The New York Jets are a NFL team in the American Football Conference (AFC). The club, which plays its home games at Giants Stadium located in East Rutherford, N.J, is in the East Division of the AFC.
The Jets were one of eight franchises that composed the upstart American Football League (AFL), a league that rivaled the older NFL. They were founded in 1960 and were first called the Titans under original owner Harry Wismer. The club became the Jets after Sonny Werblin and Leon Hess bought the team between 1963 and 1964. In 1999 after Leon Hess died, Woody Johnson became the owner of the franchise.
The Jets played in the AFL’s East Division from 1960- 1969. When the NFL and AFL merged, the franchise became part of the AFC’s East Division.
During the club’s first three years, they had difficulty attracting fans despite the fact that they fielded a fairly sound team. After Hess and Werblin took over and moved the franchise to Shea Stadium, they hired highly respected NFL coach Weeb Ewbank. Ewbank had guided the Baltimore Colts to NFL Championships in 1958 and 1959.
The major signing for the franchise would be former Alabama quarterback Joe Namath. Namath, who was nicknamed Broadway Joe, was a fine field general, exciting player and media personality who attracted a lot of attention. In 1967, Namath led the Jets to an 8- 5- 1 record, their best up to that time. In that year over the course of a 14-game season, the quarterback passed for 4,007 yards. He was the first professional to ever do that.
In 1969, Joe Namath and the New York Jets changed professional football in America forever. The AFL’s Jets were to meet the NFL’s Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. The NFL had won the first two Super Bowls and the AFL was considered to be an inferior league. A few days before the game, Namath predicted that the New York Jets would defeat the Colts in the big contest. To everyone’s surprise, the Jets did just that, defeating the Colts 16- 7 and making it clear that the AFL was for real.
In his career, Namath passed for 27,663 yards, throwing 173 touchdowns and 220 interceptions. He finished his 13-year career with a rating of 65.5. He was a Pro Bowl player in five seasons and was selected All-Pro three times.
The Jets’ Super Bowl III victory in 1968 is still their only one. They have won conference titles in 1968, 1969, 1998 and 2002.
The New York Jets played at the Polo Ground from 1960 to 1963. They then made Shea Stadium their home from 1964 through 1983. In 1984, Giants Stadium, also known as The Meadowlands, became the club’s home. The team is sometimes called Gang Green. Their present head coach is former New England assistant Eric Mangini.