Crash of the Titans

The Early Years of the New York Jets and the AFL, rev. ed.

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About the Book

Before Namath, before the Heidi Game, before the guaranteed Super Bowl victory, there were the New York Titans. Remember the Titans? They played to meager crowds and mediocre results in the decrepit Polo Grounds. The organization, a charter member of the American Football League in 1960, was in constant danger of bankruptcy. After struggling for three seasons, the Titans would finally be assumed by the league. New owners were found, the franchise was renamed the Jets and a new stadium would welcome the team in 1964.
The revised edition of this award-winning book covers the turbulent history and eventual crash landing of the team that would become the New York Jets. The early days of the upstart AFL are also explored, as are the league’s constant feuds with the Titans’ underfunded and overbearing owner, Harry Wismer. Four appendices with team results, rosters and statistics are included.

About the Author(s)

William J. Ryczek is a finance professional from Wallingford, Connecticut, who writes about early baseball, football, the Yankees, and the Mets.

Bibliographic Details

William J. Ryczek
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 330
Bibliographic Info: 20 photos, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4126-6
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5410-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Foreword by Don Maynard      1

Preface to the First Edition      3

Preface to the Revised Edition      5

1. The Show Must Go On      7

2. Oil and Rejection      12

3. Congratulations!      28

4. Slingin’ Sammy      36

5. They’ll Never Find Enough Good Players      49

6. The Game They Played      65

7. The First Training Camp      78

8. We Don’t Tote No Coloreds      95

9. Opening Day      103

10. The Punts      116

11. Tragedy in Houston      127

12. Out of Quarterbacks      135

13. My Kingdom for a New Stadium      153

14. A War at War Memorial      169

15. 7–7 Again      185

16. Harry, Ernie, Joe and the Bulldog      200

17. The Quarterbacks      210

18. East Stroudsburg      221

vii

19. Victory in Oakland, Defeat in San Diego, and Where Is

Samuel Gompers When You Really Need Him?      229

20. Out of Quarterbacks Again      240

21. Crash of the Titans      249

Epilogue—The Team      268

Epilogue—The Players      275

Appendix A: Titans’ Scores      293

Appendix B: Titans’ Rosters      296

Appendix C: Individual Statistics      300

Bibliography      305

Index      307

Book Reviews

First edition award: Winner, Nelson Ross Award—Professional Football Researchers Association
Reviews of the first edition: “filled with anecdotes…the story of an era”—The Coffin Corner.