New York Jets Player of the Day: DB Bill Baird
By Luke Easterling
In this series, we’ll be highlighting a different player from the storied past of the New York Jets. Today, we take a look at defensive back Bill Baird.
The New York Jets have had some stellar defensive backs over the years, but none of them intercepted the football at anywhere near the rate of legendary ball-hawk Bill Baird.
A true member of the Gang Green, Baird spent his entire NFL career with the Jets, though it was just seven seasons. But that’s all the time he needed to become the team’s all-time leader in interceptions, a mark that still stands to this day.
From 1963 through 1969, Baird picked off 34 passes, five more than the No.2 player on the team’s all-time list (Dainard Paulson). Making this number even more impressive is the fact that Baird did it in just 98 career games. For comparison, Darrelle Revis is No. 3 in team history with 25 interceptions, and it took him 108 games to reach that number.
Baird was a key member of the Jets defense that shut down the star-studded Baltimore Colts offense in the famous upset win in Super Bowl III, guaranteed by quarterback Joe Namath. Baird and his fellow defensive backs held Colts star tight end John Mackey to just 36 yards on three receptions.
It’s been 50 years since Baird last patrolled the secondary for the Jets, but the impact he had is still strongly felt throughout the team’s storied record books.