Don Maynard

Class of 1987

Receiving yards








Yards per catch


"I don’t really look at it like I’m the greatest receiver. After you play awhile anybody can break certain records. Longevity is the key. The record I’m proudest of is being the first guy to get 10,000 yards in receptions. Others may do it but I’m the first and only one guy can be the first.”

Enshrinement Speech

Career Highlights

Don Maynard took an odd road to stardom. It began with four productive years at tiny Texas Western College, where he was a two-time All-Border Conference halfback and track star. He was a future draft pick of the New York Giants in 1957, but played only the 1958 season with the team before moving to Hamilton in the Canadian Football League In 1959.

A year later, he became the first player to sign with the new American Football League’s New York Titans, a team that would later change its name to the Jets. The young New York team struggled for several seasons before they attained any level of respect.

Maynard, who was never known as a precise pattern runner, often had to “improvise” as one of his team’s constantly rotating crop of quarterbacks scrambled for his life. In 1965 quarterback Joe Namath arrived on the scene and the resulting chemistry that developed between the two proved to be the perfect mix.

While Maynard was a frequent standout for the Jets, he had his biggest day in the 1968 AFL Championship Game that preceded the Jets' stunning upset of Baltimore in Super Bowl III. In New York's 27-23 victory over Oakland, Maynard caught six passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns. His 14-yard grab in the first period gave the Jets the lead and his six-yard catch in the fourth period proved to be the game winner.

Although he never led the league in receiving any one season, at the time of his retirement following the 1973 season, Maynard was one of only five players to record more than 50 receptions and more than 1,000 receiving yards in five different seasons. A four-time AFL All-Star, his 633 career catches for 11,834 yards were both pro records at the time.


Pro Football Hall of Famer Dick Butkus passed away early Thursday at his home in California at the age of 80.He Made His Catches Count - Don Maynard: 1935-2022


Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Maynard died Jan. 10, 2022, at the age of 86. 

Hall of Fame President Jim Porter called Maynard “a resilient man on and off the field – and someone that his teammates could always count on. He was humble, and perhaps the best way to remember Don is through his own words – from his Enshrinement speech:”

‘I came to play, and I came to stay. Football was a game; Country Don was my name. I made a mark, and I became a star, with a lot of help from near and far. There are good ones and great ones, I played with and against. Thank you, good Lord, for that wonderful chance. As I played my part many times even late after dark, I don't have to look back as I played it with my heart. The direction from where I came, resulted in a whole lot of fame. I played the best and I believe I passed the test. I am glad this is over; I need some rest.’

Read the full tribute article and watch a video honoring Maynard here.

1958 New York
1960 New York (A.F.L.)
1961 New York (A.F.L.)
1962 New York (A.F.L.)
1963 New York (A.F.L.)
1964 New York (A.F.L.)
1965 New York (A.F.L.)
1966 New York (A.F.L.)
1967 New York (A.F.L.)
1968 New York (A.F.L.)
1969 New York (A.F.L.)
1970 New York Jets
1971 New York Jets
1972 New York Jets
1973 St. Louis
Career Total
Additional Career Statistics: Rushing: 24-70; 2 Point Conversions: 2; Punt Returns: 26-132; Kickoff Returns: 14-343

Full Name: Donald Rogers Maynard

Birthdate: Jan. 25, 1935

Birthplace: Crosbyton, Texas

Died: Jan. 10, 2022

High School: Colorado (Colorado City, Texas)

Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame: Aug. 8, 1987

Other Members of Class of 1987: Larry CsonkaLen DawsonJoe GreeneJohn Henry JohnsonJim LangerGene Upshaw

Pro Career: 15 seasons, 186 games

Drafted: Ninth round (109th overall) in 1957 by New York Giants

Uniform Number: 13

Don Maynard Enshrinement Speech 1987

Presenter: Joe Namath

Thank you. Good morning ladies and gentlemen and youngsters out there too. The gentlemen I am about to present to you is from Texas ... the old Texas flash. Don Maynard went to West Texas State actually Texas El Paso and after finishing college he was drafted by the NY Giants in 1958. Now Don will tell you, he was the first one to make cowboy boots and sideburns fashionable in New York. However, not everyone in New York liked cowboy boots and sideburns especially with the Giants. You see they weren't too keen on those things. It seems silly now but back in 1959 many football people felt that was the reason the Giants allowed Don Maynard to leave their camp and go on up to Canada for one year. Well after spending one year in Canadian football, Don came back. He was the very first draft choice of the NY entry into the American Football League, Harry Wismere's NY Titans. Don was the very first player signed by the NY Titans. Now Don was a great player. He made many of his teammates better football players and Don worked with 25 different quarterbacks throughout his career and he made most of us better football players.

I will tell you about two games about four plays that stands out in my mind. We happened to be playing on the same football team, a very good football team, they still are to this day. They were a tough rival of ours even though they were all the way out in California, the Oakland Raiders... nice bunch of guys ... you know what I mean. Very tough football team. Well, we were backed up on our own l yard line, our own yard line… but Don had this wonderful knack of being able to go after the football, being able to leap at it and get it at its highest point. Even though we were on our own yard line, I called a goal pattern, decided to go ahead and throw the bomb. Well, I did, I just laid it out there with all the confidence in the world for Don being able to come down with the football. Well, he did for 51-yard gain just like that. He came back to the huddle I said “Hey, Don how you feeling?” He said, “shoot Joe I’m just fine,” That’s the way he talks you see. I said, you think you can do it again. He said “hey, you go ahead and lay it on out there, I’ll go get it.” Well he was right. Here we are on the 49-yard line, called the same play another goal pattern to Don. I just threw it up in the air, he made the judgement went up after it and stepped into the end zone for a touchdown. Two plays 99 yards, neither one of the passes were good, he made the plays.

A little while later we were playing for the AFL championship against the very good Oakland Raiders team. We had just fallen behind 23-20. I am sitting on the bench feeling mighty low because old Joe just threw the interception that set up the score. All right Don comes over to me leans over pats me on the shoulder and said “now take it easy Joe, don't get down on yourself and I tell you what, anytime you want it I can get a step on that man, you let me have it.” Well, boy he said that with so much confidence it made me feel so much better. We went out on that football field, I called two plays. I told the rest of the team, look Don can get a step, I’m going to call two plays - quick out if the defense is laying back, we are going to the out, if not I want maximum protection for Don to get deep. But the defense was laying back, and why I'll never know, why Willie Brown ever laid off anybody, Al.

Willie Brown was laying back, hit side with a quick out 10-yard gain. Get back in the huddle, I said alright called another play, I said be alert now I may check to the goal. Sure, enough we got up to the line of scrimmage this defensive back climbed up on Don. Man, it was tied. I called the audible, dropped back to throw and threw the ball as far as I could and as hard as I could. Don Maynard made one of the greatest catches of all time. And if you see it on film or have seen it on film you will understand what I am talking about. He made an over the shoulder catch, brought it in one handed, went out of bounds on the 6-yard line. We had first and goal for the AFC championship. I figured the Raiders were going to count on a running play at that time, so I was going to outsmart them and call a play action pass. I was wrong the Raiders were little smarter than I thought, a lot smarter actually. I made the fake to Snell, I looked for George Sauer and he was covered, looked for Bill Mathis and he was covered, came back to big boy Pete Lammons and he was covered and about that time I saw that big 13 streak across the end zone. Boy I threw that thing as hard as I could, as fast as I could. It was a little offline, down low and Don slid down there and cradled that ball and we all went on to the Super Bowl and you all know the history behind that.

Don Maynard, he was the man our opponents worried about, the knockout punch. Lightening in a bottle. Nitro just waiting to explode. I mean he could fly. But with the grace of a great thoroughbred. The man could flat play. He galloped through the best of the very best football players of the world. When Don Maynard left professional football after 15 seasons, he left with the most receptions of anyone who had ever played the game professionally ... 633 catches. He retired with the most yards ever traveled by a receiver 11,834. He finished with and to this very date still has the second most touchdown receptions 88 behind the immortal Don Hutson.

Don's average gain per reception of 18.7 is the third best of all the receivers in this Hall of Fame, Paul Warfield has a 21.1 and Lance Alworth has a 18.9. Not no one who has ever played the game has as many 100-yard gains as Don Maynard. He did it 50 times... 50 times my man did it. Three of those games he went over 200 yards. In 1970 when the All-Time American Football League was named, Don Maynard's name was right there on the top of the list, the wide receiver along with Lance Alworth. A wonderful tribute to Don's ability. His number 13 has been loved so many years and missed so many years in New York by the Jets has been retired. All of us are happy about that in New York. Don was a great football player and is also a great guy.

When I was just a rookie Coach Ewbank told me, “Joe, you are a lucky man, you are going to be working with a great receiver." Once again, Coach Weeb Ewbank was right on the money. Those of us from the NY Jets, we have some fellows from the Jets who had the honor of working with Don over the years, will never forget the man as a great player and a man as a friend. Ladies and gentlemen, I am honored to introduce to you one of the class people of all times and great football players I have ever been around, Mr. Don Maynard.

Don Maynard

Some of you people that know the old New York Titans, that's more applause in one day than I got in three years up there. I see a number 13 up there on that sign, I like that number for some reason. I want to give thanks to the Hall of Fame people, the City of Canton and all the people who had anything to do with this great enshrinement and honor that I have along with these other guys coming along. I am the sixth today of the magnificent seven. Joseph it is a long way from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania to Canton, Ohio and let me tell you it is longer from Three-Way High School to Canton, Ohio.

I started out with a number 13 there and thank you Coach Wigfield for letting me play a little six-man football and teaching me a couple of things as a quarterback that no coach has ever taught or shown today. The 13 has been real important to me. I got to play with it up at the Giants and then on with the Jets. But I am sure glad Joseph came along. After playing with 25 quarterbacks, I was sure glad I found one that started listening to what I wanted done. They used to say that you couldn’t round your pattern. I said well, you got to. How do you drive a car down a highway and turn a corner going 50 miles an hour, so I had to round all my stuff? I said Joe when you throw the ball, throw it were I will catch it when I turn out and that is where he did. As a matter of fact, I was glad I always wore a helmet because the ball was there and that is what made him so great also was his anticipation. But he had four great receivers, Bake Turner, George Sauer and Pete Lammons. But Joe was unreal, and it was great to work with a guy that if you missed it you could work it out 20-30 minutes every day after work out, so as a result we kind of came along and did pretty good.

It is nice to hold a record or two, but after many years, 18 to be exact, to hold a record in the NFL, I was real proud ... a lot of records are just made to be broken. I was fortunate as a rookie to play under Lombardi, and Landry and with great guys like Gifford and Route and Webster and Connelly and Emlen Tunn and it is just tremendous the life I have had to enjoy. And then I moved on to the Titans. Coach Sammy Baugh, Bone Taylor, Dick Todd, Jon Delasolo. Then on to the Jets, thank you Mr. Werblin and your team of owners and thank you AFL owners and Harry Wismere. And you Weeb you molded a good bunch of ball players together. We won for you and we won for ourselves and thank you Walt Michaels, Chuck Knox and Clive Rush and Buddy Ryan and Jack Donaldson. I gave it my all, I trained the best way I knew how where I could figure out the play.

Thank you, Grandad Sharpe, the promise I made to you at age 5 is still going strong. I have never tasted beer or alcohol. Thank you, Uncle Howard Sharpe, I'm glad you said run the hurdles instead of sprinting all the time because sprinters were a dime a dozen. And thank you coach Buck Skimper, my high school coach for staying on top of me to play a little football and run those hurdles. I was fortunate to win the highs and lows in the State of Texas and I am sure that helped me a lot in pro ball. And thanks to the great fans from everywhere and all my teammates in high school and especially in Colorado City and especially those I played with in pro ball. You know it is really a shame that everyone can't experience the great enjoyment of life I have had here and there especially from the first grade where I rode a mule six miles to school that had a one room schoolhouse that had six rows and each row was a grade and you had one teacher. Yes, it is a long way to Canton, Ohio, event to New York City. I look out there and I see more people out there than some towns I lived in. I looked up at the first brick building in New York and it has more bricks than some of the towns that I lived in then, Mom and dad I wish you could be here today, it has been great. And then there was a guy I idolized all my life, he never played sports, but he was an inspiration to me all the way through. When I was in the scouts, he was my senior patrol leader I had to learn it twice as hard as the next guy, just because he wanted me to be my best, he was my brother.

And to my sister, Marilyn, she is a class lady. And to my son .... as all fathers are as proud as can be of their sons and I am especially proud of him and hear all the compliments that I do from a couple of places that he has been. And to my wife, Anna, she's a doll, she's a dream she really is Don's queen. My life has been happier the last 14 years since I quit pro ball.

"I came to play, and I came to stay, Football was a game, Country Don was my name. I made a mark and I became a star, With a lot of help from near and far. There are good ones and great ones, I played with and against. Thank you, good Lord, for that wonderful chance. As I played my part many times even late after dark, I don't have to look back as I played it with my heart. The direction from where I came, Resulted in a whole lot of fame. I played the best and I believe I passed the test. I am glad this is over; I need some rest.”

God loves you; I love you too.