The Men Behind the Jets

1964 new york jets owners

Much is said about Joe Namath and his $427,000 rookie contract, and rightfully so.  Namath hit the professional football scene like nothing that had come before him.  Frail knees and all, Namath had the Jets winning soon after his arrival.  But the Jets, formerly the Titans, had begun a complete revamping of the organization two years prior to Namath’s arrival.  The man behind all of the change?  I’m not talking about Weeb Ewbank, although he certainly contributed.  But the leader of the revolution, the man who signed the checks, was new owner, David A. “Sonny” Werblin.  This page from the New York Jets’ 1964 Team Yearbook shows the ownership group that pulled the franchise from the penniless hands of Harry Wismer, who founded the Titans in 1959.

Todd Tobias (790 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.

2 Responses to The Men Behind the Jets

  1. Eddie Arminio says:

    Sonny Werblin’s signing of Joe Namath was the straw that broke the camels back for the old NFL. Sonny knew by keeping fan interest high, the fledging league would survive. Was there a better place to get national ink than NY? No. Big TV rights followed, with the constant resilience of the AFL owners, they endured. Sonny was a big plus for the AFL.

  2. jlreif says:

    Sonny Werblin negotiated the NBC contract which allowed the AFL to compete with the NFL.

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