Where does the All-Pro cornerback rank?
The best. There's no other way to describe it.
New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis is considered to be the top cornerback in the NFL today, a true shutdown corner in every sense of the word. When an opposing wide receiver lands on "Revis Island," he has as much chance of getting off the island as Gilligan and the Skipper did on Gilligan's Island.
As dominating a player as Revis is though, where does he rank in the top 10 players in Jets history? Now that the ashes have settled on another disappointing campaign, let's reflect on who the elite 10 players in team history are from the time they started as the New York Titans in 1960 in the old American Football League (AFL).
Kicker Pat Leahy, the Jets' all-time leading scorer with 1,470 career points, is not on the list because....he's a kicker. Sorry, Pat, but this top 10 countdown is for position players only.
The envelope please....
Speed to burn. That's the best way to describe No. 85, whom Gang Green drafted in the second round of the 1977 NFL draft.
During his 13-year career with the Jets, Walker twice led the NFL in yards per reception (1977-78) and also paced the league in receiving yards in 1978 with 1,169. A true deep threat, Walker had a career-high 12 touchdowns in 1986, including an 83-yard scoring reception.
A two-time Pro Bowl selection and one-time first team All-Pro, the former University of California product ranks second in team history with 8,306 receiving yards.
The rugged defensive tackle and nose tackle was the anchor of the Jets' Sack Exchange of the late 1970's to mid-80's.
Klecko was difficult to push out of the trenches and was a great run-stopper. He wasn't bad at sacking the opposing quarterback either as his 77.5 career sacks attest, second all-time in Jets history.
In 1981, Klecko registered 20.5 sacks, an outstanding number for an interior lineman. All in all, Klecko was a four-time Pro Bowler and was named twice to the All-Pro first team. He also ranks as one of the most popular players in Jets history.
I know because I'm a long-time Jets fan, and he is one of my all-time favorite players.
Gastineau congratulates Michael Strahan on breaking his record
No. 99 was the most feared pass rusher in the NFL in the mid 1980's, leading the league in sacks in 1983 (19.0) and 1984 (22.0).
The 22 sacks Gastineau recorded that year was the most in NFL history until 2001, when Michael Strahan of the Giants broke his record with 22.5.
Gastineau was the main cog on the New York Sack Exchange of the late 70's to mid-80's, a defensive line that wreaked havoc throughout the league. When his Jets career ended in 1988, Gastineau was New York's all-time sack leader with 107.5 and also a five-time Pro Bowl selection. He was named to the All-Pro squad three times as well.
One the best running backs of the 1980's, No. 24 finished his 12-year Jets career as the team's second leading all-time rusher with 8,074 yards.
The third overall pick in the 1981 draft, McNeil led the NFL during the strike-shortened season of 1982 with 786 yards in nine games. The UCLA product had his best season in 1985 when he gained 1,331 yards in only 14 games.
McNeil was effective both between the tackles and around the edge and was named to three Pro Bowls and one All-Pro squad. He was a model of consistency, pacing the Jets in rushing for eight straight seasons.
Sorry, folks, but I wasn't able to find a photo of the pride of Mississippi, who was an original New York Titan in 1960. Grantham is considered to be one of the best linebackers in Jets history.
A five-time Pro Bowler and five-time selection to the First-Team All Pro contingent, Grantham was one of the best linebackers of his era and was a member of the Jets' Super Bowl III winning team.
Grantham played 13 seasons with the Titans/Jets and also added 24 career interceptions, including one for a touchdown.
Revis is at the top of his game
The Jets' superstar cornerback would have been ranked even higher but he has played just five years in the league. What a five-year career it has been though.
No. 24 was recently named to his fourth Pro Bowl and has already been a two-time selection for the NFL's First Team All Pro squad. And he's only getting better.
Revis' cover skills remind a lot of fans of Deion Sanders and Revis is a much better tackler (Deion never wanted to get his uniform dirty). Opposing wide receivers know what it's like to be on "Revis Island."
The 14th overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft, Revis had the longest interception return for a touchdown in the NFL this season, a 100-yarder against the Dolphins. He is quite simply the best defensive back in Jets history and a future Hall of Famer.
Pure class. That's the best way to describe No. 28, the best overall running back in Jets history.
C-Mart was one of the best running backs of his era and finished his New York career in 2005 as the leading rusher in Jets history with 10,302 yards and 58 touchdowns. Twelve of those scores came in 2004 when he led the NFL in rushing with 1,697 yards.
A strong and swift halfback, Martin gained over 1,000 yards for seven consecutive seasons with the Jets (1998-2004) and was named to a pair of Pro Bowls with the Jets (2001, 2004). He was also honored with a First Team All-Pro selection in 2004 and was a true model of consistency.
It's a shame he never made it to the Super Bowl with the Jets after playing in a Super Bowl with New England earlier in his career.
The Texas Southern product joined the Jets in 1963 and became the best offensive tackle in team history (sorry, no photo available).
An eight-time Pro Bowler, Hill opened holes for running backs Matt Snell and Emerson Boozer of the Jets' 1968 championship squad. Hill was 6'4" and 270 pounds, considered large for his time, and was a powerful run blocker and pass protector.
All in all, Hill played 14 seasons with the Jets and named first team All-AFL by the Sporting News in 1969. He also is among an elite group of players to own a Super Bowl ring.
Jets fans salute you Mr. Maynard
Namath to Maynard. How many times did that regal combination of quarterback to wide receiver connect and what music that is to old-time Jets fans ears.
The lanky Texas native was not large in stature but was blessed with good speed, ran precise routes and had some of the best hands in the business. All it did was lead him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
No. 13 made four Pro Bowls and completed his 13-year Jet career as the team's all-time leader in receptions (627), reception yards (11,732) and touchdown catches (88). Maynard had one of the best seasons of his career during New York's championship season of 1968, hauling in 57 catches for 1,297 yards and 12 touchdowns.
In the AFL championship game at Shea Stadium, Maynard had 112 receiving yards and two touchdowns as the Jets edged Oakland, 27-23 to advance to Super Bowl III.
We all know what happened then.
Who else could be #1 but Joe Namath?
All you have to say is those two statements and Jets fans—even most NFL fans—know who you're talking about. Namath is simply an iconic figure and was forever stamped in NFL lore by his guarantee that his 18-point underdog Jets would defeat the powerful Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III.
Not only did No. 12 lead the Jets to a 16-7 triumph, that win helped pave the way for the eventual merger between the AFL and NFL in 1970. Until that game, the AFL was frowned upon as being an inferior league to the NFL.
Namath, who was 17-of-28 for 206 yards, became the only quarterback in Super Bowl history to win an MVP award without throwing a touchdown pass. He did not throw an interception though, which was a key factor in beating Don Shula's Colts.
Not only did Joe Willie lead the Jets to their lone Super Bowl victory, he is also New York's all-time leader in passing yards (27,057) and touchdown passes (170). He was a five-time Pro Bowler and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.