(Original Caption) 8/17/1969-New Haven, CT-Jets' quarterback Joe Namath (#12) hands off to Bill Mathis during the first quarter of action at Yale Bowl. The Jets demolished the Giants 37-14.
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The New York Jets/Titans’ first great player, Bill Mathis, has passed away at the age of 81. He was a member of the 1968 Super Bowl team. 

Bill Mathis, the New York Jets‘ first great player, has passed away at the age of 81.

Mathis, who was born in Rocky Mount, NC, was drafted in the eighth round of the 1960 NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers, but opted to begin his professional career with the newly-formed New York Titans of the AFL.

In 1961, he earned first-team All-AFL honors by rushing for 846 yards and seven touchdowns on 202 carries (4.2 yards per carry, 14 games). The fullback followed that impressive outing up two years later with an AFL All-Star appearance in 1963.

Toughness was one of Mathis’s greatest qualities, and it was often displayed throughout his career. Despite losing his starting job in 1966, when Emerson Boozer joined the club, Mathis remained with the team as a glue guy, pitching in on offense when required.

It ultimately paid off. Mathis was a member of the Jets’ only Super Bowl championship team (1968). He is just one of four Titans to remain with the Jets through their Super Bowl triumph.

Unfortunately, one of several men to play the entirety of the AFL’s 10 years of existence suffered from Alzheimer’s and CTE. Mathis was sick for a long time, as it was publicly known what he faced on a daily basis.

In 2012, Mathis sued the NFL with a claim that the league had deceived players about head injuries.

Mathis tallied 3,589 yards and 37 touchdowns on a 3.4 yards per carry mark over 10 years with the organization. He also caught 149 balls for 1,775 yards and nine touchdowns.

Bill Mathis ranks ninth on the New York Jets’ all-time rushing list.

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Robby Sabo is a co-founder, developer and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor | Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet and Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. Founder: Elite Sports NY - ESNY (sold in 2020). SEO: XLM Email: robby.sabo[at]jetsxfactor.com
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Jbones72
3 years ago

The Jets don’t do enough to honor their AFL history. They and all the original AFL teams should wear a patch like the Chiefs.

Dark Demonik
Dark Demonik
3 years ago

RIP