Like Turner, Zuerlein Can Kick The Jets To A Super Bowl

Who has the shortest field goal in Jets’ history as well as the Super Bowl? And how is current kicker Greg Zuerlein involved?


The answer to the first question is late Jim Turner, the straightaway kicker who passed away this week at the age of 82. Joe Namath recently celebrated his 80th birthday, and that re-ignited more Super Bowl banter especially with current Messiah Aaron Rodgers in the team news seemingly everyday.


Though Namath’s and Matt Snell’s contributions were pivotal and well documented, it was Turner, whose three field goals of 32, 30 and 9 – yes, it was a record nine yards – that made the difference. (Tom Dempsey ironically has the league low record of eight as well as his classic 63-yarder).


Ironically, Turner would kick just two more years for the Jets before they traded him to Denver for sidewinder Bobby Howfield. Turner fell in disfavor for his short kickoffs that came back to haunt the team on several occasions. He did make 143 of 256 attempts with the Jets and was the second-leading scorer behind the Vikings’ Fred Cox with 697 points from 1965-70.  


If you remember, Howfield was a flop from 71-74 with 58 made field goals out of 87 attempts. However, it did lead away to Pat Leahy, who is the team’s all-time leading scorer with 1,470 points over his 18-year run from ‘74-91.


From there, there were plenty of kickers who had a cup of coffee, or those who lacked staying power past a few years with the Jets.


Nick Folk had a rather successful seven-year stay from 2010–16 until the Jets decided against re-signing him. Since then, Folk has made the most of it as well as haunt his old teammates with the Patriots. 


After Folk’s departure, there was another array of longtime wannabes in the likes of Chandler Catanzaro, Matt Ammendola, Alex Kessman, Kaare Verdik, Sergio Castillo, and Sam Ficken, all sounding more like character actors than kickers.


All-Pro Jason Myers converted 30 of 33 in 2018, but the Jets let him walk to Seattle.


So, how does this involve Greg Zuerlein?


Simple. He should be one of GM Joe Douglas’ best moves in his four-year stay.


Douglas signed Zuerlein as a free agent after he was dumped by Dallas after a sub-par finish. But Zuerlein began the 2022 season, converting 82.2 percent of his kicks. In 2015, he boomed a 61-yarder, and two years later, Zuerlien was an All-Pro with 38 of 40 conversions.


In his first year with the Jets last season, Zuerlein made 30 of 37 field goals, and 28 of 29 extra-point attempts.


Now, Zuerlein is a key player in the Jets’ presumed postseason run this season. In 1968, Turner made 34 of 46 field-goal attempts, making 73.9 of them. In his seven years with the Jets, Turner made 59.8 percent of his kicks.


Zuerlein gives the Jets their best kicking option since the days of Turner and Leahy. 


Like Turner in ‘69, Zuerlein can be a key player in a Super Bowl run.


About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

Get connected with us on Social Media