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Jets Wish Mike Gerstle a Happy Retirement

Posted by Randy Lange on March 31, 2011 – 10:15 am

Most Jets fans probably don’t know Mike Gerstle, but as the club’s vice president of finance, his work on the Jets’ financial and tax matters for the last 32 years was an important contribution to the growth of the Green & White.

And as a testament to Mike’s standing in the Jets family, he received a standing ovation from more than 100 well-wishers — a mix of family members and current and former team employees — at a retirement celebration in the business café at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center this afternoon.

“It’s been an unbelievable journey and I’ve had so many good times,” said the always upbeat, white-haired gentleman. “I can’t thank all of you enough. This is a great organization, and working for the NFL is something special.”

Executive vice president Thad Sheely served as emcee for the short presentation of parting praise and gifts. Gerstle received his own green and white No. 32 jersey. We’re sure Emerson Boozer, Leon Johnson and all the other 32s in franchise history are OK with the honor. Gerstle is shown in the centerpiece photo on our home page alongside his new jersey along with Sheely and GM Mike Tannenbaum to the left and head coach Rex Ryan.

Also presented to him was a framed photo montage of the 32 team pictures during his tenure, all surrounding the shot of him and his wife, Donna, being introduced at midfield before the Jets’ final regular-season game against the Bills at New Meadowlands Stadium in January. The accomplished golfer will be receive a custom-fit set of new clubs.

Among those in attendance were Tannenbaum and Ryan, assistant coaches and members of the football, front office and business staffs.

“We were always secure in the knowledge,” said Tannenbaum, “that Mike would help us put together a team that would have success for many years. We really appreciate that.”

Brian Friedman, who now takes over Gerstle’s role after joining the Jets last year as chief financial officer and working with him for this planned transition, called him “a guy who knows more about NFL finances than anyone else in the league.”

And among those who made the trip to Florham Park for this occasion was former team president Steve Gutman, who hired Gerstle as assistant controller on April 2, 1979.

My partner Eric Allen assembled a list for this occasion that Sheely read to the crowd and that sounds like “The 12 Days of Christmas.” In his 32 years the Jets:

■ Played in 504 games (237-265-2 record)

■ Played in 22 postseason games (10-12)

■ Had 15 winning seasons (with 10 of them coming since 1997)

■ Had seven uniform changes

■ Played in four AFC Championship Games

■ Had two players, Joe Namath (1985) and Don Maynard (1987) selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame

■ Had two owners, Leon Hess and Woody Johnson.

■ And had a Gerstle in a pear tree. Make that a Gerstle perhaps on top of the victory tree outside the complex, looking to the future when he will no longer be a Jets employee but will still be attending Jets games and rooting on a Super Bowl championship, “which I’m sure we’ll get soon.”

But as Gerstle said, from his perspective not making it to the big game even once in all his time in the office pales in comparison to the great experiences and relationships he’s had in his role with the team.

“I come to this facility and I pinch myself, even today,” he said. “To be able to say I work for the New York Jets in the NFL, it just doesn’t get much better than that.”

Sanchez Moves into Second Round

QB Mark Sanchez outpolled Dolphins T Jake Long in the first round and now is in the middle of a tougher Round 2 battle against New Orleans QB Drew Brees for the race to be named the Madden NFL 12 cover athlete. ESPN has set up the vote in the form of a March/April Madness bracket sheet and fans can visit this link now to vote in the Sanchez-Brees matchup along with all the other head-to-head battles through April 3. The vote for the Madden winner will be held the week of April 18.

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Posted in Randy Lange | 9 Comments »

9 Responses to “Jets Wish Mike Gerstle a Happy Retirement”

  1. By IRA on Mar 31, 2011 | Reply

    Best of luck to Mike and a fine going out party by a first class organization. Those stats EA provided us were very impressive.

  2. By scjoe on Mar 31, 2011 | Reply

    You are right Randy, never heard of him. But there was something in this story that caught my eye and that was the mention of 7 uni changes. Of course we all know about the first change from those horrible Titan unis to the Jet unis somewhere around 1964, then those 80s unis (which I liked best) then back to the original Jet unis but the other 4 had to be pretty minimal, unless you are talking about color combination’s.

  3. By Randy Lange on Mar 31, 2011 | Reply

    scjoe, the reference was to sometimes minor changes. In 1990, for example, thin black outlines set off the numbers and stripes on the white jerseys and green pants with laced fronts arrived. In 1993 the green jerseys added those black outlines and a Super Bowl III 25th Anniversary patch. In 1994 the jerseys received Super Bowl-era striping on the shoulders and the helmets returned to the Jets football-shaped logo that was worn from 1965-77. In 1998 a small football-shaped Jets patch replaced an NFL 75th Anniversary patch on the left front shoulder and the pants went to double stripes down each leg.

  4. By IRA on Mar 31, 2011 | Reply

    As you know they league announces the scehdule about the 2nd week of April or so. Any news if that will happen this year with the ongoing situation?

  5. By Randy Lange on Mar 31, 2011 | Reply

    Ira, we’ve heard nothing other than that the NFL was planning to announce the schedules around the same time as usual — preseason schedule right around now, regular-season schedule some time in mid-April.

  6. By GaryC on Mar 31, 2011 | Reply

    I always liked the early 70’s jerseys, roscoe word,godwin turk, carl barzilauskas jerseys, Lousy teams but great jerseys and helmets.

  7. By IRA on Apr 1, 2011 | Reply

    Feel real bad about Chad. He was a free agent and talks have it he was going to get a shot as a starter for some team. This is a result of the lockout. If he was signed and with a team he wouldn’t have been playing hoops.
    So nobody has an answer why Saturday was workin for the league while the lockout is in place. Somebody please explain that to me.
    Love all the uniforms espeically the white tops and green bottoms during the cold weather. But for me the 68 all white is my favorite.

  8. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Apr 1, 2011 | Reply

    68 all white is my favorite uniform too, Ira, though I have to admit the later helmet with “Jets” spelled out in the shape of a jet was a totally cool update, just like the Bills and Pats have done to their helmet. Hmm, it never occurred to me until now that Rex’s preference for the old helmet may have an eerily symbolic meaning: Just like he prefers the old gear, so too does he prefer the old game when “pound and ground” worked for a lotta folks, at least in the NFL. That’s what’s so weird about Rex’s cluelessness on O, it’s as if he never saw Joe, Hadl, Dawson, Lamonica, etc. light it up forty-plus yrs ago, which is pretty much the way the better teams play it today. Oh well, he was, what, 7 when he went to the Super Bowl with his dad?

  9. By Mark on Apr 2, 2011 | Reply

    Randy, the first Sunday of the season is the 10 year anniversary of 9/11. What do you think about the Jets hosting the Giants on NBC Sunday night football? It would be a nice way to end such an emotional day for this country and area. I thoguht MLB should have taken one of the Yanks/Mets games and had a special one game series that day, would have been nice to have say a 4pm game and parlee that into a 8:30 Jets/ Giants game but MLB is not the NFL, they don’t get it

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