A Brief History of the New York Jets

A Brief History of the New York Jets


The New York Jets are most notably known for their iconic “J-E-T-S, Jets! Jets! Jets!” chant. Whether they’re at the stadium or watching the game at the local bar, Jets fans shout their battle cry every chance they get. A majority of the time it’s an exercise in futility, as the franchise hasn’t been all that successful. However, there’s no keeping down a Jets fan, regardless of the score.

Today, we would like to give a brief rundown of the New York Jets organization, pointing out some key moments in the team’s history. We’ll even share a little secret related to the franchise’s original name and why its owner chose their specific mascot.

The Beginning of the New York Jets

The New York Jets franchise was established in 1959 as one of the original members of the American Football League. The team would later join the NFL when the two leagues combined in 1970. They began play in 1960 at the Polo Grounds.

In 1963, team owner Harry Wismer sold the team to a five-man syndicate lead by David Werblin — a prominent entertainment industry executive. The franchise moved to Shea Stadium the following year, and then to the Meadowland Sports Complex in 1984.

The team wasn’t always named the Jets, however. The club was originally founded as the Titans of New York. It wasn’t until Wismer sold the team that the name was changed to the Jets. Wismer chose the founding team name because “Titans are bigger and stronger than Giants” — the name of their interstate rival.

Unfortunately, the team didn’t play like Titans at all through its first eight seasons.

One and Only Super Bowl Appearance

Two years prior to the AFL-NFL merger, the Jets finally made it to the playoffs. In fact, they did more than just make it to the postseason. They won the AFL Eastern Division with an 11–3 record and went on to face the Oakland Raiders in the AFL championship game. They would defeat the Raiders 27-23.

After establishing their dominance of the AFL in their ninth season, the Jets would advance to Super Bowl III to play the NFL champion Baltimore Colts. In a shocking upset, the Jets defeated the heavily-favored Colts 16-7. The franchise became the first AFL team to beat an NFL team in the AFL-NFL World Championship Game.

How the Jets Have Faired Since Their Super Bowl Victory

Since defeating the Colts in Super Bowl III, the Jets have only appeared in the playoffs 13 times. The franchise advanced to the AFC championship game four times, most recently losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2010.

  • They lost to the Miami Dolphins 14-7 in 1982
  • In 1998, the Denver Broncos defeated them 23-10
  • They lost to the Indianapolis Colts 30-17 in 2009

The Jets are one of only three teams that have won their lone Super Bowl appearance, including the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Aside from the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions, who have yet to reach the Super Bowl, the Jets’ drought is the longest among current NFL teams.