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JETS CELEBRATE 40TH ANNIVERSARY

Forty years ago, a five-man syndicate composed of DAVID A. (SONNY) WERBLIN, TOWNSEND B. MARTIN, LEON HESS, DONALD C. LILLIS and PHILLIP H. ISELIN purchased the New York Titans franchise for $1 million. On April 15, 1963, the owners hired WEEB EWBANK as the head coach and general manager and changed the team name to the "Jets."<BR><BR>

For the past four decades, the NEW YORK JETS have been one of the highest profiled organizations in professional sports. Highlighted by their improbable Super Bowl III title, the Jets' tradition is one of big plays and prideful performances. The tradition continues today.

In 2003, the defending AFC East champion Jets will celebrate that tradition by asking fans to vote for the "New York Jets' Four Decades Team (NY-XL)." The names of 56 players, from quarterbacks JOE NAMATH to CHAD PENNINGTON, from running backs FREEMAN MC NEIL to CURTIS MARTIN, and from defensive standouts JOE KLECKO to JOHN ABRAHAM, plus write-in candidates, will appear on the ballots. NY-XL ballots will be available at participating Hess Gas Stations, as well as the Meadowlands for each Jets home game and fans can vote online at http://www.newyorkjets.com. Voting will take place from August 1 through November 23, when the Jets host the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Once the voting ends and the numbers have been tallied, the Jets will bring the NY-XL team back for a weekend celebration, culminating with the introduction of the NY-XL team on Saturday, December 20 when the Jets host the New England Patriots in a nationally televised prime time game on ESPN at 8:30 PM (ET).

In addition to the NY-XL team, the Jets this summer appointed Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Namath as the team's Ambassador-at-Large.

"We're thrilled as an organization to have Joe Namath return to the Jets," says club President JAY CROSS. "Joe is symbolic of our past and will play a key role in our future."

Namath, who earned the nickname "Broadway Joe," enjoyed a stellar 12-year career in New York, highlighted by his MVP performance in the Jets' Super Bowl III upset of the Baltimore Colts, when he guaranteed a victory.

"Four decades of Jets football is absolutely wonderful," says Namath. "I get goose bumps just thinking about it."


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