Let’s play a game: I am going to give you two quarterbacks from the mid 60s to the late 70s and I want you to guess which one is the Hall of Fame QB.
Player A. Career Stats: 19 Seasons, 145 Starts, 183 TD, 187 INT, 27,908 Passing Yards, 81-62-1 Career Record, 54.2 Completion Percentage, 73.5 QB Rating, Lost 2 Super Bowls,
Player B. Career Stats: 13 Seasons, 130 Starts, 173 TD, 220 INT, 27,663 Passing Yards, 62-63-4 Career Record, 50.1 Completion Percentage, 65.5 QB Rating, Won 1 Super Bowl,
Neither is probably jumping out at you. In fact, neither of the QB’s probably seem like Hall of Fame material, but I promise one is.
If I had to guess just by looking at the info above, I would have to go with Player A. More wins, better TD/INT ratio, better completion percentage, and better QB ranking. The only down side is he lost two Super Bowls whereas Player B won a Super Bowl.
I think any reasonable football fan would agree that Player A seems like a more deserving Hall choice.
Now let’s find out if we’re right.
- Player A. Craig Morton
- Player B. Joe Namath
It’s true: Joe Namath’s stats sucked that bad. From the stats above he just looks like another run-of-the-mill quarterback. Craig Morton had better stats then him, and he definitively hasn’t received Hall of Fame consideration.
From the praise Namath has received over the years (not much from Suzy Kolber though), you would think he had better stats then he does.
The reality of those stats is a huge reason why Joe Namath is the most overrated quarterback in the history of the NFL.
Yeah I said it New York; what are you going to do about it?
The truth is that Namath wasn’t a very good quarterback, he was just in the right place at the right time. That place being New York City of course. If Namath played in Chicago, Houston, or Buffalo he would of been just another QB that didn’t reach his full potential.
The New York media loved his charisma and playboy lifestyle, so they hyped him up to a player he never was.
I will say that Broadway Joe did guarantee to win one of the biggest games in NFL history and put the AFL on the map; but Super Bowls aren’t always won just by quarterbacks.
Plenty of other okay/mediocre quarterbacks have won Super Bowls too: Jim Plunkett, Jim McMahon, Doug Williams, Jeff Hostetler, Mark Rypien, and Trent Dilfer all won at least one.
Plus Joe didn’t win that game by himself; Matt Snell and the Jets defense won that Super Bowl. Snell had 121 yards and 1 TD while the Jets D caused 5 turnovers and only allowed 7 points. Joe did have a solid game completing 17 out of 28 passes and throwing for 206 yards, but nothing spectacular.
For his career, Namath’s QB rating was a pathetic 65.5 even while spending 5 years in the pass happy AFL. Some other quarterbacks from that era had far more respectable numbers: Roger Staubach 83.4, Len Dawson 82.6, Sonny Jurgensen 82.6.
The 173 TDs to 220 INT ratio is terrible. Namath led the league in INTs 4 times and there were only two seasons during which he threw more touchdowns then interceptions.
He has a 50.1 career competition percentage, which is way too low for a “Hall of Fame” quarterback. His best season was in 1967 which he threw for 4,007 yards, completed 52% of his passes, and threw for 26 TDs and 28 INTs. That’s not a very impressive year, even for back then.
Also it’s not like Joe Willie had bad players around him. Matt Snell and Emerson Boozer were both quality running backs. George Sauer went to 4-Pro Bowls and Don Maynard is a Hall of Famer.
The stat that hurts Joe the most is his career record. 62-63-4 is a mediocre record for a quarterback. Add in that he only has two playoff appearances and it shows that Joe did not do the most important thing a quarterback can do. win consistently.
I think that there is enough evidence here to prove that Joe Namath was one of – if not the – most overrated quarterbacks ever; the evidence also proves that Namath never belonged in the Hall of Fame either.