A few days ago we asked you who should be on a Jets version of Ahu Tongariki, the spiritual stone platform housing 15 statues depicting deified ancestors from the people of Easter Island.
If a similar shrine was to be built for to honor Jets legends from franchise history, we'd have to select 15 individuals that had a massive impact on the franchise. We've gone for players only, otherwise Weeb Ewbank probably would've had a strong case.
Let's run through our selections, which take into account your comments and suggestions.
The no-brainers (4)
As we said in the previous article, if you were going down the tired and unoriginal route of coming up with a "Mount Rushmore" for the Jets, there wouldn't be much point in looking beyond the first four numbers the team retired. So those four are automatic selections:
Namath will probably always be the face of the Jets franchise. The iconic Super Bowl III MVP was always going to have a guaranteed spot here. We may need a sculptor to fashion some kind of stone finger for him to raise.
Maynard's career ended almost 50 years ago but he was one of the best receivers of all time when he retired. He led the AFL in receiving yards once and was second on four other occasions. He also led the AFL with 14 touchdowns in 1965, a mark that still stands as the Jets all time record.
Martin was the model of consistency, rushing for a thousand yards in each of his first 10 seasons before the 11th was cut short due to injury, ending his career. The last seven of those years were with the Jets and Martin led the NFL in rushing in with just under 1,700 yards in 2004. When he retired, Martin was fourth all-time in rushing yards.
Klecko's perennial Hall of Fame snubbing has become as much of a tradition as anything within the hall itself. He was a pro bowler at three different positions and was twice voted as an all-pro. Klecko had 20.5 sacks in 1981, a total that has only been surpassed six times since the sack became an official stat the following year.
The Fanbase Consensus (6)
Several of you shared your own suggestions for who should be on the list and there were seven other individuals that were universally selected.
Hill was a towering offensive tackle who started all 168 games between 1964 and 1975. He was of the keys to protecting Namath and went to four AFL all-star games and four pro bowls. Hill, who sadly passed away in 2016, was selected to the Hall of Fame in January.
McNeil didn't have the same kind of consistent statistical success as Martin, but he had two thousand-yard seasons and also led the NFL in rushing in the strike-shortened 1982 season. McNeil also rushed for over 100 yards in three postseason wins, including a 202-yard game against the Bengals which is the 6th biggest output in NFL playoff history.
Walker was an exciting player and a fan favorite. Despite being blind in one eye, he was a two-time pro bowler who was one of the league's best big-play threats. Walker led the NFL in yards per catch twice and was in second place on two other occasions. He also led the league in receiving yards once.
Revis may have had a love-hate relationship with Jets fans over the years but was arguably the best cornerback the league has ever seen when he was at his peak. He was the key contributor in Rex Ryan's defense which carried the Jets to within a game of their first Super Bowl appearance since the sixties on two occasions.
Toon's career was sadly cut short so he didn't have the longevity or statistical prominence of some of his peers. However, Jets fans who saw the graceful Toon at his peak will remember how dominant he was. Toon was in the top three in the NFL in receptions for three straight years from 1986 to 1988 and would have had three consecutive thousand-yard seasons if the 1987 player's strike didn't shorten that season.
Snell's career rushing numbers weren't as good as his backfield cohort, Emerson Boozer, but he was a three-time AFL all-star and made important contributions as a runner, receiver and blocker. He etched his place in franchise history during Super Bowl III when he rushed for 121 yards and the only touchdown to spark the win.
The Worthy Inclusions (5)
Mawae is another recent Hall of Fame inductee and he spent half of his 16-year career with the Jets, during which time he went to six pro bowls and was a two-time all-pro. His arrival along with Martin in 1998 turned the Jets into a contender and the pair went to the playoffs four times over their first seven years together.
Grantham was a member of the inaugural Titans of New York team in 1960 and was their star as he was an all-pro in each of the team's first five seasons. He would later go on to play in two more AFL all-star games and win a Super Bowl with the team. Grantham is the franchise's all-time leader in Approximate Value per Pro Football Reference.
Mangold perhaps didn't quite have the same amount of success as Mawae, but he played his entire career with the Jets and went to seven pro bowls. He was a two-time all-pro and considered to be the NFL's best center during his prime. The Jets went to the postseason three times with Mangold as the starting center.
Lewis played his entire 13-year career with the Jets and may have been their best player in the nineties. Officially, he was a one-time all-pro and three time pro bowler, but Jets fans will recall that it should have been more than that. For example in 1994, he had 130 tackles, six sacks and four interceptions but wasn't selected. Lavonte David, in his 2013 all-pro season, is the only other player ever to achieve those numbers. Lewis ended his career with 52.5 sacks, 14 interceptions and five defensive touchdowns.
The controversial Gastineau embodied the spirit of the Sack Exchange era in the eighties and, at his peak, was considered as arguably the most fearsome pass rusher in the NFL. His 22 sacks in 1984 should arguably still stand as the all-time record and he had three other seasons where he racked up 20, 19 and 13.5 sacks before his career fizzled out due to injuries and off-field distractions.
Narrowly missing out
Some other names that people suggested or who might otherwise be considered worthy:
- Randy Rasmussen
- Joe Fields
- George Sauer
- Marvin Powell
- Dennis Byrd
- Gerry Philbin
- Wayne Chrebet
- D'Brickashaw Ferguson
- David Harris
- Aaron Glenn
Where did we get it wrong? Let us know in the comments.