The history of the New York Jets began in 1960 with the beginning of the American Football League (AFL). The Jets were known as the New York Titans for their first three seasons of existence. After three unsuccessful seasons pledged by financial difficulties, Jets owner Harry Wismer was forced to sell the team. The new owners have the New York franchise renamed the team “the Jets” in 1964. In the beginning of 1965 the Jets signed quarterback Joe Namath to the highest paying contract in pro football history at the time. However, Joe Namath had suffered a serious knee injury in college and it was unclear just how long his career in football would last. The New York Jets’ risk paid dividends quickly as the team began to improve with the help of “Broadway” Joe. In 1967 the Jets clinched their first winning record in franchise history and in 1968 won their first AFL Championship. As league champions the New York Jets represented the AFL in Super Bowl III against the Baltimore Colts of the NFL. Despite the fact that the Jets were heavy underdogs, Joe Namath guaranteed that the Jets would be victorious. At the time it was believed that the AFL was inferior to the NFL, but the Jets changed that belief in Super Bowl III. Joe Namath led the Jets to a 16-7 victory over the heavily favored Colts and was named Super Bowl MVP. The Jets upset victory is Super Bowl III contributed to NFL-AFL merger in 1970 and remains the New York Jets’ only championship in team history. Joe Namath’s body began to break down in the 1970’s and the Jet made the playoffs just once between 1970 and 1976. Joe Namath’s career with the Jets ended after the 1976 season.
Richard Todd took over as the Jets starting quarterback in 1977, but the Jets did not make the playoff again until 1981. Richard Todd and the “New York Sack Exchange” a nickname for the Jets defensive line, were unable to return the Jets to the glory of 1968. In 1982 the Jets advanced to the AFC Championship game against the Miami Dolphins , the game known as the Mud Bowl. Richard Todd threw five interceptions and the Jets lost 14-0. The Jets decided it was time to move on from Richard Todd and draft a quarterback in the 1983 NFL. The Jets used their first round pick on Ken O'Brien and passed on Dan Marino, who was eventually drafted by the Miami Dolphins. In 1986 the Jets appeared to be heading to the AFC Championship when they had a 20-10 lead over the Cleveland Browns late in the fourth quarter. However, Jets defensive lineman Mark Gastineau was called for roughing the passer. The penalty gave the Browns a new set of down and they managed to beat the Jets in overtime. This was the leas playoff game the Jets played during the 1980’s.
The early 1990’s were not kind to the New York Jets. Perhaps the most painful moment in New York Jets history occurred in 1994 in a game against the Miami Dolphins. Dan Marino had rallied his team back from a 24-6 deficit to being down by just three in the final minutes. Marino got the Dolphins to the Jets eight yard line and it appeared that the Dolphins were going to spike the ball to stop the clock. However, Marino faked the spike and threw the winning touchdown pass to Mark Ingram. The Jets lost the game and the last four games of the 1994 season. The fade spike hang over lasted two more seasons as the Jets went 3-13 in 1995 and 1-15 in 1996 under head coach Rich Kotite. In 1997 the Jets hired Bill Parcels, a coach known for turning bad teams around, as their head coach. Parcels managed a nine win season for the Jets just one year after going 1-15. In 1998 the Jets were 12-4 and had a 10-0 lead in the AFC Championship game against the defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos. However, the Broncos came back and won 23-10. Parcels resigned after the 1999 season and Bill Belichick was hired as his replacement. However, Belichick resigned two days later and became the head coach of the New England Patriots. In the early 2000s, the Jets were inconsistent. Between 2000 and 2008 the Jets changed head coaches three times and were not able to get consistent play from the quarterback position. In 2009 the Jets hired current Head Coach Rex Ryan. Ryan’s Jets advanced to the AFC Championship game in his first two seasons. However, each time his team was defeated and in 2011 the Jets missed the playoffs.