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Remembering DT John Elliott, SB III Starter

Posted by Randy Lange on November 16, 2010 – 10:05 am

John Elliott, 66, the All-Pro right defensive tacikle who spent his entire pro career with the Jets, most of it as a starter, including for the Super Bowl III team, died Thursday night in Houston.

Elliott was drafted by the Jets out of Texas in the seventh round (171st overall) of the 1967 draft. It didn’t take him long to make his impact felt. He became the starter on the D-line that also featured LE Gerry Philbin and RE Verlon Biggs in ’68 and helped the Jets’ underrated but potent defense contribute to the effort that led to the 16-7 triumph over the Baltimore Colts at the Orange Bowl on Jan. 12, 1969.

Elliott was named to the All-AFL second team by both AP and UPI that season, then moved up to All-AFL first team status in 1969 and all-AFC first-team recognition in 1970. He played in the AFL All-Star Games in 1968-69 and in the Pro Bowl after the 1970 season.

He was named the Jets’ team MVP at the end of the 1970 season as well.

His career lasted seven seasons, through 1973, during which he played in 85 regular-season games. He wore uniform No. 80 his entire career and so was the one to wear that number the longest as a Jet until Wayne Chrebet came along in 1995. He had four fumble recoveries, all in his first four seasons, and scored a safety against the Colts at Shea Stadium in 1970.


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Posted in Randy Lange | 39 Comments »


39 Responses to “Remembering DT John Elliott, SB III Starter”

  1. By KevinJetFan on Nov 16, 2010 | Reply

    WOW…and a very sad wow at that. One of the quickest Defensive tackles in football at that time. Many thought he was undersized, but made up for it with his determination and quickness. Met him few years back with other team members signing autographs…real nice guy. Career cut short with injuries..but a big heart.
    Miss you John…Condolences to Elliott family and to all Jet Family.

  2. By JerryB on Nov 16, 2010 | Reply

    Probably the quickest DT that ever played for the Jets – unblockable one on one.

  3. By Hank on Nov 16, 2010 | Reply

    We purchased our season tickets in 1964 when only 18,000 had been sold and saw all the great ones. I remember John Elliot from when he was on special teams. As a defensive tackle this guy was all over the field. If the play went through the other side of the line he was probably the guy who made the tackle downfield. Big strong and fast!

    It was only when Klecko came along that they finally were able to replace his skills. Thank you John for the thrills and excitement and may you rest in peace.

  4. By GaryC on Nov 16, 2010 | Reply

    reminds me of the days the jets drafted a lot of guys from Texas like elliot,sauer and chris gilbert who never played a game with jets and the guys from Alabama like Namath, Paul Crane. and Lyons later.

  5. By scjoe on Nov 16, 2010 | Reply

    I remember Elliott along with Keating of Oakland being the two quickest, and best DTs in the league back then. I remember a very strong defense with Elliott, Philben, Biggs, Atkinson, Baker, Grantham, etc. RIP John Elliott.

  6. By Kleckofan on Nov 16, 2010 | Reply

    Like Hank above my family had season tix at Shea in the period that John Elliott and Gerry Philbin ruled. Remember pretending to be both of them in neighborhood games. Character was king then, great memories.

  7. By Hank on Nov 16, 2010 | Reply

    Seems to me all you guys are ex hs linemen and all appreciate the fact that the real action is watchng the line thru the binoculars.

  8. By matt on Nov 16, 2010 | Reply

    John Elliott was the best DL not named Klecko in team history. He had amazing quickness and the strength to take on the biggest OGs. I don’t remember a single game when Elliott was outplayed or overpowered. Played draws and screens like he was in the enemy huddle.

    God, I loved John Elliott! Heartfelt condolences to his family.

  9. By 37 year fan on Nov 16, 2010 | Reply

    Wow , we should have a moment of silence to honor a great man on Sunday , with some great pictures , and great music . That was my first Jets team as a kid …..Much love … Rest in peace .

  10. By fred on Nov 17, 2010 | Reply

    As an 11 year old kid in 68 I would terrorize my sister around the house as Verlon Biggs , but I also was aware of John Elliot & his tough style of playing my wishes to his family

  11. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Nov 17, 2010 | Reply

    Yeah, what happened to drafting Texas guys, GaryC? We don’t seem to do it much anymore. I remember Elliott as one of the new breed of faster but still very strong AFL D linemen and LBs that started with guys like Philbin, Biggs, Buchanan, Lanier, Bobby Bell, George Webster, and even this guy named Schottenheimer on our arch-rival the Bills. Sadly the NFL treated Webster horribly, denying his crippling injuries were football-related and thus denying his disability payments. Have to wonder if the much cooler, more human, less rigid AFL would ever have done anything like that. Goodell doesn’t have the heart, vision, or guts to have made it as a ballboy in the old AFL. Very sad, too, that Elliott won’t get to see the rest of the season!

  12. By IRA on Nov 17, 2010 | Reply

    My condolences to his family. He sure was a good one and will be missed.

  13. By Judy Inman Holick on Nov 17, 2010 | Reply

    I grew up with John Elliott. He was a great person. We followed him at the University of Texas, then to the Jets. He left smiles all along the way. We will miss him. To those who knew him he will always be known as “BIG JOHN”

  14. By ken on Nov 17, 2010 | Reply

    I went to school with John and was his friend. We went to lunch one day and he told me that he had been drafted by the Jets. I asked him if he was going to play, and he said yes. He was a very nice and gentle guy and I told him he was crazy because the NFL players were monsters. He said “I am different when I play football”. He sure was.

  15. By GaryC on Nov 17, 2010 | Reply

    jet fan tom, it probably had something to do with Lam Jones,you know, fool me once.

  16. By JimmyO on Nov 17, 2010 | Reply

    My condolences to his family, I know he will be missed. He was one of my favorite Jet plaqyers at the time. May God rest him.

  17. By elmoron on Nov 17, 2010 | Reply

    An amazing football player and man, with enormous determination, class and heart. Loved going to Shea to see him play. Simply the best. Thanks John.
    Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him.

  18. By CaneJet on Nov 17, 2010 | Reply

    Great D-line with Elliott. Philbin and Biggs. Sorry to hear another one is gone.

  19. By CaneJet on Nov 17, 2010 | Reply

    Thanks to those who knew John for sharing your memories.

  20. By Too Kool on Nov 17, 2010 | Reply

    Randy- 66 is far too young. Was cause of death released? Hopefully nothing football related.

  21. By Randy Lange on Nov 17, 2010 | Reply

    Too Kool, it was reported that John died of cancer and that memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society.

  22. By Mike Jet Vet on Nov 17, 2010 | Reply

    Good Man good football player condolences to his family RiP Big Man you’ll truly be missed ..

  23. By Performing on Nov 17, 2010 | Reply

    John Elliot played beyond his ability. A 7th round pick from Texas, he was by far the class of that draft that had OT Paul Seller of Notre Dame as the first pick. He was as quick as a cat and had incredible desire. When teams tried to block him one on one, he would get through the line untouched. I remember a game against the Boston Patriots when the QB kept changing the snap count because Elliot was getting through the line so quick. He still kept getting through. Not to take anything away from the rest of that great line, but when teams began to double team Elliot, it helped the other players excel. He and Gerry Philbin (U.of Buffalo) were the anchors of that great line. John Elliot was great!

  24. By mel feder on Nov 17, 2010 | Reply

    The SB3 team members are dwindling down,. Lets hope the Jets win another before they are all gone.

    Elliot was a great lineman.

    Jets fan since 1960.

  25. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Nov 18, 2010 | Reply

    Yeah, GaryC, I guess you’re right about Lam Jones but hey, that was a generation of Jets fans ago. We should take a closer look at some of these Texas guys, they seem to do well enough for the rest of the NFL.

  26. By craig snyder on Nov 18, 2010 | Reply

    He was uncle John to me and allways will. A rare picture of him stays on my desk and allways will. You will be missed. The Snyder,s

  27. By JE on Nov 18, 2010 | Reply

    Thank you all for the kind words and condolences. I can tell you that as good a football player he was, he was a better father and grandfather. The players from that super bowl team are great men. I have had the pleasure to meet almost all of them. They still keep in touch on a regular basis and many are still great friends to this day. Thank you again for the kind words.

  28. By Darin on Nov 18, 2010 | Reply

    Big John was really a great man. I was so great to know him through my dad, he consider him as his best friend. I had the honor on going to New Braunfels, Tx. for many years and trying beat him in horse shoes, but like always he would beat me. When I was about eleven years old we went to the Houston Oilers vs New York Jets game which the Jets won and after the game John took us to the locker room to meet everybody on the team and have several of the Jets players autograph a New York Jets penitent I also got Big John’s autograph on there also. I also loved hearing stories from him when he played against Mean Joe Green. I am so glad to know all his kids and growing up with them. The only thing I am going to miss the most is not meeting Big John and his family in New Braunfels,Tx. anymore. I just hope that his kids and my family will beable to get together again soon. John we will all miss you and we will never forget you. We love u and your family. Rest In Peace and play some football in heaven and we all will see you there and cheer for you again. Love you and we will miss you.

  29. By David M on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    JE– truly a ‘gentle giant’. In the mid-80’s we played church softball with John. If you didn’t know his UT or NYJ history, you’d never know his accomplishments because he never talked much about it even when asked. Today players celebrate every first down– John just did his job and let the records speak. He just wanted to be one of the guys. John had a compassion for the little guy .One day years ago I hit a low and out of the clear blue, John called and asked me to ride his route with him. We spent the whole day in the South Texas oilfields talking about life. John was a man of few words but on that day he wanted me to know he cared. I’ll never forget his kind act and I’ll always remember John Elliott.

  30. By Hank on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    So many nice comments have been made about John as a man from family, close friends and brief acquaintances that he seems to have been as great off the fiekd as on it.

    It just feels so good to know that at least one of your heros was really worth it.

  31. By Nick Stefano on Nov 21, 2010 | Reply

    This is sad news. He was one of my favorite JETS growing up. And, one of the fastest and best defensive tackles ever! I always wanted to meet him. But, in the next world.

  32. By JohnnytheK on Nov 22, 2010 | Reply

    As a player John lived in my nieghborhood on Long Island. I was 9 yrs old and would go knock on his door and he would invite us in to hang out as he was rehabin’ from knee surgery.

  33. By Cindy Elliott on Nov 28, 2010 | Reply

    How wonderful to read the great things written about John Elliott,my wonderful Husband. I came into John’s life 12 years ago.He was a great Husband,friend, Brother,Dad,Grandfather, and Uncle. John had a smile on his face most days. He loved to play jokes on friends and family. And loved to play dominoes. He really liked to win. And He did quite often.The man I knew and loved was just as big of a Hero as no 80 was in Super Bowl III. I quess once a Hero always a Hero,

  34. By karl henke on Dec 19, 2010 | Reply

    Well not much left to say about John, except that I knew John first hand back in ’68 when I was a rookie with the Jets. My position was defensive tackle same as John’s then Weeb moved me out to D-End behind Gerry Philbin. Didn’t play much that year but watched John Elliott terrorize quarter backs and chase down running backs all season long. Remember when John ran down tight end John Mackey from behind during the Super Bowl Game back in ’68-69 in the Orange Bowl. Fast,quick,and agile he was a great one. Rest in Peace John Elliott. Karl Henke #70

  35. By Randy Farnsworth on Feb 22, 2011 | Reply

    Just happened to do a seach and sad to hear he passed. I met him at my father’s company ranch near Campwood, Tx. right after they won the superbowl with many from the team. When you are 13 it was a big deal and John was big as life.

    God speed.

  36. By John Derek Clow on Nov 11, 2011 | Reply

    John is Uncle John to me. My mom’s twin brother. Thought about John every day for the past year. We miss you so much Uncle John.

  37. By Hank on Nov 11, 2011 | Reply

    John Derek your uncle is still missed by all of us who were thrilled to watch him back in the late sixties and early seventies.

  38. By shelly on Nov 12, 2011 | Reply

    i just found out that john passed away..the reason i googled his name was espn gave a list of 50 best jets and john elliott was not on that list..i couldnt believe it..yes john was the 2nd best jet tackle to klecko..jumbo elliott was on that list and i think someone at espn confused jumbo with the great john elliott DT..RIP john

  39. By Randy Ortiz on Jun 15, 2012 | Reply

    I just found out JKohn Elliott passed away My belated condolences to his loved ones I met Mr Elliottat the old shae stadium in 1970 me and my friends climbed the chain link fence at shea stadium( iguess hey were having a walk-thorough before there game with the colts What memories. I my estimation Before John’s knee injury He and Alan page were the 2 best DT’s in football. R.I.P john E#80

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