Top Five New York Jets Running Backs of All-Time


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Time to continue choosing our all-time Jets roster. Each post we will highlight five nominees at each position. I will give their Jets career highlights, and then it is up to you. The Jets fans will choose our all-time Jets roster, majority rules.

Last time, we had you choose a quarterback. Today we are going to choose the running backs. The five here are from different eras of New York Jets history. These guys racked up the yardage, found the end zone, and knew just how to “Play Like a Jet”. The good version of that saying, not the joke.

So here are the top five Jets running backs of all-time. Take a look, and choose your favorite at the end. The top two vote getters will join the all-time Jets roster.

Let’s get started.

Next: Freeman McNeil

We start with the running back of the 1980’s, Freeman McNeil. McNeil was the third overall choice in the 1981 draft by the Jets. When he left New York, McNeil was the Jets all-time leading rusher with 8,074 yards. In a career that spanned the years 1981-1992 with the Jets, McNeil never averaged less than four yards per carry, even when he crossed the 30-year-old mark, the typical decline time for running backs.

McNeil became known for aiding in the creation of the free agency system we know of today. McNeil was one of the plaintiffs in a case that ended the NFL’s “Plan B” free agency system, where certain players could be protected by teams, and others were free agents. Thanks to McNeil, real free agency came into being.

But he was a wonderful player for the Jets for many years, #24, Freeman McNeil.

Next: Emerson Boozer

We go back to days of glory to remember Emerson Boozer. Boozer chose the Jets, even though he was drafted by the Steelers of the NFL in the same year (1966). Jets fans are happy that he chose the AFL. Boozer scored 52 touchdowns while donning the Green and White. Boozer was never a great performer, but he was a consistent one through the years for the Jets. He is third on the Jets all-time rushing list with 5,135 yards.

For our younger fans, here are his stats:

Rushing & Receiving

There is nominee number 2, #32, Emerson Boozer!

Next: Curtis Martin

I think everybody knows who this guy is. Curtis Martin is the leading rusher in New York Jets history. Martin posted 1,000 yards in each of his first ten seasons, although the first two were up in New England. Bill Parcells brought Martin to the Jets in 1998, and the rest was history. He posted 1,287 yards and eight touchdowns in 1998, serving as a big part of the Jets run to the AFC title game.

Unfortunately, a 2005 injury cut Martin’s career short, or he may have challenged Emmitt Smith for the all-time rushing lead. But that does not diminish Martin’s role in New York Jets history. He never won a Super Bowl, but he won over Jets fans hearts both young and old, and certainly deserves a spot on this list.

Number 28, Curtis…..MARTIN!

Next: Thomas Jones

Another Jets fan favorite is Thomas Jones. Jones only spent three years with the Jets, but they were three quality years. Never did Jones post less than 1,100 yards while with the Jets. In his final two years with the team, one with Eric Mangini and one with Rex Ryan, Jones posted 27 touchdowns. His three years with the Jets were good for seven on the team’s all-time rushing list.

One of Jones’ most memorable plays was against the Chargers in the divisional playoff game, when he ran for the clinching first down to send the Jets into the title game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Here is some video from Jones in 2008:

Our fourth candidate, #20, Thomas Jones!

Next: Matt Snell

Jan 29, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; General view of Super Bowl III championship ring to commemorate the New York Jets 16-7 victory over the Baltimore Colts on Jan 12, 1969 on display at the NFL Experience at the Phoenix Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sport

We finish up with a guy that owns one of those rings pictured above, Matt Snell. Snell was drafted in the first round by the Jets of the AFL draft, and the Giants in the fourth round of the NFL draft, both in 1964. Jets fans were happy that Snell opted for the NFL.

Snell was the star of Super Bowl III, rushing for 121 yards on 30 carries, and the game’s only touchdown for the Jets. Snell posted 4,285 yards as a member of the Jets, spending his entire career here in New York. Snell was a force in the passing game as well, catching 193 passes.

So there is our final candidate, #41, Matt Snell!

OK, you have the five guys, please vote below. The top two vote getters make the roster. Enjoy:

Who is the best New York Jets running back of all time?

Curtis Martin

(84%, 100 Votes)

Freeman McNeil

(9%, 11 Votes)

Matt Snell

(5%, 6 Votes)

Emerson Boozer

(2%, 2 Votes)

Thomas Jones

(0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 119

Next: Draft Profile: Phillip Dorsett

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