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Don Maynard (1935–2022), legendary New York Jets receiver

by Kirk Fox

Don Maynard was a Hall of Fame receiver for the New York Jets who was a member of the Jets team that upset the Colts to win Super Bowl III.

Hall of Fame career 

Don Maynard was drafted by the New York Giants out of Texas Western College in 1957. He was cut by the Giants after one season and played in the Canadian Football League. In 1960, he was signed by the New York Titans (renamed the Jets in 1963) to play with them in their first season in the AFL. The speedy Maynard became a star receiver in the AFL, elected to the All-Star team four times. When Joe Namath became the Jets quarterback in 1965, the duo was a formidable combination featuring Namath’s’ strong arm and Maynard’s speed. In the AFL championship game against the Raiders, Maynard led the team to a win and a trip to Super Bowl III with 6 catches and two touchdowns. The Jets famously upset the NFL’s Baltimore Colts to win Super Bowl III though Maynard had suffered a hamstring injury the previous game and was used as a decoy. He was the NFL’s all-time leading receiver with 633 catches at the time he retired and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.  

Notable Quote 

“When Namath threw that ball late in the game, it came to me at about 10 o’clock.” “But the wind caught it, and my head was up, looking at the sky, and I turned my whole body around to follow it. The ball went from 10 to 12 o’clock to 2 o’clock, and I kept turning and hung onto it, and I went out of bounds at the 6-yard line.” – Maynard on his clutch catch in the 1968 AFL Championship against Oakland from Pro Football Digest 


Tributes to Don Maynard 

Full Obituary: New York Times

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