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Quick, name the best quarterbacks of all time. Surely your list would include such names as Dan Marino, Johnny Unitas, Joe Namath, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning and John Elway, among others. None of those names seem out of place, but would you think differently if I put Rex Grossman on that list? As it turns out, Grossman deserves to be on that list about as much as Joe Namath. Heck, his career QB rating is 5 points higher than Namath’s. So why was Namath a sure-fire hall of famer while Grossman swims in the overcrowded pool of mediocrity?
One cannot ignore the fact that most of Joe Namath’s career stats are average at best. Nothing about his career says “superstar”. Sure, he was a big figure in New York, he wore a fur coat, and he wore white cleats when every other Jet player wore black, but does that really turn Average Joe into a Broadway Joe? As it turns out, it absolutely does. Joe Namath was a terribly inaccurate quarterback. His career completion percentage of 50.1 is below average, as is his 173 touchdown passes versus 220 career interceptions.
The one thing that Joe Namath did that no other quarterback on the all time list did was promise his team would win the Super Bowl against a huge favorite and follow through on that promise. Some would argue that that game alone should give Namath his hall of fame cred, but it’s important to not accept things at face value. Namath did make that promise, and he did play for the Jets team that won the game, but he hardly “led” the team to victory. The Jets followed through on their game-plan of running the ball right through the Baltimore Colts defense and it worked to perfection. Joe Namath didn’t even throw a touchdown pass in the game. Basically, the Jets won by keeping the ball out of Joe Namath’s hands.
Joe Namath was no help with his team’s running game either. Unlike other quarterbacks of the time, Joe Namath almost never ran the ball. He finished with 140 career rushing yards. He played in 140 career games. In case you haven’t done the elementary school math, that’s 1 yard per game rushing for Namath. Opponent’s defenses knew that when Joe Namath held the ball, he was going to be passing it. That’s probably why his teams were .500 in games he started. He also didn’t win another playoff game after his famous Super Bowl victory.
If anyone wants an example of a quarterback who was better than Namath but doesn’t get credited as being an “all-time great”, how about Doug Williams. He changed the game just as much as Namath, being the first black person to become an NFL quarterback, and he also had a big Super Bowl win. The difference between the two is that Williams’ Super Bowl performance was one of the best for a quarterback in Super Bowl history, while Namath’s can only generously be described as average.
Nothing against Namath, but the statistics clearly show that he was not only not among the greatest quarterbacks of all time, but he doesn’t even really deserve to be enshrined in the hall of fame.
write by Agatha