Upper Saddle River, NJ — Former New York Giants (and Jets) punter Dave Jennings, 61, died yesterday from complications of Parkinson’s disease which he had been battling for many years.
A four-time Pro Bowler, Jennings was a member of the Giants from 1974 to 1984 and still holds the the franchise record for punts (931) and yards (38,792). He was the Jet’s punter from 1985 to 1987. In 1979, he was the NFL punts leader (104) and yardage leader (4,445). For his Giants career, he averaged nearly 42 yards per punt.
He played college football at St. Lawrence University (after playing basketball but not football at Long Island’s Garden City High School) but went undrafted. After being cut by the Houston Oilers, he hooked up with the Giants.
Dave Jennings excelled as a football commentator from 1988 to 2008 as well, according to the New York Times: “Personable, articulate and well-informed about the game, he moved from the field to the broadcast booth as an analyst on radio for the Jets from 1988 to 2001 and the Giants from 2002 to 2007.”
In a statement, Giants co-owner and team president John Mara has this to say about the passing of Dave Jennings: “Dave Jennings was one of the all-time great Giants. He was a valued member of the Giants family for more than 30 years as a player and a broadcaster, and we were thrilled to include him in our Ring of Honor. More importantly, he was an outstanding person who battled his illness with rare courage and dignity. We will miss him dearly.”
New York Post columnist Phi Mushnick insists that Dave Jennings worked harder at his broadcast work than anyone else: “Jennings was the most prepared NFL analyst I ever heard on TV or radio. He not only dutifully attended practices to find out what was up with the Jets (1988-2001) and then the Giants (2002-08), he went deep — he knew the NFL rulebook far better, I’m sure, than any radio or TV analyst –not that many bothered or today bother to learn then apply the rules to the games they work.”