Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Average Joe

In a debate with several of my friends this morning I realized a glaring fact that is almost as bright as the Sun. The guy that people still refer to as “Broadway Joe” was nowhere near a great quarterback and should never have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Joe Willie Namath was born in the steel-mill town of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania on May 31, 1943. After having a fine career playing at Alabama under legendary coach Bear Bryant the St. Louis Cardinals of the National Football League drafted Joe, but he decided to sign with the upstart New York Jets of the American Football League for $400,000 after they used a pick gained in a trade with Houston to select him in the first round of the AFL Draft.

In 1967, his third season, Namath had the best season of his career throwing for 4,007 yards and 26 touchdown passes. The hype was growing each day as the New York tabloids salivated over him.

The following season he led the Jets to the AFL's Eastern Division title. In the championship game against the Oakland Raiders Joe threw three touchdown passes. His touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter gave the Jets a 27-23 victory and a berth in Super Bowl III on Jan. 12, 1969.

New York was a three touchdown underdog to Don Shula’s Baltimore Colts, but that didn’t stop Namath from boldly predicting, "We're going to win Sunday. I guarantee you." This made headlines all over the country and some people thought that Joe was off his rocker. Namath directed the Jets on four scoring drives, completing 17-of-28 passes for 206 yards and being voted the MVP in the victory over the stunned Colts. The Jets were the first AFL team to win the Super Bowl.

But that’s where the story ends. Broadway Joe was an average theatrical production that made it to the big stage once – had a great one show – but never was much more than that prediction and one Super Bowl. His 13-year career is quite confusing to read on a stat-line. In 10 of those 13 seasons Namath threw more Interceptions than Touch Downs. Is this a Hall of Fame career?

Look at his mediocre seems more to me like a tragedy not a drama.

Completion %=50.1%
Passing Yards=27,663
Passing Completions=1,886
INTs =220

Joe Namath never should have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Sure, it must’ve been nice to elect a guy who grew up about sixty miles away across the Pennsylvania border – but no way. One bold prediction, one upset in the Super Bowl got him enshrined in the most prestigious place in football? I can’t see it.

I know all about how his career was sidetracked by several bad knee injuries and he butted heads with NFL on several fronts, but stats don’t lie. When you throw 47 more INTs than TDs – it’s not a good thing. When you complete only half of your passes – it’s not a good thing. When you lead your team to just three winning seasons – it’s not a good thing.

Does former Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Larry Brown deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? Or maybe Desmond Howard? They both won Super Bowl MVPs…and I’m sure before the game they both said their teams would win.


At 9/28/2005 2:14 PM, Anonymous J-Bird said...

Terry Bradshaw has horrible numbers too. The NFL cares more about winning than stats when it comes to their HOF (with the exceptions of clear statistical cases, e.g. never-winners like Moon and Marino. Write a blogg about how Vinnie Testaverde is better than Namath. I felt sick just typing that.

At 9/28/2005 3:11 PM, Anonymous Papa Namath said...

Joe Namath got a lot of women though.

At 9/28/2005 11:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't believe that those are his real statistics?? Bad


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