Here's to you, Joe Klecko

Credits: Victoria L. Dammer

As the summer sun roasts the Jersey shore, and the 4th of July week comes to an end, there's little New York Jets football news until training camp begins Friday, July 28th.

This is the perfect time of the year to stroll down memory lane for long-time New York Jets fans and also a good time to fill in younger fans with stories of New York Jets superstars.

Eric Allen, Senior reporter for the New York Jets, recently wrote a series of articles about Joe Klecko on the New York Jets website. For some of you who don't subscribe to the site, I'll cover one of the New York Jets Ring of Honor's most esteemed members.

Sign Up for E-News

Joe Klecko was born in Chester, Pa. in 1953, and played football for St. James Catholic High School for Boys. Klecko played semi-pro football, under Hall of Fame Coach Wayne Hardin, for the Seaboard Football League. He then went on to play at Temple University. He led his team in tackles season 74-76 and received All-American mention junior and senior year. He was voted rookie of the year on October 27, 1973, after a blow-out win against Delaware, racking up 5 sacks and 15 tackles.

Joe Klecko was drafted in the 6th round (144th overall) in the 1977 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. 1977 was the third consecutive 3-11 season for the New York Jets, which prompted a lawsuit against the stadium contract due to schedule entanglements with the New York Mets, who also played at Shea Stadium. The contract had forced the New York Jets to open their seasons with several away games, putting a major strain on the team. The New York Jets won their litigation and were finally allowed to play at home in September.

With the football stars aligning properly, Joe Klecko teamed up with Abdul Salaam, Marty Lyons and Mark Gastineau to form one of the top defensive lines in the NFL. Dubbed the "New York Sack Exchange," the four players racked up 66 sacks combined in 1981 and lead the New York Jets to their first playoff game since 1969.

The New York Jets made it to the 1982 playoffs again, despite Klecko rupturing his patella tendon in his right knee in game 2 against the New England Patriots. He played in two playoff victories against the Oakland Raiders and the Cincinnati Bengals.

In 1983 and 1984, Klecko was named to the Pro-Bowl as Defensive Tackle. In 1985, he played Nose Tackle and led the New York Jets with 96 tackles and 5 forced fumbles. He became the second player, after Frank Gifford, to be selected to the Pro-Bowl at 3 different positions.

All of these phenomenal statistics, nominated to the Pro Football Hall of Fame several times, and his name has never been picked. As the years have gone by to be selected in what is known as the "Modern Era" inductees, he has now missed the benchmark. Competition to be selected is now much harder for Senior candidates.

The New York Jets did not forget Joe Klecko, retiring his #73 on December 26, 2004. He becomes only the 3rd New York Jet to hold this honor, along with Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath and Hall of Fame wide receiver Don Maynard.

On August 16, 2010, Joe Klecko was also inducted into the New York Jets Ring of Honor, a member of the very first group selected.

Why has Joe Klecko been overlooked by the Selection Committee for the Hall of Fame. New York Jets fans, it doesn't hurt to make some noise to the media, and give Joe Klecko the place of honor he deserves in Canton.

Victoria L. Dammer, a native of Florham Park N.J., is a dedicated, active Jets fan and season ticket holder. She never misses a chance to cheer for Gang Green. Follow Victoria on Twitter @JetsFanChatter or email her at

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

East Hanover/Florham Park

Important Message for Florham Park Residents Regarding the Fourth of July

Important July 4th Celebration Reminder - Please be advised in the interest of safety and security, the entire parade route will be CLOSED TO ALL TRAFFIC beginning at 8:30am on July 4, 2018. This will impact residents who live along the parade route and all of the side streets that connect to the parade route. (Please see the map attached to this post)

Please ensure that you plan accordingly ...

DevCo is building a new version of Rutgers "The Yard." You may be surprised to see where.

June 8, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK - In 2016, Rutgers University proudly opened “The Yard,” a student housing and retail complex along College Avenue built under the direction of the New Brunswick Development Corp.

Now the corporation, the non-profit development arm for the City of New Brunswick and commonly known as DevCo, is replicating the housing and commercial construction more than two hours ...

Shore Travel Idea - Visit the Debut of Belmar Arts’ Sculpture Garden and Labyrinth - June 2

BELMAR, NJ — Need an excuse to visit Belmar this weekend?  Curious about the eclectic collection of sculpture and other objects that occupies a small corner outside the Belmar Arts Center on River Road?  Why not solve both needs at once?

The public is invited to learn more about the Belmar Arts Sculpture Garden and Labyrinth during its official opening on Saturday, June 2 ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 16

Summer is in the air, and the latest episode of AtlantiCast is ready to help you enjoy some fun outdoors while staying safe! This week’s episode opens with tips for sunscreen usage from Atlantic Health System’s Chief Medical and Academic Officer, Dr. Jan Schwarz-Miller. You’ll also learn about how Atlantic Health System is advancing the future of health care through ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, June 22, 8:00 PM

Education Center, West Orange

Night Moves: Evening Guided Zoo Tours

Education Other

Sun, June 24, 11:00 AM

Mountain Lakes

Art at the Esplanade

Arts & Entertainment


Sun, June 24, 11:00 AM


MakerFest 2018

Thirty Days after the Draft

It’s been just about thirty days since the 2018 NFL Draft and the New York Jets have been working hard to build the team fans have been waiting for. Let’s recap the first round draft pick before discussing OTA’s and other Jets info.

Some New York Jets fans were certain earlier in the 2017 season that with the way the win-losses were going, Sam Darnold would be the New York ...

1896 Miles Away But Hanover Park Stands with Sante Fe

June 16, 2018

EAST HANOVER, N.J.- After the awful events at Santa Fe High School last month, students at Hanover Park organized support. Under the supervision of Kim Lurz, and staff assistance, the students created a banner and put together giftbags for the victims of the attack. Recently students from Santa Fe High were featured on the  TODAY show and brought along the banner. 

Hornets ...


Beverly Jean (Charlton) Weimar, of Ship Bottom, and Florham Park, New Jersey passed away on March ...
Read more

Students at the F.M. Kirby Children’s Center of the Madison Area YMCA Release Butterflies  

June 15, 2018

Students at the F.M. Kirby Children’s Center of the Madison Area YMCA learned all about the life cycle of butterflies from their start as tiny caterpillars until they emerged from their chrysalises as beautiful butterflies. They watched in awe as the butterflies were released into their natural habitat. 

The F.M. Kirby Children’s Center of the Madison Area YMCA ...