (or fate) would have it, Decker came down lame with a hamstring that day and fell just short of the longstanding record.

That is only the beginning of the accolades that Maynard collected during his Jet career. Travel back in time with me today, as I take a look at one of the greatest wide receivers the Jets have ever had. Join me as we discuss the great Don Maynard.

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Next: College Career

Don Maynard played his first year of college football for Rice University. After his freshman campaign he transferred to Texas Western College; now known as the University of Texas at El Paso. His college career was not an impressive one. In his three years in college, he managed just 28 receptions. He did manage to average 27.6 yard average per reception though and post ten TD’s.

His collegiate career wasn’t limited to just playing wide receiver however. In an amazing display of versatility, Maynard also played RB, posting 843 yards on 154 attempts for a 5.4 yard average per carry. Maynard also contributed to the Miners football team on special teams, returning punts and kickoffs.  In three years at Texas, Maynard produced 2,283 all-purpose yards.

Those contributions themselves would likely  have been enough to catch the attention of NFL scouts. Maynard wasn’t done showing off his versatility and prowess as a football player though. While contributing on offense, he also played the other side of the ball at Texas as well. In three years, the amazingly talented Maynard posted ten interceptions in three years of football!!

Maynard did it all at the collegiate level, and it was just the beginning of his football career.

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Next: The Jet Career

Maynard’s early career didn’t take right off either. He was drafted in the 1957 NFL draft by the New York Giants. A fact I always like to bring up when discussing football with my Giant fan “friends”.  After just two seasons with the Giants, he was cut during the their 1959 training camp.

Maynard then moved on to play a single season for the Hamilton Tiger Cats of the Canadian Football League.

In 1960, Maynard signed with the then New York Titans of the American Football League. For those not in the know, the Titans became the New York Jets in 1963. Maynard was rejected by the New York Sportswriters upon signing, being called an “NFL Reject.” This writer can’t help but wonder which paper might have led the way.

Maynard’s career with the Jets was a brilliant one. He played for the Jets from 1960 through 1972. He was teamed with Hall of Fame wide receiver Art Powell to form the first WR tandem to exceed 1,000 receiving yards each in a season. They pulled off the feat in just Maynard’s second season with the Titans, in 1962.

Don Maynard still holds several Jet team records. Through his career he managed three of the most prolific seasons for a Jet receiver, amassing 1,434 yards in 1967, 1,297 yards in 1968, and 1,265 yards in 1960.  He currently holds the franchise record for most career receptions with 627.

Among Maynard’s other Jet records, he holds marks for ; Most consecutive games with 100 yards or more receiving yards (4 in 1968), most career games with 100 yards or more receiving yards (50 from 1960 – 1972), most 100 yard receiving games in a season (9 in 1967) (7 in 1968).

Not convinced yet?  Maynard also stands second in two Jet categories. Career average per reception (18.7), highest average per reception for a season (22.8 in 1968). Maynard also is the Jet career leader in TD’s with 88 and shares the record for the most TD’s in a season with Art Powell (14 in 1965). Powell did it in 1960.

Maynard’s career ended with the Jets in 1972. He played one more season, ending his illustrious NFL career in 1973 with the St. Louis Cardinals. He retired after the 1974 season when he played for the Huston Texans/Shreveport Steamers of the World Football League.

I had the pleasure of watching Maynard play throughout his career. Maynard was an explosive player to watch once he got his hands on the ball.  Aided by the QB play of Hall of Famer Joe Namath, Maynard made the most out of every opportunity. He played hard on every snap and was a consummate professional at every turn.

Next: After Football

Maynard retired from the bright lights of the National Football after the 1973 season. His career started as an “NFL Reject” and culminated in his election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.

In retiremen,t Maynard stayed busy.  Besides his many charity causes, Maynard has worked as a Math and Industrial Arts teachers, as well as promoting several products along the way.

Maynard maintains two homes, residing in both El Paso, Texas, and Ruidoso  New Mexico. He married his wife Marilyn during his junior year of college in 1955, they remained married until her death several years ago. Maynard has since remarried and dabbles in financial planning at the age of 80.

Don Maynard is the greatest receiver ever to don the Green and White Jersey of the New York Jets in my opinion. It was an honor and a pleasure for me to attend home games at first the Polo Grounds and then Shea stadium to watch Maynard play. I can still remember the volume of the crowd elevate every time he touched the ball!

So there you have it. My take on one of the greatest receivers I’ve ever had the pleasure to watch. What’s your take? We at the JetPress want to know! Let’s talk Jets football!!

Next: Chris Johnson Must Look in the Mirror