New York Jets

New York Jets  

Jets Timeline


Titans of New York Team Formation

The history of the New York Jets American football team began in 1959 with the founding of the Titans of New York, an original member of the American Football League (AFL). The team had little success in its early years. Harry Wismer, representing the city of New York at the meeting, proclaimed the state was ready for another professional football team and that he was more than capable of running the daily operations. Wismer was granted the charter franchise later dubbed the Titans of New York as Wismer explained, "Titans are bigger and stronger than Giants." He secured the Titans' home field at the decrepit Polo Grounds, where the team struggled financially and on the field during its first three years. By 1962, the debt continued to mount for Wismer, forcing the AFL to assume the costs of the team until season's end.

Werblin Purchases the Titans

Wismer agreed to sell the team, but attempted to prevent the sale with a bankruptcy filing. He contended that the move into Shea Stadium would lead to sufficient revenue to make the team profitable. A bankruptcy referee granted the league the authority to sell the team to a five-man syndicate composed of David A. "Sonny" Werblin, Townsend B. Martin, Leon Hess, Donald C. Lillis, and Philip H. Iselin. The sale of the team was approved by a court on March 15 and completed on March 28, 1963. The sale price was $1 million.

ReNamed the Jets

Werblin also announced a new name for his team, the Jets, which had been selected from among 500 candidates submitted by "friends, enemies, and advertising agencies". The name was chosen over Dodgers, Borros, and Gothams. The team's colors were changed to green and white. In a press release, the team stated the reason for the selections:

The site of the new stadium between New York's two major airports, symbols of this speedy, modern age, influenced the selection of the new name "Jets". It reflects the spirit of these times and the eagerness of all concerned—players, coach, and owners—to give New York another worthy team. The new team's colors of green and white were chosen for much the same reasons, plus the fact that down through the ages green has always signified hope, freshness and high spirits.

Super Bowl Winner

Super Bowl III - 1968
Super Bowl III was the third AFL-NFL Championship Game in professional American football, the first to officially bear the name "Super Bowl." The game, played on January 12, 1969, at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, is regarded as one of the greatest upsets in American sports history. The heavy underdog American Football League (AFL) champion New York Jets defeated the National Football League (NFL) champion Baltimore Colts by a score of 16–7. This was the first Super Bowl victory for the AFL. Undaunted, Jets quarterback Joe Namath made an appearance three days before the Super Bowl at the Miami Touchdown Club and brashly guaranteed a victory. His team backed up his words by controlling most of the game, and built a 16–0 lead through the fourth quarter off of a touchdown run by Matt Snell and three field goals by Jim Turner. Colts quarterback Earl Morrall threw three interceptions before being replaced by Johnny Unitas, who then led Baltimore to its only touchdown during the last few minutes of the game. Namath, who completed 17 out of 28 passes for 206 yards, was named the Super Bowl's Most Valuable Player, despite not throwing a touchdown pass in the game or any passes at all in the fourth quarter.

Hess Full Ownership

Hess acquired full ownership of the Jets on February 9, 1984, when Helen Dillion sold her 25% interest to him.

Leon Hess became well known for his Hess Corporation gas stations; however, he also played an instrumental part in the development of the Jets during his tenure as co-owner and eventual sole owner. Hess had often fought for improvements while the team was a tenant at Shea Stadium but generally stayed away from football operations, allowing his coaches and general manager to make football-related decisions.

Becoming the team's majority stockholder in 1973, Hess bought Philip H. Iselin's share upon his death in 1976 after which only two of Hess' partners remained, Townsend Martin and Helen Dillon, who had inherited the stake from her father Donald Lillis, upon his death. Hess began to buy out the remaining partners in 1981 when he bought Martin's 25% stake for $5 million. Hess bought Dillon's stake three years later for another $5 million, acquiring sole control of the team.

New Owner Woody Johnson

With the team for sale, two potential buyers were found in Cablevision and philanthropist Woody Johnson whose grandfather, Robert Wood Johnson II, expanded Johnson & Johnson. Johnson was unknown among the other NFL owners at the time of his $635 million purchase of the franchise.[28] However, Johnson had a passion for sports according to former Knicks general manager Ernie Grunfeld and desired to own his own team.[28] Johnson has been considered to be an enabler who wants the best from his employees.

MetLife Stadium

MetLife Stadium is the home stadium for the New York Giants and New York Jets of the NFL, and is the only facility home to two NFL franchises. The stadium opened in 2010, following the closing and demolition of the Giants' and Jets' previous home, Giants Stadium. MetLife Stadium will host Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014.

Jets Primary Logo History Jets Alternate Logo History No Wordmark Logo History


Team Information Team History

New York

Jets - The site of the new stadium between New York's two major airports, symbols of this speedy, modern age, influenced the selection of the new name "Jets". It sounded like New York’s baseball Mets and LaGuardia Airport was nearby.

MetLife Stadium
2011 - present
  • New Meadowlands Stadium
  • 2010
Giants Stadium
1984 - 2010
Shea Stadium
1964 - 1983
Polo Grounds
1960 - 1963

Woody Johnson
2000 - present
Estate of Leon Hess
1999 - 2000
Leon Hess
1977 - 1999
Leon Hess, Sonny Werblin, Phil Iselin
1964 - 1977
Harry Wismer
1960 - 1964

Established: 1960

League History:
National Football League
1960 - present
American Football League
1960 - 1970

Team History:
New York Jets
1963 - present

Titans of New York
1960 - 1962

Super Bowl: 1

Retired Numbers:
12 Joe Namath
13 Don Maynard
28 Curtis Martin
73 Joe Klecko
90 Dennis Byrd
- Weeb Ewbank

No Mascot

The Official Site of the New York Jets

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