New sack numbers released for Jets legends Mark Gastineau, Joe Klecko and others

A couple of Jets legends earned a boost in sacks this week.

The statistics website added unofficial sack totals from 1960-1981, courtesy of researchers John Turney and Nick Webster. The duo compiled sack numbers missing from the NFL archives after reading official play-by-plays, coaches’ stat books and watching game film.

Sacks were not recorded by the league until 1982.

These additions affected some of the biggest players in Jets’ history, including three members of the New York Sack Exchange. Mark Gastineau, Joe Klecko and Marty Lyons all saw major increases in their sack totals.

Gastineau now has 107.5 total sacks after 33.5 were added. Klecko is up to 78.0 and Lyons is at 29.0. Gastineau is still the Jets’ all-time sack leader, but he moved up 50 spots on the NFL’s all-time list from 87th to 37th. Klecko became the Jets’ No. 2 leader in sacks and Lyons comes in at No. 10 now.

Even more interesting than the leaderboard changes ks the potential historical significance of Gastineau and Klecko’s magical 1981 season. These new stats reveal the two both tallied at least 20 sacks in one season (Gastineau with 20 and Klecko with 20.5), a lone occurrence in NFL history.

If the NFL recognizes these new numbers as legitimate, it could alter Gastineau and Klecko’s Hall of Fame resume.

The biggest beneficiaries of these changes were Verlon Biggs, Gerry Philbin and John Elliott, who all played before sacks were officially considered a stat and formed a menacing trio in the late 1960s and early 1970s, especially during the Jets’ 1969 Super Bowl run.

Biggs, a three-time Pro Bowl defensive end who played for six seasons from 1965-1970 after being drafted in the third round, now ranks fifth on the Jets’ all-time sack list with 58.5. His 15 sacks in 1967 are the fifth-most in a single-season in team history and he tallied at least 10 sacks over four consecutive seasons from 1966-1970.

Philbin joined the Jets in 1964 as a third-round pick and tallied 65 sacks in nine seasons. He ranks fourth now on the Jets’ all-time sack list and was a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro.

Elliott, a seventh-round pick in 1967, had 38.5 sacks during his seven-year career, all with the Jets. Elliot also made three Pro Bowls and was named to the All-Pro team once.


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