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Blog

Greene Said ‘Change’ Did Not Refer to Jets QBs

Posted by Randy Lange on November 15, 2012 – 5:17 pm

Updated, Friday, 7:25 a.m. ET

Shonn Greene wanted to set the record straight.

The Jets tailback made a point to tell the team’s beat reporters after today’s practice that he didn’t say what Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports said he said under the headline “Jets RB Shonn Greene is right: Time for team to hand ball to ‘terrible’ Tim Tebow.”

“I think the quotes were totally out of context,” Greene said. “It was that we’re 3-6 and things need to change. I said nothing about changing the quarterback, nothing about any single person on this team. I’ve been here four years and I never once said anything about anybody on this team.”

Greene’s agent had set up the interview with Silver on Tuesday. The first he heard of the piece was when a friend texted him the article after it posted Wednesday night.

“I was shocked,” he said. “First of all, the article was supposed to be a feature on me and where I’m at right now, and how it turned into me saying this about this person and that person, I don’t know.”

One of the key quotes Greene took issue with was Silver quoting him saying, “You feel bad for Mark, but at the same time you want to win. We’re not here to protect people’s feelings.”

“I never said that,” he said, adding he didn’t bring up QB Mark Sanchez’s name at all. “What I said was we’re 3-6 and some things need to change. We need to win.”

This Jet-on-the-media story comes on the heels of head coach Rex Ryan’s critiquing of the unnamed Jets who were quoted on Tim Tebow in Tuesday’s Daily News, both to his team and to reporters at Wednesday’s news conference.

“First you get yesterday, now today with me. It’s just ‘C’mon, like, really?’ ” Greene said. “We just want to play football. That’s all we want to do.”

Greene said his relationship with Sanchez was unharmed by the story.

“I let him know about it through a text,” No. 23 said. “We’re not worried about that. We’ve got a game to play.”

Thursday Injury Reports

It’s good to see big Kenrick Ellis moving around again. The 346-point nose tackle seems to be nearing a return to action after sitting the last four games with the knee injury he suffered vs. Houston and not even practicing the first three weeks after the injury. He’s listed as full-go in practice this week, along with 12 other teammates, and he could help in trying to corral ninth-year man Steven Jackson, the 240-pound feature back whom Ryan today called “a big-time playmaker who’s as big as he ever was, strong, determined, and still has speed and all the skills.”

Also on the Green & White I-report, WR Stephen Hill stayed home for a second day with an illness but Ryan said, “I’m hopeful he’ll be able to play” on Sunday. S LaRon Landry (heel) also didn’t practice, as per his usual late-week schedule. And RB Bilal Powell, listed as limited before practice, also was a DNP. Powell may have gotten his concussion Sunday when he was shoved by Seattle’s Malcolm Smith and fell into what appeared to be an accidental knee shot from Leon Washington as he was tackled after a punt return.

For the Rams, WR Austin Pettis (toe) did not practice today, while LB Mario Haggan (thigh), new to the list, and DE Eugene Sims (knee) and S Darian Stewart (knee) were all limited.

Alumni News

John Schmitt, Joe Namath’s Super Bowl III center, visited the Jets training center today, as usual impeccably clothed in suit and tie. Schmitt just celebrated his 70th birthday on Monday but he doesn’t look a day over 60. Maybe that’s because of the 60 hours he still puts in every week running his businesses.

Former Jets RB -KR-PR extraordinaire Bruce Harper will be among the sports world luminaries at the 16th annual “Teddy Dinner” at the Hilton Garden Inn on Staten Island, N.Y., tonight. Teddy Atlas, is, of course, the celebrated boxing trainer and ESPN Friday Night Fights analyst and a former Jet himself as a consultant in Eric Mangini’s regime. This year’s gala will benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy throughout the New York area from Staten Island to Rockaway.

Pass and Catch

A little unfinished business from Seattle that may interest only me:

Golden Tate had the first-quarter 38-yard touchdown reception from Russell Wilson and the fourth-quarter 23-yard TD pass to Sidney Rice. A TD catch and a TD pass in the same game … that doesn’t happen often, does it?

No, it doesn’t. The only other time an opponent did it in franchise history was on Oct. 1, 1961, when the Jets were the Titans, the game was in the Polo Grounds, the opponent was the Boston Patriots, and Gino Cappelletti had an all-around scoring day. Cappelletti threw to Larry Garron for a 27-yard TD on a fake field goal, caught a 32-yard strike from Butch Songin and kicked three field goals and three PATs, accounting for 24 of the Pats’ points in the Titans’ 37-30 win.

The Jets have also done it twice to opponents: Curtis Martin at Tampa Bay in 2000 (the “Flashlight Game”) and Freeman McNeil in ’83 at Miami.

It’s the first time it’s happened in the NFL since 2009, when Mewelde Moore turned the trick for Pittsburgh vs. San Diego, and it’s only the 12th time since 1960 that a wideout was the player who threw and caught a TD pass in the same game.


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Memories and Anecdotes About Sam DeLuca

Posted by Randy Lange on September 14, 2011 – 7:59 pm

Football and emotion are inextricably linked, especially regarding the loss of fellow citizens and teammates. Sunday night the emotion was through the roof as the Jets, Cowboys, NFL, NBC and the nation commemorated the loss of thousands of lives on the 10th anniversary of September 11th.

This week, the emotion is being felt on a smaller scale but no less painfully by the family and friends of Sam DeLuca, who are mourning his death Tuesday.

“I’m really sad. He was my first roommate with the Jets,” said John Schmitt, teammate till the end of DeLuca, the former Jets guard and radio analyst, 75, who died of pancreatic cancer. “I came in in ’64 and he came in from the San Diego Chargers. He was such a help to me.

“I got there Sunday and we talked for about 15 minutes. I told him I loved him and I thanked him for everything he did for me. We gave each other a big hug and a kiss and we had a couple of laughs.”

DeLuca didn’t make it to the Jets’ storybook 1968 season, breaking his ankle playing basketball in the ’67 offseason. But he took over at left guard, Schmitt was at center and Dave Herman moved in at RG for the 1965 and ’66 seasons — also Joe Namath’s first two pro seasons — to form the interior line foundation from which Schmitt and Herman rose to become world champions on Namath’s Super Bowl III team.

DeLuca was a strong, tough and smart 6’2″, 250-pounder from Brooklyn. He was a technician who used the pick, slip and slide blocks of that day to top effect as a very good run blocker. And he used his strength to carve out a niche as a fine pass blocker and one of the few guards who could go toe to toe with Ernie Ladd, the 6’9″, 290-pound DT who was a four-time AFL All-Star from the Chargers.

“Sam was a weightlifter ahead of his time,” Schmitt recalled. “Coach Ewbank didn’t like his players to lift weights but Sam lifted all the time. He was strong and he could handle Ernie because he knew how to play against him after practicing against him in San Diego. He could play Ernie as good as anyone could play him. For a little guy, he could handle big guys.”

Schmitt also has a number of anecdotes about DeLuca, which caused him to put his heavy heart aside and laugh at some of the memories. One of them involved Sam’s reputation as a health freak.

“He made me a nervous wreck,” Schmitt said. “He was always worried about breaking his neck on the field, so we had a head harness in our room and every night we’d lift weights with our neck.”

DeLuca also had tonsorial concerns.

“Sam was always losing his hair,” Schmitt said. “After one game against Ernie Ladd, he didn’t talk about his bloody nose or anything. He took off his helmet and he said, ‘I lost 23 hairs in this game.’ He actually counted the hairs.”

DeLuca also was smart enough to know he wanted to get into broadcasting, often displaying his “announcer’s voice” to Schmitt on those car rides from Long Island to Shea Stadium. His offseason injury and a broadcasters’ strike gave him a two-week window of opportunity to call Jets games on WABC Radio. He stayed in radio and TV for two decades, working on radio first with Merle Harmon, then with Spencer Ross and finally Charley Steiner.

And from 1973-76, NBC teamed him up with Charlie Jones to work regionally televised games. In the process he went on to call 16 Jets games in those four seasons.

DeLuca also had outstanding business sense, moving after broadcasting into owning several McDonald’s franchises on Westchester Avenue in the Bronx and then on to owning a number of mini-warehouses that he sold for a nice profit. His was a full life and Schmitt was celebrating that life as he was mourning his friend’s death.

The viewing for DeLuca will be tonight and Friday at the McGrath and Son Funeral Home in Bronxville, N.Y., with the Mass and funeral set for Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Pelham Manor on Saturday at 9:45 a.m.


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JOHN SCHMITT: Paying Back the Raiders

Posted by jetsstaff on January 22, 2010 – 2:22 pm

This week we’re bringing you a trio of voices from the Jets’ championship past, three players who played in the three AFL/AFC title games in franchise history. Today, John Schmitt, Joe Namath’s center, reflects on the 1968 Jets, who came from behind to defeat Oakland at home for the penultimate AFL Championship, then proceeded to rock the football world in Super Bowl III.

The game against the Raiders was big not because it was the AFL Championship Game but because they had beaten us in the Heidi Game. We were ahead by three points with a minute and seven seconds to go in that game and we lost by 11.

Four weeks later we got to play the Raiders in New York City for the AFL Championship at Shea Stadium. Needless to say, we wanted to get even for what they did to us in that game. We ended up winning, 27-23. That game, No. 1, it was freezing, it was 10, 15 below zero wind-chill factor. And then that game was more physical and tougher on us than the Super Bowl game was. We hated Oakland and they hated us and we just wanted to kill each other and we did.

The biggest memory in all honesty, the score was 27-23 and they were coming down the field like our defense wasn’t there. They got to about the 20-yard line and they threw this lateral pass that went backwards and Hewritt Dixon dropped the ball and Ralph Baker picked it up and that’s how the game ended. I can still see Ralph back there picking up that fumble and running with it. He couldn’t advance it. He did advance it — he brought it back to the end zone but it didn’t count because the rules back then were that you couldn’t advance a lateral fumble. That was the most exciting thing.

The scariest thing, of course, was seeing them come down the field. Daryle Lamonica couldn’t miss anybody. From their 18 they went straight down the field in like a minute and a half. I said, "Oh, my God, here we go." But the Lord was with us and Ralph made a great play and the rest was history.

After the game, the satisfaction of beating Oakland was just unbelievable. I don’t remember ever beating Oakland while I was with the Jets. We may have but I don’t remember. To beat them to the AFL Championship game and to be able to think about "Hey, we’re going to the Super Bowl." Of course, that wasn’t such a good feeling because then it was all about ‘Uh-oh, we’re going against the Colts."

Football is not just Xs and Os. It’s about believing in yourself, believing in your coach, believing in your quarterback, believing in the leaders of your team. When we played in the championship game, we had an offensive line that played together for five years. That can’t ever happen now with free agency but you have an offensive line that’s been together for two years and that’s really important, especially when you have a rookie quarterback. There’s no guessing on that offensive line. If your right tackle makes a step to the right or your right guard makes a step to the right, they’re all in sync. Those guys play together as good as any offensive line in football today. They are playing super. They are just a terrific bunch.

The defensive unit, they don’t care, they don’t get upset. One-two-three-kick, one-two-three-kick, and they’re back in there just like last week. They don’t get upset, they’re just out there playing and somewhere along the line one of them comes out with the big play. I think they really believe in each other, they trust each other. And they trust in their coach. Rex has done a great job with that team.

I believe the Jets can win Sunday at Indianapolis. Is there any guarantee? Should we be favored going in? No. Manning is unbelievable. You take Manning out of that mix, the Colts are just an average team. With him on the field, he’s a commander, he’s really a coach and a quarterback and we have to make sure we hold onto the ball, we grind it out and keep the ball for eight or nine minutes because it only takes him two minutes to score.

We have to keep Manning on the bench and us on the field. If we can do that, then we can win that game. We have as good a chance as anybody to win.


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Catch of the Day Goes to Brad Smith

Posted by Randy Lange on June 9, 2009 – 4:25 pm

It was just one catch in the first practice of a June minicamp. In the scheme of things, it wasn’t that big a deal. It doesn’t count in the record books. It will never be one of ESPN’s Top Ten Plays.

Nevertheless, it was a beautiful thing.

"You had a good view of it?" Brad Smith said with a smile when I asked him after this morning’s practice to talk a little bit about his impersonation of Willie Mays as he looked over his left shoulder, then his right, then let Kellen Clemens’ bomb drop right into his outstretched hands for one of those "touchdown" completions during 11-on-11 drills in the Jets’ fieldhouse.

"It was tough," Smith reflected. "Kellen was trying to give me some air to run with it. It was a great ball. And it was like catching a golfball because it got caught up in the lights and you’ve just got to stick your hands out and trust it.

"That’s what Coach Schottenheimer and Coach Ellard talk about is keeping your body between you and the defender. If you try to turn and jump, it gives the defender a chance to make a play on the ball. If you keep him on your back, you have a better chance."

But while Smith was happy to be analytical, he wasn’t going to gush.

"You have to be honest with yourself. If you think you made a good catch, then you made a good catch," he said. "I didn’t think it was a great catch. I think it was one you’ve got to make, one that you build confidence with the quarterback so you can do it again. I thought it was good, not great."

That’s really Brad Smith in a nutshell. Now in his fourth season as a Jets wideout after four seasons as Missouri’s remarkably productive quarterback, he’s not about to toot his own horn. A lot of players will say the team matters most, not the individual. But when Smith says it, it’s heartfelt.

I asked him about continuing the process of constructing his career as an NFL receiver that so far has shown flashes but no great numbers.

"I don’t think I ever fought it," he said of his transition to a new position that began back in 2006 when he was a Jets fourth-round pick. "From the beginning I just wanted to do whatever’s best for the team. Even this year, if they ask me to go back and run some snaps, I’ll run them to the best of my ability. If I run routes, I’ll run them to the best of my ability. It’s to be the best player I can be in the role I’m given."

The versatility that Smith provides remains intriguing. I love to run out this stat but I’ll throw mention it one more time: Smith was the NFL’s leading rusher last year … in terms of yards per carry for all players with at least 12 carries. He gained 113 yards on his dozen totes for a 9.4 average, led by his brilliant, weaving 36-yard keeper at Oakland.

As for the receiving part, Brad’s in a battle with Chansi Stuckey and David Clowney among others for reps alongside Jerricho Cotchery with the first offense. But Smith had a strong practice this morning, getting free on a deep post earlier in practice on which Clemens overthrew him and making several other crisp receptions.

"It’s building," Smith said. "Ever since I got here a few years ago, it’s been a grind. We’re not there yet, I’m not there yet. It won’t finish until we win."

Super Stars Come Out

This has been a big day at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center for Super Bowl III alumni. Buddy Ryan, Rex’s father who was an assistant on Weeb Ewbank’s 1968 staff, was a guest of honor at Rex’s news conference. There’s a video of Buddy’s news conference on our site and Eric Allen will have a story on him on Wednesday.

Also on hand for the early workout: RB Emerson Boozer, CB Randy Beverly, G Randy Rasmussen and DE Gerry Philbin. And showing up in between practices was C John Schmitt. I visited with Philbin and we’ll have a story up in the next few days. Also on hand for the p.m. practice, not a Super Bowl Jet but a fan favorite, was ex-TE Rocky Klever.

Practice Highlights

D and O had their moments. S Eric Smith breaks on a Mark Sanchez ball over the middle intended for TE Kareem Brown and makes the interception and return. … Smith added a pair of picks in the p.m. practice, giving him a threefer. … Fellow S Jim Leonhard has a couple of nice breakups, one on Rex Ryan throwing in defensive drills, one on Clemens throwing for Dustin Keller. … Smith wasn’t the only WR strutting his stuff. K Jay Feely, on his Twitter page, said Wallace Wright was the player of the practice. Wright had two excellent receptions in close proximity as Sanchez fitted some nice paces into some small windows.

Minicamp Notes

The Jets have signed LB Craig Kobel, the former South Florida player who last played for the Eagles in 2007, and have waived LB Nate Harris and DT Brian Schaefering. … Number-go-round: TE Martrez Milner has taken over uniform number 86 after starting out as No. 45, and rookie FA tackle Tavita Thompson downshifts from 63 (which he was sharing with DL Matt Kroul) to 62.

Happy Camper in Ohio

Smith will be holding his own camp in Youngstown, Ohio, on July 10-11. Billed the Brad Smith Hometown Sportsfest, it will feature football and cheerleading camps, plus a Bowling with the NFL Stars tournament on that Friday night and an NFL vs. Faculty/Alumni Basketball Game on Saturday night.

"We’re just trying to bring the community in," said Smith, who grew up in Youngstown and attended Chaney High there. "We’re trying to have some fun."

You have to register for the Sportsfest if you want to participate in it, which you can do here.


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1968 Game 11 — JETS 37, Chargers 15

Posted by Randy Lange on October 24, 2008 – 9:36 am

This is the 11th in a series of Radar entries on the 16 games of the Jets’ 1968 Super Bowl III season:    

Sunday, Nov. 24, 1968    

San Diego Stadium, San Diego, Calif. (51,175)

Four Jets interceptions stifled the Chargers’ efforts to reverse an earlier decision, and Joe Namath moved the New Yorkers into a 27-7 halftime lead they never relinquished. Jim Turner’s three field goals boosted his total to 31, passing pro football’s single-season record. One of Namath’s touchdown passes, to Don Maynard for 87 yards, was the longest in club history. (Rookie in CAPS below.)

  1 2   3   4 Tot
 JETS (8-3) 10 17   3   7 37
 San Diego Chargers (8-3) 0   7   0   8 15
Qtr Team Scoring Play
1 NYJ Jim Turner 13 FG
1 NYJ Don Maynard 87 pass from Joe Namath (Turner kick)
2 NYJ Matt Snell 3 run (Turner kick)
2 NYJ Turner 20 FG
2 SD Speedy Duncan 95 punt return (DENNIS PARTEE kick)
2 NYJ Bill Mathis 19 pass from Namath (Turner kick)
3 NYJ Turner 23 FG
4 NYJ Mathis 1 run (Turner kick)
4 SD Jacque MacKinnon 3 pass from John Hadl (MacKinnon pass fr. Hadl)

Game Trivia

â–  For the third time in 1968 and the seventh and final time in their time together, Maynard (166) and George Sauer (124) had 100-plus receiving yards in the same game.

â–  The Jets rolled to 510 yards and outgained the Chargers by 275 yards. Both were the top figures for the Green & White in the 1968 season.

â–  Leslie Herbert "Speedy" Duncan’s 95-yard punt-return TD was the longest PR of his 11-year pro career and remains the longest punt-return score by an opponent in Jets franchise history.

Quotes Now

RLB Larry Grantham: “You always look at your record before your next game and try to decide where you stand in your division and what you have to do to win the division, because that’s the way you get to the playoffs. So we realized we’d better turn it on. It was a big win for us at that particular time.”

RB Emerson Boozer: “The Chargers game was about getting back in the winning column. We knew what we had to do. We just gave one away down in Oakland and we had to win in San Diego.”

C John Schmitt: “If we lost that game in San Diego, it was over. But that was the turning point.”

Quotes Then

Head coach Weeb Ewbank: “Snell is one of the best pass blockers I’ve ever seen. He’s on a level with Cookie Gilchrist and Marion Motley.”

Chargers head coach Sid Gillman: “The way Namath threw today, he could beat anybody.”


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A Week Ahead That’s Strong on Past, Present

Posted by Randy Lange on October 18, 2008 – 12:43 pm

We set aside our Special Teams Saturday theme this week to tell you about the big week ahead here on the Radar.

It’s time to honor the Jets’ past again, but this time, no, fans, it’s not with navy and gold. It’s with the Green & White that 40 players wore as they shocked the world four decades ago.

The Jets’ Super Bowl III team will be celebrated all week long in advance of ceremonies to honor that band of Colt corralers at halftime of the Jets-Chiefs game at the Meadowlands a week from Sunday.

Eric Allen has been tireless in talking to many of those players on the 1968 Jets and researching the events of long ago. The fruits of his labor will be on display all this week in stories on our site.

You’ll be able to relive the moments in a story on Joe Namath, reminisce with players on the late, great head coach, Weeb Ewbank, return to two pivotal moments in that Super Season with center John Schmitt, and meet up again with Frank Ramos, the longtime public relations director who famously counseled Namath, "Joe, you need to go to the Miami Touchdown Club dinner."

And for the fans who remember the games (and for the fans who don’t), we’ll have our own trip down memory lane for you all week in the form of 16 Radar blogs, one for each of the 14 regular-season games — including the infamous "Heidi" game — and the two postseason epics in that hallowed year.

Each blog will have a recap of the game, the score by quarters and scoring plays, newly researched trivia for each game and quotes from then and now on the men who made it all possible. And the package will be augmented with audio entries from Broadway Joe himself and slideshows bringing back the images of the time.

I’ll post two 1968 game entries every day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, beginning Sunday morning before the current Jets’ important battle at Oakland. The ’68 AFC Championship triumph over — wow, how’s this for timing? — duh Raiduhs and the SBIII crunching of the Colts will go live a week from Sunday morning before the kickoff against Kansas City.

And while all this is going on, we’ll keep you posted on the stories on the preparations for the Chiefs and developments in the Coaches Club Auction, which also begins tomorrow and runs through Oct. 27.

All in all, not a week for the weak of heart, but very strong in content on the Jets of the past and present. We hope you’ll enjoy it.


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EA: Super Memories at Namath Golf Tourney

Posted by Eric Allen on October 8, 2008 – 1:50 pm

Throughout the years, I’ve heard the story often. My father started to tell it when I was just a young kid growing up in Buffalo, N.Y., and he repeated it yesterday when we spoke by phone after I attended the Joe Namath March of Dimes Celebrity Golf Tournament at Bethpage State Park on Long Island.

The year after the Jets’ Super Bowl win, they visited Buffalo’s War Memorial Stadium and Bills fans gave Namath and his teammates a standing ovation for their 16-7 victory over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. My dad, a lifelong Bills fan who quietly roots for us in Western New York, was surely proud of the knowledgeable salute to a rival, but he made it clear to me from early on that I should know that this was no ordinary champion.

In my youth, I don’t think I ever fully appreciated that win or its importance to pro football. But now eight years into my tenure with the Jets, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to some of those heroes — Namath, Boozer, Herman, Beverly, Schmitt, Grantham, Hill, Mathis — on at least a few occasions over the years.

And although many of those conversations have been memorable (Ken Ilchuk, who was my former boss, and I interviewed Namath once for more than an hour back at Weeb Ewbank Hall), Tuesday’s golf outing topped them all.

First of all, Namath throws a good party (and kudos to Brooks Thomas, the former Jets PR staffer who put this thing together for the March of Dimes), and all the proceeds will go to a wonderful cause.

Before any celebrity struck a ball, they assembled together and sat on risers for photos. Then former Jets LB Greg Buttle announced all-star casting from the sporting world, including the likes of Julius Erving — Dr. J. — Deacon Jones, Jim Kelly, Gary Carter, Darryl Strawberry, Clark Gillies, “Gentleman” Gerry Cooney, Jonathan Ogden, Ted Hendricks, Steve Largent, a number of Jets alumni and just too many other notables to include in this space.

Buttle saved Namath for last and I have to think Bob “White Shoes” Wischusen will do the same when the Jets honor their only championship team at halftime of the Chiefs game on Oct. 26. Forty years after the Green & White shocked the football world, they’ll come together largely intact in what promises to be an emotional tribute.

During the lead-up to that game, we’re going to relive that magical season here on newyorkjets.com. We’ll give you a snapshot of each game that season with scoring plays and charts, trivia and player commentary included.

Yesterday, I spoke to a number of players from that famed ’68 squad. As expected, some of those regular-season contests are a bit hazy, but these guys still remember many things vividly.

Namath recalled asking for some help from up above when the clock ticked down at the Orange Bowl. John Schmitt told me the Jets had so much hatred for the Raiders that they literally would have fought them in the parking lot. Larry Grantham and Winston Hill praised Ewbank for his ability to connect with players and they both viewed him as a father figure. Randy Beverly discussed his family’s disbelief when they found out the Jets had lost the “Heidi” game in Oakland. And Grantham told me the coaching staff stopped showing them film of the Colts three days prior to the game because they knew the players were so confident that they’d win the game.

I’ve got a few personal favorites that I’ll save for our official 1968 section on the site, but this was a unique group of guys and an excellent football team. There may have been better teams and there were surely better games played, but those Jets won the most important game in pro football history.

The story doesn’t change any — it just gets better with time. Those ’68 Jets are like a fine wine and the organization will pop open that cork at halftime of the Chiefs game.

For people like me, who never saw them play in person or on television, it will be our chance to give them a standing O.


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Maynard Flying In for Jets Night at Shea

Posted by Randy Lange on April 21, 2008 – 1:16 pm

One far-out fortnight is ahead for us here at newyorkjets.com and for you Jets fans who have been with us on the Radar for the last year.

We’ll have a lot of draft stuff for you this week, augmented by Real Football Services’ reports (next one, on trade rumors at the top of the draft, due on the site Tuesday morning) and Real’s last mock draft. Then comes the draft on Saturday and Sunday and the rookie minicamp, this year coming one week after the draft.

But there are a few non-draft items that are coming up on the calendar as well, and one of them comes up the day after the draft in Jets Night at Shea a week from today.

And in regard to the celebration of the Green & White’s 20 years at that big apple orchard in Queens, I have this bit of late-breaking news:

Don Maynard will be on hand for the festivities.

Yes, Maynard, No. 13, Jets Hall of Famer, one of Joe Namath’s two favorite receivers, is coming in from his idyllic Southwestern stomping grounds to be a part of the night of reminiscing along with the Mets, who are playing their last year at Shea Stadium before moving over to next-door Citi Field in 2009.

Maynard makes it a touchdown (minus the PAT) of former Jets who used to ply their trades on the floor of Shea from 1964-83 and will be on hand for this special event — Joe Klecko, Wesley Walker, Greg Buttle, Randy Beverly and John Schmitt.

I can also report that according to my sources, Mr. Met is getting into the spirit of the night and may have a sartorial surprise for the Mets and Jets fans in the stands for the Amazins’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers — I mean Pirates — that night.

There are a few other wrinkles for the occasion. The 12-by-10-foot Jets flag that has been displayed at Jets Welcome Home luncheons will fly from one of the center field flagpoles that night.

And the Shea Countdown counter will be flipped to the number "69." That’s the number of games remaining, including that night’s game, in the Mets’ Shea tenancy. It also happens to be the last two digits of the calendar year in which the two teams, once joined at the hip pads, won celebrated championships — the Jets for their historic Super Bowl III conquest and the Mets for their 1969 World Series triumph.

For information on Jets Night at Shea, you can click on the news release here.

Brian’s Song for a Wider Market

Congratulations are in order for Brian Bassett, a friend, supporter of newyorkjets.com and follower of the Green & White who has been one of those dastardly bloggers at TheJetsBlog.com. Bassett was recently added as a partner to SportsNet New York’s Web site. And this week he’s begun in his new temporary role as a guest blogger for The New York Times’ Fifth Down. Hopefully, Brian, working for the print media won’t destroy your new street cred.


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