Jim Turner, who kicked three field goals in Jets’ Super Bowl III win, dies at 82
Jim Turner, a kicker who helped the Jets win Super Bowl III and then had a long and successful second act to his career with the Broncos, has died at the age of 82.
After playing both quarterback and kicker at Utah State, Turner was selected by Washington as a 19th-round pick in the 1963 NFL draft. When he failed to make the roster, he figured that was it for his NFL career and started pursuing a career as a teacher.
But in 1964 Jets coach Weeb Ewbank signed him to play in the American Football League, where he kicked on the uneven playing surface of Shea Stadium.
“It was a dump and it should have continued to be a dump,” Turner recalled in 2019. “It was awful. I think the Beatles opened it up, and then the Mets and the Jets came in that first year. But because they made it specifically for a baseball team, when you got past the dirt in the infield, from the edge of second base down to the other goal line it dropped about two and a half feet.”
Despite the difficulty of kicking at Shea, Turner was selected to the Pro Bowl twice with the Jets. He also made field goals of 32, 30 and 9 yards in Super Bowl III, with nine-yard field goals being possible in those days because the goal posts were on the goal line. Turner said the heavily favored Colts overlooked him and his Jets teammates.
“They didn’t realize how tough and how good Joe Namath was. How stout Matt Snell was,” Turner said. “We were led by Al Atkinson and a bunch of no-name guys on defense. We had a very good defense that was quick. And our kicking game was better than anybody.”
Despite kicking better than anybody, Turner was traded to the Broncos in 1971. And he ended up playing even longer for the Broncos than he did for the Jets, lasting nine years in Denver. He kicked for the Broncos in Super Bowl XII, and he was chosen to the Broncos’ Ring of Fame in 1988.
Turner never missed a game in his NFL career, retiring with a streak of 228 consecutive games played. At the time of his retirement, Turner had scored the second-most points in NFL history.