He was the best receiver in Jets history, a slim, lightning-fast, humble rustic boy with sideburns and cowboy boots from El Paso, and without him, Joe Namath would have no Super Bowl III guarantee.
Namath and the Jets needed a touchdown against the fierce Oakland Raiders at Shea Stadium in the fourth quarter of the 1968 AFL championship game in Arctic, on a stormy afternoon, and the Hall of Fame quarterback and his Hall of Fame receiver get it. 12 Football Getting to 13, he died at 86 on Monday, when this was most important.
“Don Maynard told me on the sideline that he could take a step in defense,” Namath told NFL Films many years later, “whenever we want.”
The defender was George Atkinson, who made the interception that gave the Raiders the lead. Namat launched the rainbow with the help of the wind and Maynard hit it on his right shoulder for 52 yards. He then hit a game-winning 6-yard TD. As a cheater with a sore hamstring in the Super Bowl III against the Baltimore Colts, he was enough to open things up for everyone.
Before he became the first player to sign with the New York Titans, before the Titans became Jets, Maynard was first a round peg in the square hole with the 1958 Establishment New York Giants. Coach Ally Sherman looked at his long, lapping stride and said, “This is not a track visit.” And Maynard closed his NFL fortune when he returned:
“I can cover a lot more ground with a stride than someone else does here.”
It turned out he was right.
“I don’t really look at it like I’m a big receiver,” he once said. “Someone can break some records after you’ve played for a while. Longevity is important. I’m proud to be the first to get 10,000 yards in receptions. Others can do it. But I’m the first and only one person to be the first.
Martin Gower, a sports agent for Momentum Sports Management, met Maynard at Namath’s old football camp some 20 years ago. He remembers Maynard the same way everyone does, as a kind of character.
“He had all these odd things in the offseason and he sells belts and clothes and shoes to his teammates,” Gower recalled. “He was very affectionate and a true gentleman.
“And Joe loved him, Joe adored him. And he loved Joe. He thought Joe was a good teammate, but a good guy.
Maynard Gower, a true New Yorker, was joking about the city’s slicker. “They would always tell me there was too much traffic. When I hosted shows for them, they didn’t like being in the city,” Gower said.
Gov. Maynard accompanies corporate events, visits and greetings and autograph shows.
“The public loved him, loved him,” Gower said. And he loved his fans. He took 8 × 10 pictures in his gym bag and signed autographs. How many people do this? ”
Maynard was a loner in his later years.
“There were times when I had to hold him when I was working for him. I couldn’t hold him for weeks at a time,” Gower said. “He didn’t have a cell phone. He didn’t have a normal working phone because he lives in a stick. He is a Texas boy. He was not a city man. He was really different.
“I loved him. He always has the best shoes and the best cowboy belt. They always have big belt buckles. And then they had nice cowboy hats.
Maynard was proud of his family. “When he was talking about his parents, he was always crying,” Gower recalled.
Of course Namath was his anchor in Canton.
“Don Maynard, he is the guy that our opponents are worried about knockout,” Namath said. “Lightning in a bottle. Nitro is just waiting to explode. I mean he can fly. But with the grace of a great pirate. The man can play flat. He ran through some of the best footballers in the world.
And they did it their way.
“I came to play,” Maynard said at the end of his speech, “and I came to stay. Football was a game; Country Dawn was my name. Good Lord, thank you for that wonderful opportunity.I have played my role many times even after dark, I don’t have to look back to see that I played it with my heart. I’m glad it’s over, I need some rest. ”
RIP Dan Maynard.