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When the New York Titans became the New York Jets

Namath AP

Fifty-one years ago Tuesday, the New York Titans scrapped their old name and unveiled a new one: the Jets.

Club president / CEO Sonny Werblin made the call, with the positioning of home field Shea Stadium between Idlewild Airport and LaGuardia Airport one key element in the decision, according to the club. For the 1963 season, the Jets had an airplane emblazoned on their helmets before changing the look the next year.

And that wasn’t all for key franchise decisions made on April 15, 1963. The Jets hired their only Super Bowl-winning coach in their history, tabbing ex-Colts coach Weeb Ewbank as head coach and G.M.

About Ewbank: he led Baltimore to two NFL titles (1958, 1959), but he was replaced by Don Shula after a 7-7 season in 1962. However, Ewbank’s Jets would later get the best of Shula’s Colts in Super Bowl III, with the Jets pulling off a historic 16-7 upset in 1969.

Finally, about the “Jets” nickname: it has aged well, given air travel’s great importance. Moreover, the “J-E-T-S” chant does have a certain ring to it. Finally, is also the NFL’s shortest moniker — four characters, a distinction it shares with the Rams.

So if nothing else, the Jets are one of the NFL’s most Twitter-friendly teams.

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20 Responses to “When the New York Titans became the New York Jets”
  1. greymares says: Apr 15, 2014 11:53 AM

    Scrapped their old name and unveiled another one see Washington it’s not that hard.

  2. Go-Hawks! says: Apr 15, 2014 11:53 AM

    Finally, Mike Wilkening. Finally. So if nothing else, finally.

  3. terrier92 says: Apr 15, 2014 11:57 AM

    Not a Jets fan however their Superbowl win in 1969 was the biggest Superbowl moment. Cannot understand why it is rated so low on all the NFL network documentaries . That was a huge win and a game changer for NFL

  4. micknangold says: Apr 15, 2014 12:05 PM

    If the Jets never changed their name from the Titans, I wonder if the Oilers would have kept their name when they moved to Tennessee?

  5. pisano says: Apr 15, 2014 12:05 PM

    I totally agree, the Jets put the AFL on the map.

  6. patsbrat says: Apr 15, 2014 12:14 PM

    Cool. I like this kind of ‘history of the game’ pieces.

  7. kd75 says: Apr 15, 2014 12:24 PM

    7 train to Willetts Point/Shea Stadium…

  8. trollhammer20 says: Apr 15, 2014 12:25 PM

    And thus the acronym for “Just End The Season” entered the NFL.

  9. justintuckrule says: Apr 15, 2014 12:25 PM

    They should change their name again and move on from the sordid mess that’s happened between 1969 and now.

  10. xsorethumbx says: Apr 15, 2014 12:43 PM

    I thought Rex won them a few Super Bowls already. just ask him

  11. jpherling says: Apr 15, 2014 1:27 PM

    Weeb brought in several of his Colts players to bolster his Jets roster in 1963.

  12. tellthetruth1313 says: Apr 15, 2014 1:40 PM

    And 51 years later they are still irrelevant.

  13. gofor2with3pointlead says: Apr 15, 2014 2:22 PM

    I always liked the “Gangrene” nickname for all the years they defied physics and sucked and blew at the same time.

  14. DitkasHair says: Apr 15, 2014 2:41 PM

    Only one Championship seems odd considering all the consternation that goes on about them….

  15. seaeagle707 says: Apr 15, 2014 4:53 PM

    While the story about the airports is interesting, I believe there’s more to it than that. Leon Hess bought the Titans, whose unis I believe were grey and red/or blue. Hess was the Chairman of Amerada Hess Corp., a major East Coast refiner of heating oil and “jet fuel”. I believe the name change was to celebrate the business interests. Hess also changed the unis to green and white, the color of his ships and trucks. When Hess, entered the retail gasoline marketing business around the same time, the gas stations were all white, with green trim and graphics. Not long after I worked for a sub-contractor that counted Hess as a major client.

  16. kev86 says: Apr 15, 2014 7:37 PM

    The Jets have four AFC East titles. Wow that’s bad. Happy Anniversary.

  17. keepyerstickontheice says: Apr 15, 2014 7:45 PM

    Great article, we need more stories like this about Jersey B.

  18. zeke2517 says: Apr 15, 2014 7:49 PM

    “I thought Rex won them a few Super Bowls already. just ask him”

    You obviously haven’t actually listened to Rex Ryan.

  19. capitaosuecia says: Apr 15, 2014 9:02 PM

    Oh my god please antecipate the draft again!

  20. michaele11111 says: Apr 16, 2014 1:57 PM

    I know I am showing my age, but I can joyfully remember my Dad taking me to the Titans training camp right before they became the Jets. He bought Jets seats when they signed Namath and my brother and I still have them. What scares me is the idea they could make me wait longer than the Red Sox made their fans wait.

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