In the first part of our Look Back series we introduced fans to the 1982 New York Jets, whose season ended one game short of the Super Bowl after a strike shortened campaign. NFL labor peace only lasted for the five years of that new deal, because in 1987 another strike occurred with all teams losing one week's worth of games, and was also highlighted by the use of replacement players for three weeks until the strike was settled. That was the start to the 1987 New York Jets season, and the ending wasn't much better.
The New York Jets finished their 1987 season with four straight losses after starting with a 6-5 record that put them out of the playoffs, which was similar to the collapse of the prior year, 1986, when they started 10-1 and lost the final five games, but at least (barely) made the playoffs. Of the three games played with replacement players they only won the final game, over Miami 37-31. What I remember most about that game was that perennial back-up quarterback Patrick Ryan, who was behind Richard Todd and then Ken O'Brien, decided to break through the lines of the strike to play in the game, which helped lead the Jets to victory.
During 1987, the Jets added another player to the Pro Football Hall of Fame when wide receiver Don Maynard was one of the finalists announced in January then subsequently inducted on August 8th. On November 1st the Jets retired his number 13 at halftime of their 19-14 loss to Indianapolis. Another wide receiver would be their only other real highlight of that season when Al Toon made the Pro Bowl following a solid season. Al Toon made 68 receptions for 976 yards, an average of nearly 14.5 yards per catch, with five touchdown receptions as well.
Unfortunately, 1987 was another of the many lean years for the New York Jets in the 1980's. I can say after the promising start in 1987, especially after the initial success in 1986 as well, that I remained hopefully for some wins down the stretch that would propel the Jets into the playoffs once again, but that was not to be. In the next part of our Look Back series we will jump ahead into the 1990's with a look back at the 1992 season.
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