Joe Namath played twelve seasons in the NFL and had about as quality of numbers as most of your journeymen quarterbacks in the league today. Yet he is still brought up in conversations among great quarterbacks. Take a look at his career numbers.
TD’s : 173
Comp %: 50.1
Win/Loss Record: 62-63-4
Super Bowl titles/MVP awards? One
Fumbles LOST: 33
Total Passing Yards: 27663
Looks a lot like Trent Dilfer’s numbers, huh? Very well could be, too. But it’s Namath’s. We all know about the “Guarantee,” but what did this man do to put himself in the top quarterback class?
He did a lot for the game off the field, with his personality. He gave the league a star, someone to market. For reasons similar to that, Drew Brees deserves Hall of Fame considerations right now based on what he did for the New Orleans Saints and the entire city of New Orleans. He’s a huge star on the field, but he’s larger than life to an entire fanbase off of it.
He was one of the first (if not the first) quarterbacks to throw for over 4000 yards in a season. He was a living legend in New York, and of course he made and delivered on a guarantee in a historic Superbowl.
His numbers by todays standards are quite awful, really. But you have to take into account the era he played in and the other quarterbacks in his era. When he was voted into the Hall of Fame, there weren’t many, if any quarterbacks like him. Now, of course, they are a dime a dozen, but that’s just the evolution of the game.
The further we go in time, the worse and worse the offensive accomplishments of those in eras past will appear. Only very few will stand the test of time really.