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Emotional Day for Jets Family at the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Jets Staffers Frank Ramos and Bill Hampton Sr. Honored with Excellence Awards in Canton, OH


It's impossible to quantify the seismic impact that two Jets staffers, longtime equipment manager Bill Hampton Sr. and public relations head Frank Ramos, had inside the organization for decades. So, it was fitting that Hampton and Ramos were honored together Thursday in Canton, OH with Awards of Excellence at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Hampton. Sr., who worked 739 games from 1964-2000, was a revered presence throughout his legendary career. Since 2004, the Jets have paid tribute to "Hamp" by presenting the Hampton Award to the rookie on the team who acts like a pro in the locker room. Honored posthumously, having died in 2015 at 88, Hampton's son, Clay, and former Jets DL Marvin Washington accepted the award.

"It means a lot because I think for my dad, he prided himself on being humble, hard work and having an intense loyalty to the team," said Hampton, the Houston Texans director of football operations who spent 28 years with the Jets. "With everyone, award winners past and present, to receive this it is a tremendous honor considering the number of people that have come through the game and the impact the game has made on him and his family and when you transpose that to bringing people into your life. That is why we asked Marvin to be up here because he made a profound impact on my family just like my father."

Ramos, who has said that Hampton Sr. was a friend, mentor, counselor and father to Jets players for decades, was also introduced at a luncheon that was emceed by Hall of Famer Dan Fouts.

"A guy's name who rhymes with famous, Frank Ramos," Fouts said. "It's a perfect way to remember Frank. He spent his entire 39 years with the New York Jets, the team's first season in 1963 through 2002 (including preseason), and it was quite an odyssey. He never missed a game, (779) games in all. His highlight came in Miami in January of 1969, we all remember Super Bowl III when the Jets upset the heavily favored Baltimore Colts. And he can tell you the whole story about Joe Namath guaranteeing victory in that game."

Hampton Sr. took an innovative approach to equipment. In collaboration with his wife, Dottie, he came up with the idea of outfitting players in pantyhose to keep their legs warm during freezing conditions. He and Dottie also sewed pockets into the jerseys for quarterbacks, running back and receivers. A former stick boy for the New York Rangers in 1945 who served in the Army in 1951-52, the Queens, NY born and raised Hampton Sr. was a relationship man at heart.

"I used to call the equipment room at the Jets Google because we had guys coming in from all over the country and if you wanted to know where to shop, where to be, where to buy furniture at or what have you – you would go to the equipment room because they had all the answers," said Washington, a defensive end who lined up with the Jets from 1989-96. "Everybody sees the shiny cars with the tinted windows and all that, those are the players and coaches, but the people that make the engines run are the people that are being honored here today."


Ramos, who was selected as a member of the NFL's Super Bowl public relations group each year of his career, was also a key voice in helping shape the NFL's public relations positions. With his trademark humility, he reflected on the support and the good fortune he had along the way.

"It was a great career because I really got to work with so many different people," Ramos said. "I had so many wonderful owners from Sonny Werblin to Leon Hess to Woody Johnson and his brother Chris – they have been really wonderful. I had a great career. I actually started out with my high school journalism teacher, and her husband was the co-head of sports information at the University of Miami, and I learned so much from them. Then I worked for Pat Hogan at Florida State University for three years, and then Joe Cahill was the sports information director at West Point. When he said he was going to go to the New York Jets, he said, 'I am taking you with me,' and that was a big break for me."

Ramos and "Hamp" combined to work more than 1,000 games for the Green & White. They were committed, intelligent, creative, resourceful, dependable and they loved the Jets. Two significant contributors who left their permanent marks. While there was much to celebrate at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, plenty of tears were shed as the Hampton family reminisced about "Hamp" and Ramos ended the afternoon with a verbal kiss to his wife, Jackie.

"I really wish my wife were here with me today because this job was 24/7, as everyone knows, and she was there to support me all the time," he said. "I love her so much."

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