They Saw it All: Don Maynard

SWC75

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DON MAYNARD (born January 25, 1935) 6-0 180 wide receiver
Arguably the two most important pro football games ever played were the 1958 NFL championship game, which created such interest that the AFL was found two years later to help fill it and Super Bowl III after the 1968 season, which showed the AFL had arrived and could now be full partners with the NFL. Five men we a part of both games: Weeb Ewbank, who coached the Colt sin 1958 and the jets in 1968, Johnny Unitas, Lenny Lykes, a defensive back who left the Colts and then came back, Johnny Sample, a D-back who was on the ’58 Colts and the ’68 jets and Don Maynard, the Giant’s kick returner in the 1958 game who became the favorite target of Joe Namath and one of the AFL’s top receiving stars with the Jets.

He’d played collegiate ball at Rice and then Texas Western, (now UTEP), where he displayed his considerable talent and speed: “He caught only 28 passes but averaged an astounding 27.6 yards per reception for 10 touchdowns. As a running back, he had 843 yards rushing on 154 attempts for a 5.4 average and also returned punts and kickoffs. He amassed 2,283 all-purpose yards, while also intercepting 10 passes playing defensive back”. (Wikipedia) he was drafted by the Giants in 1957 and was used as a back-up receiver and special teams player. But they cut him in the 1959 training camp and he spent a year in Canada, catching just a single pass for the Hamilton Tiger-cats.

Sammy Baugh had coached against Maynard in college and made him the first player he signed for the New York Titans in 1960. Like Larry Grantham and Bill Mathis, he was a Titan/Jet for the entire run of the AFL so he saw the lean days of Harry Wismer’s bouncing paychecks and the Golden moment of winning the Super Bowl. He caught 72 passes for 1265 yards and 6 scores in Baugh’s system. Later for Namath, he caught 65 for 1281 and 14 in 1965, 71 for 1434 and 10 in 1967 and in 1973 he was not only the AFL’s all-time pass receiver but pro football’s. “His 18.7 yards per catch is the highest for anyone with at least 600 receptions.” He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1987. I’ll be the Tiger-cats wonder why they didn’t throw to him a little more.



don maynard highlights - YouTube
 
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