The Jets and Quarterbacks

Namath and Todd. Like caviar and canned tuna.
Namath and Todd. Like caviar and canned tuna.

Back when I was growing up on the mean streets of Mahopac, N.Y., there were two kids who were die-hard Jets fans.

One was, well, me.

The other was Matthew Walker, who owned (not lying) his very own Blair Thomas T-shirt.

Recently, Matty and I were talking via Facebook about the Jets’ quarterback history. Specifically, we ranked the all-time five best QBs in franchise history. We pretty much agreed on this …

1. Joe Namath—No brainer.

2. Ken O’Brien—Scorned because he was drafted before Dan Marino, but it’s sort of unfair. O’Brien was a helluva player. Always had a very high completion percentage, owned an absolute gun. Was he Marino? No. But he’s closer to Elway-Kelly-Marino (the big three from the ’83 Draft) than Tony Eason and Todd Blackledge (the lower two).

3. Chad Pennington—Pretty good player with no arm strength but, like O’Brien, unique accuracy. Injuries hurt a solid career.

4. Vinny Testaverde—Big arm, local boy, had some excellent seasons.

5. Richard Todd—To watch Todd regularly was to realize he wasn’t very good. OK game manager, blessed with Wesley Walker and Mickey Shuler; cursed with Lam Jones. Was traded to Saints and bombed.

There are some arguments to be made. Does Mark Sanchez eke out Todd? What about Boomer? Brett Favre was a Jet for a year. Pat Ryan wore No. 10. Kyle Mackey existed. Browning Nagle … um, yeah.

It’s a terrible list. There’s no getting around that truth. Terrible. Namath was a groundbreaking quarterback who deserves his legendary status, but—when talking play alone—he’s not No. 1 for most franchises. The 49ers have Joe Montana and Steve Young, the Cowboys have Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, the Patriots have Brady, the Colts Unitas and Manning and (I’d argue) Bert Jones. I hate to admit this, but I’d take Y.A. Tittle, Phil Simms or Eli Manning over Namath. Sorry, man. I would.

Truth be told, the Jets may well have the worst five in the NFL (not including the most recent expansion teams). The Bears are pretty thin at QB, but they’ve still got Sid Luckman, Jim McMahon and Jay Cutler. The Eagles aren’t breathtaking, but Norm Van Brocklin, Randall Cunningam and Donovan McNabb trumps the Jets.

Anyhow, I’m babbling. Let’s discuss …