Special Teams

Underappreciated players on the team's own "suicide squad."

 
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#30 - Mark Smolinski

Special Teams Captain

Another ex-Baltimore Colt, he was surprised when his friends and family told him Michigan newspapers were predicting a Colts' slaughter of the Jets in the Super Bowl. He told some of them they could "bet the ranch" on the Jets.

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#23 - Bill Rademacher

Special Teamer

After battling since 1965 to earn a place on the Jets roster, he finally showed solid special teams ability and played 16 games there in 1968.

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#56 - Paul Crane

Special Teamer, Long Snapper

Center John Schmitt was excited when the Jets signed Crane to be their long snapper. According to Schmitt, Crane became the best in the league.

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#45 - Earl Christy

Kick Returner, Defensive Back

Unfortunately for Earl, what he's most remembered for is a memorable fumble at the end of the Heidi Game loss to Oakland.

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#85 - Stephen Thompson

Special Teamer, Defensive Lineman

Very few Jets played twice against the Baltimore Colts in 1968 - 69. Steve was one of them, first in a rookie  scrimmage and later in the Orange Bowl.

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#26 - Jim Richards

Special Teamer, Strong Safety

The quiet rookie defensive back who, unlike most of his rookie teammates, survived a season’s worth of reckless play on the Jets’ suicide squads.

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#47 - Mike D'Amato

Special Teamer, Safety

A 27-year old rookie in 1968 who earned his stripes on special teams in his only year as a New York Jet.

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#70 - Karl Henke

Special Teamer, Defensive Line

This rookie defensive tackle played half the 1968 season, mostly on special teams. His Super Bowl ring changed his life.

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#73 - Ray Hayes

Special Teamer, Defensive Tackle

Rookie defensive end, he played nine games during the 1968 season on special teams. He became a favorite of special teams coach Buddy Ryan.

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#63 - John Neidert

Special Teamer

From outhouse to the penthouse in the same season, he started the season with expansion Cincinnati, was waived, picked up by the Jets and shockingly won a Super Bowl ring.

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#43 - John Dockery

Special Teamer

He was playing AA baseball in the Boston Red Sox farm system in the summer of 1968. Released because he couldn't hit, he got a Jets tryout and joined in time for the run to the Super Bowl.