New York Jets: The 9 Most Underrated Jets in Franchise History

Chris Dela RosaContributor IJune 7, 2011

New York Jets: The 9 Most Underrated Jets in Franchise History

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    Photo Courtesy of nydailynews.com

    Over the years, the New York Jets have had some "great ones:" Joe Namath, Vinny Testaverde, Darrelle Revis and many others.  These players have received praise from almost everybody that knows their name (including myself).  

    The players who have been left out are the unsung heroes, the underdogs, the underrated ones, whatever you may call it.

    These players have put in just as much work, perhaps even more than the big name players, yet they don't receive the recognition they deserve.

    This list is for those players on the New York Jets over the last 50-plus years who may not have gotten their fair share of fame and praise, even though they have been very beneficial to the team.

     

    All Statistics from ESPN.com

9. Jerricho Cotchery

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    The wide receiver who currently plays for the Jets flies under the radar like a young and eager NFL player. 

    In recent years, the names surrounding the Jets franchise have been Brett Favre, Mark Sanchez, Darrelle Revis, Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards and several others.

    In the conversations that include those names, Cotchery is never included.  While it is usually Braylon or Santonio that come up with the big plays, Cotchery is one of the most reliable receivers the Jets have had in years. 

    His relentless effort and talent makes him a safe target; this is best exemplified in Cotchery’s catch against the Browns when he hurt himself during the play but still sacrificed his body to make a spectacular catch that would help the Jets win.

    He may not be the biggest performer on the Jets, but he gets the job done and is a reliable receiver.

    Career Stats: 358 Receptions, 4514 Yards, 18 Receiving Touchdowns, 1 Rushing Touchdown.

8. Curtis Martin

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Some of you may be asking why Curtis Martin on this list.  He will eventually be inducted into the Hall Of Fame and is the Jets all time leading rusher. 

    Those of you asking this question are likely Jets fans and the reality is, Jets fans are the only ones that really talk about Curtis Martin.

    Since 1998 until 2005, Martin produced great numbers for the Jets as he helped the team reach the playoffs several times. 

    Martin is one of the best rushers in NFL history but has not received much recognition for his ability outside of the Jets community; he was a part of the Monday Night Miracle, and he was a key piece in the Jets-Patriots rivalry, as he played for the Patriots before the Jets.

    Curtis Martin may not be a household name around the country, his ability can be seen in his statistics as he was one of the most successful running backs in NFL history but does not get as much of the praise as big-time running backs like Barry Sanders or Marshall Faulk or even Jerome Bettis.

     

    Career Stats: 3,518 Attempts, 14,101 Yards, 90 Touchdowns

7. Chad Pennington

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Sure, Pennington left the Jets for the Dolphins, but for all the Jets fans reading this; try to remember the good times with Pennington and not the bad like the many injuries or returning to the Meadowlands as a Dolphin in 2008 and advancing to the playoffs while knocking the Jets out of contention.

    While he may not have been very successful in his later years as a member of the Jets, his early years were great for the organization.  He made up for his lack of arm strength with precise passes to receivers all over the field. 

    Pennington helped to lead the Jets to the playoffs; one of the games included the 41-0 rout of the Colts.

    The Jets and their fans’ relationship with Pennington is like that of a bad break-up, where it is better to remember the good times and not horrible ending. 

    No matter what, Pennington helped the Jets, and still does not receive much praise for it; therefore, he makes it onto this list.

     

    Career Stats: 1,632 Completions, 17,283 Yards, Completed 66% of Passes, 102 Touchdowns, 64 Interceptions.

6. Laveraneus Coles

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    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Like Cotchery, Laveraneus Coles was a reliable receiver during his time as a member of the New York Jets.  For years, Quarterbacks would trust Coles with tough plays that required his ability to be clutch.

    Of his 10 years in the National Football League, Coles played seven of them with the Jets, starting in 2000 when they drafted him in the third round of the 2000 draft. 

    Coles has had a few seasons with more than 1,000 receiving yards, but the statistic that stands the most, that shows how clutch he is, the fumble category. 

    As a member of the New York Jets, Coles only fumbled the football four times out of his 674 receptions.

    He is definitely not the greatest receiver in New York Jets history, but Laveraneus Coles definitely made an impact on the gridiron and should be acknowledged for that.

     

    Career Stats: 674 Receptions, 8,609 Yards, 49 Touchdowns

5. Hugh Douglas

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    Hugh Who?  My point exactly.  The former Jets defensive lineman was an athletic beast who has not received much recognition since his days in a green jersey.

    For two years, Douglas was a force to be reckoned with on the defensive line.  The Jets drafted him in 1995, that same year he was named the Defensive Rookie of the Year.

    Career Stats: 80 sacks (22 with the Jets), 1 Interception, 291 Tackles, 69 Tackle Assists

4. Jumbo Elliot

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    Photo courtesy of ESPN.com

    Offensive linemen normally are not considered for these kinds of lists, but Jumbo Elliot has definitely made a huge impact in Jets history, but in Dolphins history, too.

    Elliot is best known for his touchdown against the Miami Dolphins in the Monday Night Miracle at the Meadowlands in 2000. 

    As a way to get back at the Dolphins for the Dan Marino “fake spike” play in 1994, Vinny Testaverde and the Jets threw to their big offensive lineman Jumbo Elliot in the biggest comeback in franchise history.

    The game changed the dynamic of the Dolphins-Jets rivalry.  While this play may have been the highlight of his career and what he is known for, Elliot was a vicious blocker who would create holes for people like Curtis Martin.

     

    Career Stats: 1 Reception, 3 Yards, 1 Touchdown

3. Freeman McNeil

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    Most people forget about this one.  Before Curtis Martin became a member of the New York Jets, Freeman McNeil was running the show, literally.

    Not many people talk about him now, but McNeil was the all-time leader in rushing yards for the Jets when he played in the 1980s.  In 1982, there was a shortened season due to a lockout.  Even though there were only nine regular season games that year, McNeil led the National Football League in rushing yards.

    While Curtis Martin’s shadow hangs over Freeman McNeil’s legacy, he was a great player that deserves to be acknowledged for his accomplishments.

     

    Career Stats: 1,798 Attempts, 8,074 Yards, 38 Touchdowns

2. Mo Lewis

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    A solid and reliable linebacker is what the Jets had in Mo Lewis.  Sure, he’s the reason why Tom Brady became a starter in the National Football League, but Jets fans, try not to think about that.

    Of the 13 seasons Lewis played, he only missed eight of 208 games.  As a member of the Jets, Lewis saw it all, he was part of the team during the rough times and during the good times, no matter what, the Jets could count on him to make tackles and run the defense. 

     

    Career Stats: 705 Tackles, 251 Tackle Assists, 52.5 Sacks, 14 Interceptions

1. Wayne Chrebet

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    Photo courtesy of nydailynews.com

    One of the most influential yet unpublicized players is Wayne Chrebet.  Chrebet became the Jets hometown hero as he went from the small kid from Garfield, N.J., to playing at Hofstra University and then being drafted by the Jets in 1995.

    Chrebet was never the biggest or fastest on the field, but somehow he made it work, which was something everybody around the Jets organization loved. 

    Through physicality and slipping into little corners, Chrebet was able to make great plays.  This was displayed especially on the third downs, because of his ability to create space between him and the opposing team that would allow him to catch the ball, he earned the nickname “Mr. Third Down.”

    Chrebet is possibly one of the best players in franchise history, yet most people other than Jets fans forget about him.

    Career Stats: 580 Receptions, 7,365 Yards, 41 Touchdowns