Harry Wismer founded the New York Jets  on August 14, 1959

Harry Wismer

When Harry Wismer, a businessman, was awarded a charter franchise in the American Football League, he had long been interested in sports. Prior to his knee injury ending his playing career at Michigan State, Wismer was a three-sport letterman in high school and went on to play football at the University of Florida and Florida State University.

Wismer was unfazed, and he began his broadcasting career at Michigan State, where he became a pioneer in the field. Later, Wismer, as an owner of the Titans, developed a league-wide policy allowing fair distribution of television rights among teams.

It was decided that Wismer would be a good fit for the American Football League and that he would be awarded a franchise in New York City to develop. It was Wismer’s goal to see his club and league succeed, and his thought was that “who you know matters most.”

Due to the Titans’ lackluster first two seasons, as well as declining attendance in the team’s second season, his efforts resulted in a significant amount of financial debt. The franchise was acquired for $1 million by the Gotham Football Club, Inc., which was headed by Sonny Werblin in 1963.


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