NY Jets: Remembering the life and career of Joe Walton

NY Jets, Joe Walton
NY Jets, Joe Walton / Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
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NY Jets, Joe Walton
NY Jets, Joe Walton / George Gojkovich/Getty Images

Joe Walton's later years with the NY Jets

In 1988, it looked like Walton, and the Jets were going to turn things around. The team went with a youth movement, going 8-7-1 by knocking the Giants out of the playoffs on the final day of the regular season.

But the following year, the team went 4-12, which led to Walton's departure and a new era for the franchise.

Under Walton, the Jets were a legitimate contender in the 1985 and 1986 seasons. Walton was a big part of that.

In many ways, there are some similarities between those two Jets teams and the Rex Ryan-led Jets teams in 2009 and 2010. For those brief times in history, the Jets were ever so close to reaching the mountain top, and it was a fun ride seeing them try to get there. 

Walton was a football lifer. It was in his bloodline.

The son of former Washington guard, Frank Walton, followed in his dad's footsteps and became a star player in his hometown before starring as an All-American and team captain at the University of Pittsburgh at tight end, and then eventually was drafted by Washington in the second round of the 1957 NFL Draft.

The Beaver Falls native who shared the same birthplace as Jets icon Joe Namath played eight seasons in the NFL, recording 178 receptions for 2,628 yards and 28 touchdowns in his time with Washington and the Giants. 

After his playing career was over, Walton transitioned into scouting for the Giants but quickly rose into the coaching ranks. First under the legendary George Allen as a running backs coach and then as offensive coordinator for Washington before making his way to the Jets.

With Washington, Walton's disciple, quarterback Joe Theismann, credited his former coach with helping him develop into a Pro Bowl player.