The top guy on the list is obvious. It has to be the Hall of Famer at the most important position on the field who delivered the franchise's only Super Bowl title. Namath was the top pick in the 1965 AFL Draft by the Jets. He was also the 12th pick in the NFL Draft that year by the St. Louis Cardinals. Desperate for a superstar, Gang Green gave him a then record contract to land him.
The rest is history. Some revisionists look at numbers without any sense of context to try and assert not that Namath was overrated but that he really was not that good of a quarterback. This ignores the knee injuries he played through at the end of his career that caused havoc. It ignores the era he played in, which involved receivers on almost every play getting contacted to an extent they would get pass interference calls. They ignore the culture of the game, which was much less mistake averse than today's game with its control freak coaches.
The fact is Namath was great in his era stacked up against his peers. He won two league Player of the Year awards. He was in the top three in his league in passing yardage six times, including finishing first thrice. He was in the top three in touchdowns four times, including one first place finish. Five times he was in the top three in yards per pass, including two first place finishes. Had his knees held up better, he probably would have rated even higher.
Then there is the obvious guarantee he delivered on as he led the Jets to the Super Bowl III title. Broadway Joe tops our list.
This concludes our look at Draft busts and successes. It is obviously more of a starting point to a discussion than it is a definitive ranking. Let the discussion begin.
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