In this series, we’ll be highlighting a different player from the New York Jets’ storied past. Today, we take a look at quarterback Ken O’Brien.
While many will remember O’Brien for who he wasn’t, Jets fans should still be able to recognize the positives he brought to the franchise throughout his career.
The No. 24 overall pick in the 1983 NFL draft (known for boasting arguably the most legendary quarterback class in league history), O’Brien is remembered by many as the passer the Jets took instead of a Dan Marino. Taken just three picks later, Marino would eventually become a Hall of Famer for the division-rival Miami Dolphins, and one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history.
But while O’Brien forever lived under Marino’s shadow, his place in the Jets record books is still worthy of praise.
After starring at UC-Davis, O’Brien spent nine of his 10 NFL seasons with the Jets. Despite a career record of 50-55-1 as a starting quarterback, his 24,386 career passing yards and 124 career touchdown passes both rank second in franchise history, trailing Jets legend and NFL Hall of Famer Joe Namath.
For comparison, Namath’s all-time record as the Jets’ starting quarterback was 60-61-4, and his 170/215 touchdown-to-interception ratio falls short of O’Brien’s career mark of 124/95.
O’Brien was named to the Pro Bowl twice, earning the honor in 1985 and 1991. He appeared in 124 games for the Jets, the eighth-highest total in franchise history, and third-most among quarterbacks (Namath, Pat Ryan).
The Jets made three playoff appearances while O’Brien was their starting quarterback (1985, 1986, 1991).