Why isn’t Emerson Boozer in the Ring of Honor for the New York Jets? I’m stepping away from training camp profiles this time around to try to right a wrong that has gone on too long in my opinion. The fact that Boozer has been left out of the Jets’ Ring of Honor for this long is a tragedy! Now, I may be a bit biased as I am a huge fan of Boozer, but putting that aside, he still belongs. I’d like to make a case for his induction.
Boozer for those that may not know, was a running back for the Jets from 1966 to 1975. Boozer was chosen by legendary head coach Weeb Ewbank in the 1966 AFL Draft. At the time there was also an NFL version of the draft, in which Boozer was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Luckily for the Jets, Boozer signed into the AFL and began his illustrious career with the Jets.
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He wore No. 32 for his entire career as he played alongside Matt Snell in his rookie career. Boozer often filled in for the featured back when he went down with injury. Boozer was an electrifying player early in his career as he was a hard working player who earned starting time in his second season.
Boozer made a name for himself in Jet circles in 1967. With Snell injured, Ewbank turned to his second year back to carry the load. Boozer responded with resounding success, posting 10 touchdowns by mid season. His running style that year brought comparisons to the great Gale Sayers. Unfortunately for Boozer, he blew his knee out in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs that nearly ended his career.
Boozer’s work ethic brought him back to the Jets in 1968, but he was not the same electrifying runner as he was the year before. Boozer worked hard to become an excellent blocker and short-yard specialist for the Jets. Ewbank was quoted as saying that he never saw a player work as hard as Boozer to change his game.
Boozer developed into an outstanding blocker. Ewbank began using him in pass protection, a role very new to running backs in that era. He not only learned those skills, but he excelled at them. Blocking in the run game for Matt Snell and picking up blitzing linebackers became Boozer’s primary assignments. He more than once saved Joe Namath from taking devastating hits.
If you never got the opportunity to see Boozer play, you missed a brutal blocker. His blocking both in the run game and in pass protection were a sight to behold. He quickly gained a reputation in the AFL and a bit later in the NFL as a violent blocker. It was a common sight to see Boozer in the backfield, demolishing blitzers with ease and precision. His run blocking in Super Bowl III opened holes for Snell to have a good game, which proved essential in the Jets 16-7 victory over the Colts.
Boozer became a primary target of Namath on third downs in 1970 and again in 1971. In 1972, he showed he could score from the goal line as well, Boozer had 11 touchdowns in 11 games before an injury ended the streak. To put it simply, Boozer never became the exciting running back that some had hoped for, but there was nothing else that he didn’t do exceptionally well.
Oct 13, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets former players Joe Namath (left) and Marty Lyons (right) talk before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
The 5’11/196 pound Boozer ended his Jet career in 1975. During that time, he appeared in 118 games for the Green and White. He posted a total of 5,135 yards rushing for his Jet career. In the process, he added 1,488 yards receiving yards to his stats as well. Boozer provided his Jet teams with 64 touchdowns in his career, 52 by rushing and 12 with his receiving game. In 1966 and 1967, Boozer also returned kickoffs for the Jets, gaining 872 yards on 37 returns. He electrified Jet fans in 1966 with a 97-yard return for his sole kickoff return for a touchdown.
I think his stats alone should be enough to get him into the Jets’ Ring of Honor. If more is needed, I’d point to a long and illustrious career solely with the Jets. That’s right, Boozer played his entire career with the team. If that is not enough for the doubters, I’d ask them to find film of his blocking, I apologize I couldn’t find any to include here.
Boozer was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2010. He “Played Like A Jet” long before the phrase was coined. It’s time for the Jets to honor him for his contributions to the franchise. Special players in Jet history have had their own cheers among fans at the stadium.
Shea Stadium often sounded like it was booing, when in reality it was a chant of BOOOZER! Just as often fans screamed “Give It To Boozer” as the Jets neared the goal line. Boozer was a fan favorite and he was one of those “special players” in Jet history.
There you have it. This long time fan of Boozer wants to see him in the Jets’ Ring Of Honor. Let us hear your thoughts as we’d appreciate comments below, and as always, Let’s Talk Jet Football!!