The Forgotten Superstar: Don Maynard

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Jets wide receiver Don Maynard is not often mentioned in conversations about superstar wide receivers. Amidst modern giants like Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, and Terrell Owens, Maynard’s 24th in all-time receiving yards, 11th in receiving touchdowns, and 54th in receptions seem almost pedestrian. Maynard however, was statistically the greatest receiver in NFL history when he retired.

When Don Maynard retired from professional football in 1973, he held the records for careers receptions, receiving yards, and followed only Don Hutson is career receiving touchdowns. Maynard was the cornerstone of Joe Namath’s Jets offense that set records vastly ahead of it’s time and led to a victory in Superbowl 3.

The most mind-boggling accolade in Maynard’s record-breaking career was that he had been retired for five years when the 1978 NFL season introduced rule changes that paved the way for Dan Marino, Dan Fouts, and the passing offenses of the modern NFL.

A hall-of-famer, AFL All-star, Jets Ring of Honor member, and first player in NFL history to have 10,000 yards receiving, Maynard deserves to be remembered as a precedent for the NFL we know today and one of the most important players to ever catch a pass.

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