New York Jets
Jets - 1963
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