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Thread: Emerson Boozer Talks of Ugly Racial Incident on Jets Team Against Matt Snell in 1967

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    Emerson Boozer Talks of Ugly Racial Incident on Jets Team Against Matt Snell in 1967

    I very much remember the 1967 team and I have read much over the years about the Jets of that era but this is the first time I have ever heard of this incident. Boozer talks how Werblin handled it well. To me he didn't address the issue at all and labeling Snell and Namath as players to be treated differently could have led to much disension. Also, does that mean if the incident happened to a black player other then Snell he wouldn't care?

    January 27, 2010
    Sports of The Times
    Super Bowl Previews Inspired Jets’ Boozer
    By WILLIAM C. RHODEN

    How will the Jets respond to Sunday’s lopsided loss to Indianapolis in the American Football Conference championship game?

    Perhaps they should take a page from Emerson Boozer’s playbook and attend Super Bowl XLIV between the New Orleans Saints and the Colts in Miami Gardens, Fla.

    Players often say they will not attend the big game until they are in it. But Boozer, a star running back for the Jets from 1966 to 1975, attended the first two Super Bowl games and came away inspired.

    Boozer attended the first title game, in 1967 in Los Angeles, when the Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10. The next year, he was on hand in Miami, where Green Bay defeated the Oakland Raiders, 33-14. That game got Boozer’s attention because the Jets had split their season series with the Raiders.

    “You’re sitting there and you’re wondering, will I ever get to this ballgame?” Boozer said.

    The next year, also in Miami, he did. Boozer and the Jets defeated the N.F.L. champions, the Baltimore Colts, on Jan. 12, 1969, the first Super Bowl upset. With Boozer throwing bone-crushing blocks for Matt Snell, the Jets, who were 17-point underdogs, won, 16-7.

    “It was a dream come true because you want center stage,” Boozer said recently. “Athletes are jocks, they enjoy performing for the public. And you wonder if you’ll ever get a chance to play on center stage in this ballgame.

    “The very next year, bingo. There we were.”

    As disappointing as the Jets’ loss to Indianapolis was on Sunday, Boozer said the seeds of a championship were often sown the year before.

    The foundation of the Jets’ Super Bowl season was laid in the 1967 season. The Jets were 8-5-1, and with a core of young veterans led by quarterback Joe Namath, they began to jell. With Snell injured, the Jets turned to Boozer. He responded in the first half of the season with breathtaking performances that included 13 touchdowns in eight games, drawing comparisons to Gale Sayers.

    Down the stretch, the Jets lost three pivotal players, including Boozer, who sustained a career-changing knee injury. He had to reinvent himself going into the 1968 season. With his signature breakaway speed gone, he became a great blocker and specialized in goal-line scoring.



    But the team was in gear. “Our core unit had played at least three to four years together,” Boozer said. “We knew each other and trusted each other.”

    The turning point came as a result of an off-field incident during training camp before the 1967 season. Unresolved racial tensions that had percolated for some time surfaced during an ugly episode at a bar in Peekskill, N.Y., where players congregated after practice.

    Boozer recalled that one of the Jets’ white players got into a dispute with Snell, who is black, over the use of the pool table. “It was a ‘we want you darkies off the pool table’ kind of thing,” Boozer said. “It was from one of your teammates. Not a resident, but a teammate.”

    News of the incident got back to the Jets’ owner, Sonny Werblin. The next morning, Werblin went to the training facility in a chauffeured limousine. He addressed the entire team, including coaches, at the evening meeting.

    Boozer remembers it as if it were yesterday.

    “He says: ‘You know, I’ve got fine thoroughbred horses down at Monmouth Park. When those horses train and do not perform well, should I fire my trainer?’ ” Boozer said.

    “ ‘I’ve got this football club here and I’ve got two stars on this club. I’ve got Namath and Snell. The rest of you can pack your things now if what happens at that bar last night ever happens again.’ ”

    Werblin left the room, got back in his limo and returned to New York.

    Boozer remembers how shaken up the coaches and players were.

    “Werblin cleaned it up instantly,” Boozer said. “There was not another incident. No more spats, no more backstabbing. Things calmed down. After that, we built a good rapport. The club started to jell much better after that; it carried over into the next season.”

    Today, Boozer, 66, lives on Long Island and, among other things, participates in the Project Excel mentoring program at Walt Whitman High School.



    When he walked off the field in 1969, did Boozer think that four decades later the Jets would still be looking to get back to the Super Bowl?

    “I didn’t think beyond that day,” he said. “I was thoroughly exhausted. Later on, the next season, I started thinking about, can we get back there?”

    That’s what these new Jets should be thinking, too: how do we get back to the A.F.C. championship game and beyond?

    Will the new Jets build on a successful 2009 season as the old Jets built on 1967?

    “It takes lots of study, lots of hard work,” Boozer said. “It doesn’t just start come the season; it’s got to start in the off-season. It doesn’t happen just because you’re there. In practice, you got to work on it, you can’t dog it. You’ve got to put your all into it.”

    A few Jets players should plan on attending the Super Bowl on Feb. 7.

    It worked for Emerson Boozer.

    E-mail: wcr@nytimes.com


    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/27/sp...gewanted=print

  2. #2
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    Maynard wasnt a star? Johnny Sample wasnt a star?? Winston Hill wasnt a star??

    cool story none-the-less

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    It was Curley Johnson. I never trusted that guy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FF2 View Post
    It was Curley Johnson. I never trusted that guy.
    You know I was trying to think who it might be and you could be right. Figure it would have to be a veteran and I could be wrong but it probably was a Southerner.

    Johnson was from Texas. Thinking Larry Granthan from Miss. but that really doesn't seem like his personality.

    Anyone else have any other ideas?

    A story about Johnson. In 1968 I was a high school senior and there was a school strike in NYC. The Jets were practicing in Flushing Meadow Park accross the street from my house until the baseball season was over. We went to practice every day and stood on the sidelines with the players. There was little or no security.

    Anyway Pete Lammons was hurt and although Johnson was the punter he was also the backup tight end. Well he was not having a good practice and George Sauer was teasing him like crazy. Johnson did not like it at all.

    Johnson was cut by the Jets after the Super Bowl and actually punted for the Giants that year. There was a lot of anger amongst the Jet veterans at Weeb for that even though Steve O'Neil was a much better punter.
    Last edited by Queens Jet Fan; 01-26-2010 at 10:32 PM.

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    How many guys were teams allowed to have on their rosters back then?? I looked at the 1968 Jets roster and it only lists 31 players. 2 WRs 1 TE 1 RB 1 FB etc. etc.

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    1967 New York Jets

    * Hall of Fame

    Head Coach: *Weeb Ewbank

    To be listed, a player must have played at least one game for the team during this season.

    LB Al Atkinson
    DB/HB Bill Baird
    LB Ralph Baker
    DB Randy Beverly
    DE Verlon Biggs
    RB Emerson Boozer
    DB/HB Solomon Brannan
    DB/RB Earl Christy
    LB/C Paul Crane
    DT/DE John Elliott
    DB Cornell Gordon
    LB Larry Grantham
    DT Jim Harris
    RB Abner Haynes
    G/T Dave Herman
    T Winston Hill
    DB Jim Hudson
    RB Billy Joe
    RB/P/TE Curley Johnson
    DB Henry King
    TE Pete Lammons
    DB Sherman Lewis
    FB Bill Mathis
    C John Matlock
    WR/E/RB * Don Maynard
    DT/LB/DE Carl McAdams
    QB * Joe Namath
    G/T Pete Perreault
    DE Gerry Philbin
    T Sherman Plunkett
    WR/DB Bill Rademacher
    DE/DT Dennis Randall
    G Randy Rasmussen
    T/G/C Jeff Richardson
    DT Paul Rochester
    DB/HB Johnny Sample
    WR/TE George Sauer
    C John Schmitt
    HB/WR Bob Schweickert
    T/C Paul Seiler
    FB/TE Mark Smolinski
    RB Matt Snell
    QB Mike Taliaferro
    WR Bake Turner
    K/QB Jim Turner
    C/LB/T Jim Waskiewicz
    DE/DT Bert Wilder

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    This is the first i've ever heard of Werblin taking this kind of action..If anybody saw the history of the AFL, You'll see the story told by the former AFL Commisioner Foss, who set up a meeting between Harry Wismer and Werblin who wanted to buy the Titans. Wismer made an ati-semitic remark towards Werblin, and said he would never sell the team to him..Werblin right then and there told Wismer "I will own your team in a year", and made good on his promise when he bought them..Doesn't surprise me at all that Werblin would take that kind of action in 67, and made that statement to the team..Thats why i still believe Werblin was the best owner the Jets ever had, and was just as important along with Al Davis to the success of the AFL, Not just Lamar Hunt who gets all the credit..It's also not a surprise that once Werblin was forced to sell the Jets by the other partners, The Jets success was never again regained in the 70's with Namath, and the Jets would never again own the city like they did back then. The Jet teams of 68 and 69 were built by Werblin, who spent the money, and believed in having star players. After 69 the Jet owners became very cheap, and wouldn't spend the money to surround Namath with the great players he needed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2009fatman View Post
    This is the first i've ever heard of Werblin taking this kind of action..If anybody saw the history of the AFL, You'll see the story told by the former AFL Commisioner Foss, who set up a meeting between Harry Wismer and Werblin who wanted to buy the Titans. Wismer made an ati-semitic remark towards Werblin, and said he would never sell the team to him..Werblin right then and there told Wismer "I will own your team in a year", and made good on his promise when he bought them..Doesn't surprise me at all that Werblin would take that kind of action in 67, and made that statement to the team..Thats why i still believe Werblin was the best owner the Jets ever had, and was just as important along with Al Davis to the success of the AFL, Not just Lamar Hunt who gets all the credit..It's also not a surprise that once Werblin was forced to sell the Jets by the other partners, The Jets success was never again regained in the 70's with Namath, and the Jets would never again own the city like they did back then. The Jet teams of 68 and 69 were built by Werblin, who spent the money, and believed in having star players. After 69 the Jet owners became very cheap, and wouldn't spend the money to surround Namath with the great players he needed.
    Very true. The thing about Werblin is that he was a Hollywood publicity man totally into the star system. That worked fine for getting star players but in football you can't get along with stars alone. You need the grunts. This type of talk caused much resentment on the Jet team.

    Do you remember the special on the 68 Jets that was posted online a few weeks ago? Philbin blasted Namath for his work ethics and after Namath blew a game in Buffalo that was supposed to be an easy win Walt Michaels had a sit down with Namath on the plane back and supposedly that changed Namath a lot and brought the team together.

    I wonder if Michaels would have done that if Werblin was still owining the team. Namath was Werblin's baby and had to be handled with kid gloves. Without Werblin there the gloves were off and the Jets won.

    Of course what you said is completely true how the cheapness of the remaining owners doomed the great team that was put together.
    Last edited by Queens Jet Fan; 01-27-2010 at 11:21 AM.

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    Savage I thought that you would chip in here. I know you're lurking. Who do you think it was?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Queens Jet Fan View Post
    Savage I thought that you would chip in here. I know you're lurking. Who do you think it was?
    Savage would probably blame it on CuMar.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PatsFanTX View Post
    Savage would probably blame it on CuMar.
    That's actually pretty funny

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    The white player was Larry Grantham.I don't post a lot but figured I'd throw my two cents in here because I've heard this story before.
    Back in the early eighties I worked in a deli in Mt. Kisco while going to school and this guy who was friends with the owner used to come in every morning for about an hour to hang out before he started work down the street.
    Turns out the guy-who was about 45-50 at the time was a big Jet fan and lived in Peekskill when the Jets trained there.He had quite a few stories about meeting the players in bars.Most of them were funny,like Curly Johnson barfing all over a table and then passing out head first in it.
    He also told this story . Seems Snell was playing pool with Verlon Biggs while Grantham and Gerry Philben were waiting for the table.
    Snell and Biggs finished their game and were racking up again when Grantham started b*tching that it was his turn on the table.Snell said something back and that's when Grantham used the N word-he didn't say darkies.
    Snell went nuts and went after Grantham but Biggs was in between them and grabbed Snell.Philbin pulled Grantham away and that was it.
    Grantham later admitted that he was a bigot at that time.But he changed,became great friends with Biggs and was a pall-bearer at his funeral.

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    Thanks so much Rich for clarifying that. I knew that there were several articles lately about Grantham and what a great guy he is and just didn't think it was his personality. Obviously growing up in Mississippi during segregation molded his personality back then. Nice to hear about him confess it and change.

    I think the combatants were pretty well matched in that Biggs was probably the strongest guy on the team and the only guy who could have held back Snell and Philbin was about the right size for Grantham. Grantham although he was a LB hardly weighed 200lbs. I would have imagined that Snell could have destroyed him. It must have been quite surprising for Snell, who grew up on LI and went to Ohio St. to have the N word used to his face.

    Do you have any other stories to share with us Rich?

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    Mostly just general stuff . Like Maynard was one cheap SOB. He would never pay for drinks. He'd hang out for a while as long as someone else would buy. Then when he figured it was his time to buy a round he would take off. The other players would joke and laugh about it after he left.
    He also said Namath tried to teach his son how to play pool once(don't know how his son was in a bar). Said Joe was a great guy and his son was in awe.
    Boozer was a great guy -Snell was not approachable,always seemed to have a scowl on his face.
    Curley Johnson was the life of the party,always laughing and telling jokes.
    He had a bunch of stories but that's about all I remember after 28 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Miano View Post
    Mostly just general stuff . Like Maynard was one cheap SOB. He would never pay for drinks. He'd hang out for a while as long as someone else would buy. Then when he figured it was his time to buy a round he would take off. The other players would joke and laugh about it after he left.
    He also said Namath tried to teach his son how to play pool once(don't know how his son was in a bar). Said Joe was a great guy and his son was in awe.
    Boozer was a great guy -Snell was not approachable,always seemed to have a scowl on his face.
    Curley Johnson was the life of the party,always laughing and telling jokes.
    He had a bunch of stories but that's about all I remember after 28 years.
    Thanks for posting Rich. Not surprised about Maynard. Maynard was a Giant castoff who was cut after muffing a punt in the classic championship game against the Colts. He lingered for many years and joined the Titans and never really enjoyed big pay days. Doesn't excuse his cheapness though at all.


    Snell was the one Jet who seemed to resent the most the special treatment that Namath got. Even after he retired he wanted nothing to do with the Jets. Snell arrived one year before Namath and he was the big man on campus as the rookie of the year and a player that the Jets outbid the Giants (who wanted to make in a LBer) for. When Namath arrived the whole personality of the team changed and Snell didn't like that. I'm sure the pool table incident didn't help either.

    Boozer is someone who I'm very surprised didn't have a career as a broadcaster. He is very articulate. I heard him a few times do LI high school games, and Hofstra football and he was very good. Is really a shame. He is definately much better then Buttle. I wish that 1050 would hire him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Miano View Post
    The white player was Larry Grantham.I don't post a lot but figured I'd throw my two cents in here because I've heard this story before.
    Back in the early eighties I worked in a deli in Mt. Kisco while going to school and this guy who was friends with the owner used to come in every morning for about an hour to hang out before he started work down the street.
    Turns out the guy-who was about 45-50 at the time was a big Jet fan and lived in Peekskill when the Jets trained there.He had quite a few stories about meeting the players in bars.Most of them were funny,like Curly Johnson barfing all over a table and then passing out head first in it.
    He also told this story . Seems Snell was playing pool with Verlon Biggs while Grantham and Gerry Philben were waiting for the table.
    Snell and Biggs finished their game and were racking up again when Grantham started b*tching that it was his turn on the table.Snell said something back and that's when Grantham used the N word-he didn't say darkies.
    Snell went nuts and went after Grantham but Biggs was in between them and grabbed Snell.Philbin pulled Grantham away and that was it.
    Grantham later admitted that he was a bigot at that time.But he changed,became great friends with Biggs and was a pall-bearer at his funeral.
    good info...what deli?? I live in Mount Kisco....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Come Back to NY View Post
    good info...what deli?? I live in Mount Kisco....
    Names probably changed by now. It was called Towne Deli back then. The guy who told me the stories worked in an appliance store called Bercetti's.
    Used to be a bar called Flynn's accross the street

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Miano View Post
    Names probably changed by now. It was called Towne Deli back then. The guy who told me the stories worked in an appliance store called Bercetti's.
    Used to be a bar called Flynn's accross the street
    gotta ask my wife- she's lived in Mount Kisco all her life...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Queens Jet Fan View Post

    Boozer is someone who I'm very surprised didn't have a career as a broadcaster. He is very articulate. I heard him a few times do LI high school games, and Hofstra football and he was very good. Is really a shame. He is definately much better then Buttle. I wish that 1050 would hire him.
    Boozer did have a career broadcasting NFL games. He worked for CBS doing NFC games back around 76 or 77 after he retired. Only reason i remember was because i watched him do a few Giant games. I believe he only lasted for 2 years if that. Very true though, Boozer was pretty good at it, and is very articulate..Same for Wesley Walker, Freeman McNeil, Dave Herman, and Randy Rasmussen..All of whom imo would be better then Buttle.

    Boozer also roasted Joe Namath on the Dean Martin Celebrity Roast..He did a great job with that if anybody remembers.
    Last edited by 2009fatman; 01-29-2010 at 12:16 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Come Back to NY View Post
    gotta ask my wife- she's lived in Mount Kisco all her life...
    It was right on main st. In that group of stores before you'd make the left at the light for rt. 118 toward Katonah

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