Joe Namath New York Jets & Los Angeles Rams
"I’m convinced I’m better than anybody else. I’ve been convinced of that for quite a while. I haven’t seen anything out there that I couldn’t do and do well…I get annoyed with myself for doing something wrong…I tell myself, 'you’re the best, damn it, do it right.’”
Joe Namath is best remembered for his performance in the New York Jets' stunning 16-7 upset of the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. However, during his 13-year tenure from 1965 through 1977 he was one of the game's most exciting, proficient and publicized quarterbacks.
Namath's place in history was assured with his first pro football act, the signing of a reported $400,000 contract early in 1965 that gave the American Football League its biggest victory in the costly inter-league war of the 1960s. The National Football League’s St. Louis Cardinals had also drafted Namath. “Broadway Joe,” as he quickly became known, won a starting job in his third game on his way to AFL Rookie of the Year acclaim in 1965.
In 1967, he became the first quarterback to pass for more than 4,000 yards in one season. In 1968, he capped off AFL Player of the Year and unanimous All-Pro selection with MVP honors in Super Bowl III. Namath's pre-game "guarantee" of victory backed up by his 206-yard passing production was a major factor in assuring the competitive viability of the AFL-NFL Super Bowl series.
Namath was plagued with knee injuries through much of his career. Still he completed 1,886 passes for 27,663 yards and 173 touchdowns in 12 seasons with the Jets and a final try with the Los Angeles Rams in 1977. He enjoyed many exceptional days, one of which came in the 1968 AFL title game. He threw three touchdown passes to lead New York to a 27-23 win over the Oakland Raiders that set up the dramatic Super Bowl III confrontation.
Namath earned all-league accolades four times in his career (1967, 1968, 1969, and 1972) and was named to the all-time AFL honor team in 1969. He was also elected to four AFL all-star games and one AFC-NFC Pro Bowl.