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On Friday afternoon, the Jets announced their all-time team, as voted by the fans. The team will be recognized in a pregame ceremony before the home game against Dallas on Oct. 13th, as part of the celebrations marking the NFL's 100th season.
In an exercise such as this, it's impossible to please everyone. There have been so many great Jets players that there was bound to be some individuals to miss out, whom many would have considered worthy of a spot.
Two main factors always destined to skew the voting process were longevity and recency bias. In many cases, a player might have played at a high level and had memorable moments, but arguably wasn't a Jet long enough to warrant a spot over a loyal team member that suited up for a decade or more. Also, many younger voters may have voted for someone from their own era when there was a superior Jet at the same position in the past they didn't know about.
To their credit, the organizers limited the candidates so that recent players who were only Jets for a short time but that might have got a lot of votes from young fans - like Kris Jenkins, Alan Faneca or Bart Scott - were not on the ballot. As it turned out, voters selected a wide spread of players representing all eras. The fact that some of the franchise's highest points - the Super Bowl win and the Sack Exchange era - were "back in the day" probably influenced that.
Let's recognize some of the players who were overlooked.
Offensive Tackle Marvin Powell (1977-1985)
It's difficult to dispute the selection of three-time pro bowler D'Brickashaw Ferguson as the team's left tackle. After all, Ferguson was the epitome of reliability and leadership as he famously only missed one snap in his 10-year career.
Powell, however, was an even better player. Unfortunately, younger voters wouldn't have known how good he was, though. Powell was a five-time Pro Bowler and was also named as an All-Pro three times.
Center Kevin Mawae (1998-2005)
Mawae is the snub most of the media have been referencing and it's easy to see why. The recently enshrined Hall of Famer was a six-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro in his eight years as a Jet. The voter's choice was Nick Mangold; himself a multiple time Pro Bowler and arguably the league's best center at one point. With Mangold being such a beloved figure who spent his entire career with the Jets as opposed to Mawae only spending half of his career as a Jet, there's plenty of justification for the fan's pick.
The organizers took some liberties with the format by having four defensive backs instead of two cornerbacks and two safeties, and by naming 12 players on offense, so perhaps they should have just had five offensive line positions and distributed those players accordingly too. If James Hasty can play safety, then Mawae or Mangold can definitely play guard. As it was, one of the guards - Jim Sweeney - played nearly his entire career at center anyway.
Defensive lineman Shaun Ellis (2000-2011)
Jets fans often lament John Abraham's departure, as the team has lacked a consistent edge rushing threat since he was traded prior to the 2006 draft. However, does he deserve a spot ahead of his fellow 2000 draft pick, Ellis?
The Big Katt's Jets career lasted almost twice as long as Abraham's and he proved to be a versatile leader over the course of his career. This is a rare example of a recent performer who was overlooked.
Defensive end Gerry Philbin (1964-1972)
Philbin is another example of a player where younger voters have no idea how good he was. If the sack had been an official statistic back in the '60s, they'd have a better idea, as Philbin reportedly racked up 19 sacks in 14 games in the Jets' Super Bowl winning season.
Linebacker Larry Grantham (1960-1972)
Grantham's resume is head and shoulders above nearly all of the players who made the team. He was a five-time all-AFL selection and five-time Pro Bowler during a 13-year career that saw him lead the Jets to Super Bowl glory. It would also have been fitting to have an original Titans of New York player on the team.
Greg Buttle and Marty Lyons' inclusion on the team ahead of players like Grantham and Philbin perhaps has something to do with their post-career broadcasting contributions. Perhaps there's an argument to say that's something that should be accounted for when assessing everything they've brought to the franchise.
Return specialist Bruce Harper (1977-1984)
Finally, while Leon Washington was a fan favorite, Harper was arguably his era's Wayne Chrebet and his Jets career lasted twice as long as Washington's.