New York Jets

Jets - 1963
(Authentic Reproduction)


In 1963 the financially failing New York Titans of the infant American Football League were purchased for $1,000,000 by a dynamic talent agent (entertainment) named David "Sonny" Werblin. Born with a gift for flair Sonny immediately updated the team's uniform design and nickname. Harry Wismer, who purchased the original AFL New York franchise, had initially named the team the "Titans." He chose this name with the rationale that a titan was larger than a giant and his new team would have to compete for the spectator dollar with the well established New York Giants of the rival NFL. Sonny changed the name to "Jets" because it suggested a more contemporary image than "Titans" and that it also rhymed with the Mets who were an immensely popular 1962 expansion baseball team in National League. Sonny spent smart money and got rid of the worn and dated Titan uniforms (The Titans were still using the "dinosaur era" geodetic shaped Macgregor helmets). The Jets started operations in 1963 with all new Riddell helmets and fancy uniforms trimmed in green -- Sonny's favorite color and the prominent color in his wallet!
The stylistic 1963 first year Jet helmet pictured here was symbolic of the many positive changes made by Sonny Werblin. As a result of these changes the image of an exciting, colorful and dynamic new football team was properly conveyed to the "high brow" (well some were "high brow") New York audience who viewed such extravagance as a normal expectation. 
The same font style "Jets" moniker printed on the side of the jet's fuselage for the 1963 helmet logo has been retained for all subsequent years helmet logo style variations. The helmet's center green stripe was replaced by two green flanking stripes in 1964. The jet profile logo was replaced by a football shaped oval in 1964 (perhaps Sonny had to sell the jet to accumulate enough money to sign "Broadway Joe" in 1965). The authentic reproduction combines a Riddell "BD-9" two bar plastic face mask with a "BN-2" plastic coated steel U bar to reflect the choice of many of the outstanding 1960s era Jet players including their AFL All Star linebacker Larry Grantham.  This great helmet style reflected the Jet's accession to the top of the professional football in the late 1960s. It would be very hard to imagine OLE Joe running off the field after Super Bowl lll waving his finger to symbolize "We are number one!" while wearing a geodetic shaped Macgregor helmet.