Today’s edition of the Turn On The Jets beat writer rankings focuses on former writers on the New York Jets beat –
Paul Zimmerman, New York Post – An all-time great in sports journalism, more popularly known as “Dr. Z” from his time at Sports Illustrated. Zimmerman was on the Jets beat in the late 60s for the New York Post and covered their only Super Bowl victory. He was a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee until recently suffering a stroke in 2008, which he is still recovering from. When correctly picking the Giants to beat Patriots in the 2007 Super Bowl, he referred back to the Jets upset over the Colts in Super Bowl III as his inspiration –
“I can only go back to Super Bowl III, when I was the New York Post‘s beat man covering the Jets, and I had a hunch that they were primed for a major upset over the Colts even though it didn’t seem logical. So I chickened out and picked the Colts by less than the huge spread.”
Paul Needell, New York Daily News – Covered the Jets from 1983-1995 for the Daily News, before moving on to the Star-Ledger as a NFL reporter. Give this a read for a comical overview of Needell’s time with the team, who never provided a dull moment throughout the 80s, just like they never provide a dull moment these days.
Gerald Eskenazi, New York Times – He has worked at the New York Times for over five decades, covering a wide range of sports and other topics. Eskenazi documented his days with the Jets in this book and was another one of the beat writers who covered the team’s Super Bowl III victory.
Dave Anderson, New York Times – Another long running, well-respected journalist who spent time on the New York Jets beat. When writing on the long standing Jets/Raiders rivalry, Anderson commented about Weeb Ewbank’s mistrust of Al Davis
“Whenever a helicopter flew anywhere near a Jets practice the week before a game against the Raiders, Ewbank would look up and shake his fist. He just knew Davis had somebody spying on the Jets.”
Erik Boland, Newsday – Unfortunately only spent about one year on the Jets beat for Newsdsay before moving on to cover the Yankees but was very popular with fans. Boland distinguished himself for being highly interactive with fans and having in-depth articles while maintaining a sense of humor.
Rod Boone, Newsday – Recently moved to the Brooklyn Nets beat, Boone was another fan favorite because of his in-depth writing and unique perspectives on the different issues surrounding the team. He is already establishing himself with excellent Nets coverage and is a must follow on Twitter (@RodBoone)
Dave Hutchinson, The Star Ledger – Covered the Jets for well over a decade before being moved over to the Mets beat in recent years. Hutchinson was a detailed writer who always seemed to come up with good scoops and was well respected by the other writers and fans alike. The Ledger’s coverage has remained top notch in Hutchinson’s absence with Jenny Vrentas taking over, who is our currently top ranked beat writer.
Randy Lange, The Record – A personal favorite of TOJ, as Lange was the beat writer for my hometown paper when I was growing up. He covered the Jets for 13 years for The Record before getting hired by the New York Jets website as their Editor-In-Chief where he currently does an excellent job.
Tim Graham, ESPN – Graham ran the ESPN AFC East blog before moving on to cover the Bills for Buffalo News. He did a terrific job with AFC East coverage and made the blog a must read for a fan of any team in the division. Since he has moved on, Erik Frenz of The Bleacher Report has become our go to guy for AFC East coverage.