O'Brien, Ken Ken O'Brien, number seven: O'Brien, the top Jets quarterback other than Joe Namath, passed for 124 touchdowns in his nine-year stint with the team. He also led them to the World Football Championship title in 1969. After leaving the Jets as part of a trade that sent him to New England, O'Brien went on to play eight more seasons and throw for over 10,000 yards more than once. He died at age 49 in Massachusetts.
In addition to being the captain of the championship football team at Boston College, O'Brien was an All-American receiver and return specialist. He finished his BC career with 3,411 total yards from scrimmage (2,397 passing, 924 rushing).
After graduating from BC, O'Brien entered the 1968 NFL Draft. The Jets were looking for someone to replace Joe Namath, who had been traded to the Los Angeles Rams. O'Brien was not expected to be drafted but was picked by the Patriots with the seventh overall pick. He signed with New England later that day.
O'Brien started six games for the Patriots in 1968 and threw for 1,071 yards with five touchdowns vs. three interceptions. But he also lost two fumbles and was seen throwing punches after losses.
Since Joe Namath left following the 1976 season, the Jets haven't enjoyed much quarterback success. They've had 34 different starting quarterbacks since then. That's the most of any NFL team.
Namath is the only quarterback to lead the Jets to a playoff win. In fact, no Jet has ever won a playoff game or been named MVP of the postseason.
Geno Smith is the current starter and expected to be the guy going forward. He was drafted second overall by the Jets in 2014 after being considered one of the top quarterbacks in the draft class. He started 13 games his first year with the team but was injured early in the season and missed the rest of it. He came back for 2015 but was replaced by Ryan Fitzpatrick at some point during the season. Smith finished that season with 3,438 passing yards, 20 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.
Fitzpatrick ended up leading the Jets to the playoffs as a wild card team. He started all four games he played in, completing 70 percent of his passes for 1,715 yards, nine touchdowns, and two interceptions.
The future looks good for Geno Smith but there are still some questions about him.
1969-16-7 Baltimore Colts vs. New York Jets/NFL championships
The New York Jets are a professional American football club headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, that competes in the National Football League (NFL). The Jets defeated the Baltimore Colts in the 1969 Super Bowl thanks to the heroics of future Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath.
Quarterback Joe Namath of the New York Jets dives back to pass during a game against the Buffalo Bills on September 14, 1969, at War Memorial Stadium... At right, New York Jets running back Matt Snell runs the ball against the Baltimore Colts during Super Bowl III at the Orange Bowl on January 12,...
Joe Namath was born on July 4th, 1945, in St. Louis, Missouri. He was a quarterback for the University of Southern California (USC) from 1964 to 1967 and led them to the 1966 National Championship. In February 1968, the Jets selected him with the first overall pick in the NFL draft. He quickly became one of the league's best quarterbacks and helped lead them to victory in three out of four AFL-NFL championship games. In the fourth game of the season, however, he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) while trying to avoid a linebacker and had to have surgery that removed most of his kneecap. The Jets released him after the season but he soon signed with the Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams. However, he never recovered from his injury and was forced to retire before the start of the 1970 season.
Namath finished his career with 3,720 yards passing and 28 touchdowns to only 7 interceptions. He also ran for 612 yards and 9 more scores during his time in Hollywood. After retiring from football, he worked as a color analyst for USC football broadcasts and did publicity for Nike.
Jets quarterback Joe Namath famously appeared to the Miami Touchdown Club three days before the Super Bowl and personally promised his team's win. His team backed up his statements by dominating the game for the most part, taking a 16-0 lead into the fourth quarter thanks to a touchdown run by Matt Snell and three field goals by Jim Turner. The Dolphins managed to cut the deficit down to two points with about five minutes left in the third quarter, but Turner kicked another field goal to put the Jets back up by three points.
In the final period, Miami got on the board when Bob Griese found Mark Duper for a one-yard touchdown pass. But Turner responded again with a 42-yard field goal to keep the score at 17-13 in favor of the Jets. That's when things started getting crazy. In an attempt to seal the deal with just under ten minutes left, Griese threw a second touchdown pass to Duper, this time from 26 yards out. The two-point conversion failed, so the game went into overtime.
In OT, both teams traded punches but couldn't find the end zone, so the game went to a second sudden death period. Once again, the Jets dominated the ball and ran in another touchdown via Snell this time from four yards out to take a 20-13 victory over the heavily favored Dolphins. This is where things get really interesting now.
Since Joe Namath's departure, the New York Jets have only won two AFC East Division championships (1998 and 2002). They went 9-7 in 2003 but were not awarded the division title because of a controversial ruling by the NFL. The Patriots defeated them in Foxboro 26-16 on January 1st of that year. If you deduct that loss from New England's record, then the Jets would have finished with 10-6 and claimed first place.
The 1998 season was also the last time the Jets made the playoffs under Bruce Batch. He started all 16 games at quarterback for New York that year and led them to an 8-8 record. Batch finished his career with 2,373 yards passing with 15 touchdowns against 13 interceptions.
In 2001, the Jets lost their first four games before finishing with eight wins down the stretch. Led by QB Chad Pennington they made it to the playoffs for the first time since 1996. They fell to the Steelers 42-21 in Pittsburgh on December 20th of that year. Center Nick Mangold was named the team's most valuable player after he had nine tackles and one fumble recovery during the postseason run.
After missing the playoffs for three years in a row, the Jets returned in 2005.