WITH THE THIRD PICK IN THE 2018 JMRA QUARTERBACK DRAFT, THE NEW YORK JETS SELECT….
JOE NAMATH (1965-77), 1ST OVERALL PICK – 1965
Why Namath Is The Pick: There is a camp out there believes Namath is overrated but who else do you go to here? Ken O’Brien, who never led the Jets to a conference title game? Mark Sanchez, who led them to consecutive conference title games but was wildly unremarkable otherwise? Chad Pennington? Namath’s shining moment puts everything else in Jets-land to shame by a considerable margin.
Here’s the thing about Namath. He was an incredible talent but probably left some considerable meat on the bone by the end of his career due to injury. His numbers and flair don’t come close to matching up. He was more Madison Avenue than gridiron. Remember, he may have won Super Bowl III but played in only THREE playoff games in a 13-year career. Yet, the Super Bowl he won ultimately lands him in this spot.
Peak Namath: Obviously, the choice is easy here to the naked eye. Sure, Namath called his shot shortly before Super Bowl III but a few other things to consider. A season earlier in 1967, Namath enjoyed his statistically best season. He led the American Football League in completions, attempts, yards, and yards per game. Also, he led the league in interceptions (28 IN 14 GAMES, SHEESH), which apparently was his natural aesthetic. He led the AFL or NFL in interceptions four times.
During his Super Bowl season, Namath actually posted somewhat pedestrian numbers. His team enjoyed success at 11-3 but Namath’s completion percentage only hit a weak 49%.
Post-Namath: An aging and broken-down Namath gave way to Richard Todd in 1977, who actually led the Jets to the playoffs on more occasions than good old Broadway Joe. The Jets reached the AFC Championship game on four occasions after Namath’s departure (’82, ’98, ’09, ’10) but never got over the hump. The franchise is still chasing its elusive second Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Legacy In A Sentence: Namath’s career was wrought with injuries and inconsistencies but his win over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III will be remembered forever because of one famous guarantee.