Catch Up with the Jets Legend from the University of Houston Jim Gehman
Bill Parcells knew the type of player he wanted on his team to be successful when he became the head coach of the Jets in 1997.
Mike Gisler was that type of player.
The center/guard and Parcells had a five-year history with the New England Patriots before reuniting in New York in 1998.
"I was with Parcells the first year he got to the Patriots, '93, and I was there after the Super Bowl [XXXI] when Bill left and went to the Jets," Gisler said. "I was still under contract, so I played the final year when Pete Carroll was (New England's head coach).
"And then after that year was over, I went down as a free agent to the Jets. By then I had realized pretty much it was a good fit for both parties. He valued me, and so it was the best place for me to play."
Originally drafted by New Orleans out of the University of Houston in 1992, Gisler would end up playing six of the eight years he was in the league for the Hall of Fame coach. He was the type of role player who has always been the backbone of the NFL.
"I don't so much think that I was a leader on the team, I just wasn't high enough status maybe when you're talking about Kevin Mawae and Curtis (Martin) and those guys," Gisler said. "But Parcells, what he used to always tell me was the main thing he wanted to know was what the output was going to be. He wanted to know the consistency from day to day. Whether good or bad. He'd rather have consistency than somebody that plays really, really great, but then really, really poor.
"The thing with Parcells, we practiced really hard compared to a lot of other teams, and if we were to play a team that we were supposed to beat and we played poorly - whether we won or loss - if we had a bad game, he would typically be nice to us. Not be hard.
"Where if we played a great game and beat somebody we weren't supposed to beat, he might be a lot harder on us. He was trying to keep us on an even keel. He didn't want incredible highs or incredible lows. He just wanted consistent play. So, that's what, I guess, he figured he'd get with me, and what I tried to give."
Gisler gave and feels he got, as well.
"I learned a lot of life lessons that I used after I got out of football on how we approached games and practices and everything. I've used that every day," Gisler said. "I tell my kids for example, it's never as good as it seems, it's never as bad as it seems."
With the Jets for two seasons, helping them reach the AFC Championship Game against Denver in 1998, what is Gisler's fondest memory from his time with the Green & White?
"I'll give you two," Gisler said. "The owner, Mr. (Leon) Hess, back then was pretty old, and was at that time in a wheelchair. And I guess he did this all throughout the time, but he came out to our Thanksgiving Day practices. I thought that was really neat for an owner to come out on Thanksgiving. And he'd present us with these little Hess toy things. They were pretty neat. I still have them to this day in my house.
"And the other thing I can say is my wife enjoyed going to the games, and the Jets had a great setup. I guess my daughter would have been around seven or eight then, and they had like a daycare thing for kids. My wife watched the game with the other wives. So, she really enjoyed that aspect of it."
Returning to Texas after his playing days, 15 years ago Gisler, his wife, Lynn, and their children: Jordan and Sam; made their home in his hometown of Runge.
Gisler and his brother, Wes, own and operate an oil field mud logging business that their father and uncle founded 45 years ago - Gisler Brothers Logging.
"The oil field has been really good for my family, been really good financially for us," Gisler said. "Right now, due to the coronavirus and everything, our numbers have been down. But at times we've had 50 to 55 employees, and that's a lot of fun because you are part of a lot of people's successes. And if they do well, they're part of our successes. So, getting to deal with our employees is the fun part. It can be the frustrating part too, but for the most part, that's the fun part."