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Saturday, March 15, 2008

New York Jets By The Numbers: #15

Don Flynn was a defensive back for the New York Titans in 1961. He wore #15. He was responsible for asking Harry Wismer when the paychecks would be coming in.
Dick Jamieson was a backup QB who wore #15 for the Titans from 1960-61. He attended Bradley University and went on to have a coaching career in both the pros (as assistant to the Cardinals) and Head Coach at Indiana State. But most importantly, he is also inducted into the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame.

Here are two photos of Kyle Mackey, one during his time with the Jets, one after. Kyle is Dee Mackey's boy, and both Dee and Kyle played for the East Texas State, so it was no wonder the both played for the Jets, too. Maybe I'm spending too much time looking into the lives of these guys on Wikipedia, but I couldn't resist the entry on former #15 Kyle Mackey, who backed up Ken O'Brien in 1989. It says he is now coaching high school football and "loving every minute of it!" Do you think George W. Bush updates his entry on Wikipedia? "Even though there were no nulcular weapons of mass destruction located in Iraq, it's nice to know that the fresh air of freedom is enjoyed by every Iraqi who values the United States's presence there!" Kyle Mackey also played Arena Football with the Albany Firebirds and the Fort Worth Cavalry. His photo for the latter club is the very definition of the late century mullet. Don't worry, Kyle. I had one, too.



For a brief moment in Super Bowl III, Joe Namath was shaken up and had to come off the field. In a pass effort, his throwing hand had whacked into a Colts' helmet. As he shook his hand back into use, #15 Babe Parilli came in to relieve him, yielding only an incomplete pass. Vito "Babe" Parilli had already had a good career with the Boston Patriots and was now the Sancho Panza to Namath's Quixote. In Namath's autobiography I Can't Wait 'Til Tomorrow Cause I Get Better Looking Every Day, Namath tells of sending otherwise clueless autograph seekers during the 1968 season over to Babe. "That man," Joe would say. "That man there is Joe Namath." Without blinking an eye, they would go to Babe.

Drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles out of Florida State as a wide receiver in the sixth round of the 1996 draft, Phillip Riley #15 is said to have been a part of the Chicago Bears squad that year, but is then said to have played in one game for the New York Jets in the ugliest of Jets seasons, 1996. That's it. One sentence, one pro career. There is record of little else.

But Chuck Ramsey had a long career as the New York Jets punter from 1977-1984, the meat of the Michaels-Walton era. These were the Jets' first sustained years of playing above adequacy. That being said, I remember seeing Chuck Ramsey a LOT. Of all people, it is your punter that you like to see the least. The very sight of your punter always leads to the sense of disappointment, sort of like the sensation you get when you realize that, dammit, you just knew that your husband would forget to pick up the dry cleaning again. You just knew she'd forget that today was your Mom's birthday. Punters get a lot of shit, and it's the offense's fault, not theirs. No wonder that - according to Eskanzi in Gang Green - after a 30-7 trouncing of the Jets during the 1982 season against (who else?) the Seahawks, Walt Michaels launched (sober?) into a diatribe against Chuck Ramsey - an experience that, by his own admission, drove Ramsey to a state of emotional disrepair.

And finally, there is Wallace Wright, special teams player, occasional wide receiver and current holder of jersey #15, which, as you can see, is a number with a limited historical impact on the New York Jets organization over time. According to the Times, he was a walk-on at the University of North Carolina and, naturally, a walk-on at Jets' try-outs. And now here he is. Wright caught six passes this season, two of each came in the crushingly dull season ending home win against the Chiefs. One was on a nifty flea flicker pass from Leon Washington. Every little bit helps, I suppose. Every little bit.

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