NY Jets: A look at the career of Randy Rasmussen
Offensive guard Randy Rasmussen had quite the career with the NY Jets that spanned 15 seasons.
Many Jet fans will likely recognize the name of Randy Rasmussen as he had one heck of a career at left guard with the Jets. His long service and consistent play earned him the title of “Mr. Jet” in many circles of Jet fans. Rasmussen was a “poster child” for the phrase “he plays like a Jet.”
For the younger fans that don’t know him, I thought it was time for me to introduce him in my continuing series of throwback articles I’ve been writing here for The Jet Press. Rasmussen was taken by the Jets in the 12th round of the 1967 NFL Draft and played through the decades before finally hanging up his cleats following the 1981 season. Rasmussen played steadily for the Jets throughout his career and it encompasses a large chunk of Jet history. He was the last member of the Jets’ Super Bowl team to retire from the game.
Taken in 1967, Rasmussen became an immediate starter for the Jets as a rookie in the old American Football League. Rasmusen played in all 14 games for the Jets in 1967, the start of an incredible career in which saw Rasmussen miss very few games over the course of his tenure with the team. He honed his craft along the way, playing and contributing in their 1968 victory in the AFL championship game. Rasmussen was the only rookie guard to start for the Jets over the next 32 years, until Randy Thomas did it in 1999.
Rasmussen was instrumental in their victory in Super Bowl III, opening holes for Matt Snell in the run game, and slowing the Colts’ pass rush. He protected Joe Namath well during his time with the Jets and went on to protect many succeeding quarterbacks as he continued his outstanding play at guard over the years for the team.
The Jets ran Snell to the left consistently during Super Bowl III, depending on Rasmussen to open lanes for him. While Namath had a good game in the victory, Snell and the run game is often cited as the key element to ensuring the big victory. That success can be directly credited to Rasmussen’s blocking ability.
Rasmussen was a consistent presence for the Jets on their offensive line. Wearing number 66 throughout his career, Rasmussen played during the “golden years” of SuperBowl III. He went on to anchor the left guard position for the Jets in the “Dark Ages” of the 1970’s and hung around to play for the “Resurgent Age” of the Jets, when the “New York Sack Exchange” was just beginning to cut his teeth. Throughout his career, Rasmussen played with the same intensity on every snap, regardless of the Jets’ overall record.
Rasmussen through his career proved himself to be an endurance type player. He appeared in 207 games for the Jets in his career, only kicker Pat Leahy appeared in more in Jet history. He missed very little time due to injury in his career, playing in 144 games consecutively as he stands fifth in that category in team history. His 144 starts for the Jets is only surpassed by Mo Lewis in the team record books.
Nov 9, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; A end zone pylon with the NFL Armed Services week logo during the NFL game between the New York Jets and the Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
As a rule, offensive linemen don’t gather the honors many other football players do. The case of Rasmussen is a perfect example, never winning a selection to the AFL or NFL’s Pro Bowls, his awards are nonexistent. To Rasmussens’ credit, he was often overshadowed by Hall of Fame guards Jim Otto, Gene Upshaw and John Hannah for award selections.
Offensive lineman almost always have quiet careers, being overlooked by other offensive players with more explosive stats, or defensive players who bring more of an obvious contribution to the table. Rasmussen has had that sort of career, his contributions fading with time in many Jet fans minds. I am of the opinion that Rasmussen’s number 66, should have been long ago been retired by the Jets.
Next: A look at the career of Victor Green and his foundation
Willie Colon currently wears that number, and it is my hope that the Jets will take action soon to put that number into retirement. Rasmussen in my opinion, has earned that honor and I would hope the Jets will finally right the wrong that has gone on for so long.
There’s my take on the great Randy “Mr. Jet” Rassmussen. We here at The Jet Press would like to hear your memories of the outstanding left guard. We ask that you would please leave us a comment below and help us talk Jet football!!