New York Jets: 10 Most Notable Quarterbacks in Team History
(Left: Can you say Broadway Mark?)
In the wake of the Brett Favre retirement and possible un-retirement, Jets fans are left thinking what could be with their new savior, Mark Sanchez.
As for their old saviors-who the hell cares?
While Sanchez slightly resembles their original golden boy, Joe Namath, he breathes a whole new life into the organization.
The type of confidence and dreaminess that they couldn't experience, not even when they first drafted Chad Pennington.
They couldn't get it through trades or free agents, either. No, nothing in the past 50 years they've done at the position quite matches them trading up to nab Sanchez at the fifth spot.
But that doesn't mean he's going to be a great quarterback.
And that surely doesn't mean the quarterbacks before him played for nothing.
In excitement for Sanchez's career to start, here's a look back at the top 10 most productive, effective, and popular Jets quarterbacks to play in the Big Apple.
This Guy Sucked: Browning Nagle (1991-1993)
Nagle is probably best know for being "that quarterback drafted after Brett Favre". Nagle never really amounted to much, despite his popularity, only lasting three seasons in New York.
His only season as a starter (1992) saw him throw for a meager seven touchdowns, as his 17 interceptions saw the team go 3-10 with him under center.
Nagle lasted on more meaningless year in New York, and then stopped at two more NFL cities before getting run out of the league.
10. Al Woodall (1969-1974)
Woodall never became a regular starter or household name, but he was still a big part of the franchise.
In five seasons as mainly a backup, Woodall filled in for injured starters several times, and ended up going 5-14 as a starter.
His final numbers were decent, as he tossed 18 touchdowns to 23 interceptions in his career, along with just under 3,000 yards.
The fact is, he was inaccurate, erratic, and unreliable. But when Joe Namath or someone else went down with an injury, he was always there to step in and compete.
9. Glenn Foley (1994-1998)
Foley wasn't known so much for being a star, as he was for being the career back-up who blew chance-after-chance.
The fact is, during Foley's tenure in New York, his teams weren't very good, and no amount of great play by him was going to change it.
Regardless, Foley saw a lot of action in relief duty, while going 2-7 in his career as a starter. He wasn't very accurate, and he didn't make good decisions, but until his days in New York were over, there was still something about him that made you watch him.
He's unlikely a household name, but if you follow Jets football, you'll remember him.
8. Neil O'Donnell (1996-1997)
After being nothing but efficient in Pittsburgh, and after leading them to a Super Bowl appearance, the Jets landed O'Donnell as a free agent, thinking they were getting the next Joe Namath.
Initially, they couldn't have been any more wrong.
In his first season, O'Donnell battled injury and consistency issues, as he threw just four touchdowns to seven interceptions, while going 0-6 as a starter.
He rebounded in his second (and final) season as a starter, though, as he threw for over 2,700 yards and 17 touchdowns, while only throwing seven interceptions.
O'Donnell led the Jets to an 8-6 record as a starter that year, but was let go after he couldn't lead them to the playoffs.
7. Boomer Esiason (1993-1995)
Esiason was 32 when he took over for New York, and it was obvious he and the rest of the Jets got worse with every extra year he stuck around.
He was serviceable in year one, though, as he led the Jets to a respectable 8-8 finish. In what would be his best season as a Jet, Esiason threw for over 3,000 yards, 16 touchdowns, and only 11 interceptions.
The next two seasons saw Esiason and the Jets go a combined 7-19 (2-10 in 1995), while Esiason tried his best to keep the team competitive.
Esiason ended his Jets tenure on a supremely low note, but finished with solid stats, overall. He tossed at least 16 touchdowns in every season he played, and never threw over 15 interceptions.
Looking back on his time in New York, it's obvious Esiason was a poor man's version of Brett Favre, mindlessly filling in for a mediocre team until they could find their next quarterback.
6. Richard Todd (1976-1983)
Todd had only one winning season with New York, a 10-5-1 record that landed the Jets into the post-season for his only career playoff action.
While the Jets may have been on hard times during Todd's career, he still sparked the offense with three seasons of over 3,000 yards, as well as four seasons with at least 16 touchdown passes.
He's best known for two seasons: The playoff season that saw him throw 25 touchdowns and only 13 interceptions, as well as a 4-12 season that saw him throw 17 touchdowns, but a whopping 30 interceptions.
Like most Jets quarterbacks, Todd had his highs, and he definitely had his lows.
5. Brett Favre (2008)
Favre's one and only season in New York ended with mixed reviews.
After a controversial un-retirement and attempted return to Green Bay, Favre was traded to the Jets, where he led them to an impressive and rather unlikely 8-3 start.
Favre hurt his arm down the stretch, however, and faded with the rest of his team as they dropped four out of five games, ending the season 9-7.
While Favre helped a 4-12 squad improve to a near-playoff contender, many still viewed it as a failed experiment, as well as a horrible ending to a once great career (I disagree).
4. Chad Pennington (2000-2007)
Pennington has always been an extremely passionate and driven player. For whatever he lacked in arm strength, he made up for with accuracy and an unmatched fire for the game.
He was a true leader, and nothing was more evidence of that than his first season as a starter.
After Vinny Testaverde went down with an Achilles' injury, Pennington stepped in to lead the Jets to a 7-3 regular season record, as well as a surprising 41-0 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs.
Pennington was extremely accurate and efficient in his first season, tossing 22 touchdowns and only six interceptions, while also throwing for over 3,200 yards.
Some would say later that Pennington "survived off of 2002:, as he led the Jets to more than eight wins just once during the rest of his tenure in New York.
3. Ken O'Brien (1984-1992)
O'Brien was a stud by his second season, throwing for 25 touchdowns and 3,888 yards, while only throwing eight interceptions.
He led the Jets to an impressive 11-5 record and a playoff appearance, despite losing to New England in their first game.
O'Brien came back strong the next season, leading the Jets to another winning record, 8-6, while throwing for 3,690 yards and 25 touchdowns for the second straight season.
From then on, however, O'Brien and the rest of his offense would battle injuries and consistency issues. He never reached the postseason again, and only won eight games in a season one more time in his career.
2. Vinny Testaverde (1998-2003, 2005)
Testaverde came to the Jets as a 35-year old looking to be reborn, and the fountain of youth is exactly what he found.
In his first season as the starter, he threw for over 3,200 yards, 29 touchdowns, and only seven interceptions. Testaverde was incredibly efficient the entire season, as he led the unlikely Jets to a 12-2 record as a starter, including a trip to the AFC Title game.
Testaverde gave way to Chad Pennington the next season after a freak achilles injury, and really never was the same again.
He won his job back the following year, and led New York to two straight seasons of 9-7 or better, but began regressing, and was finally phased out in 2003, at the age of 40.
1. Joe Namath (196501976)
Namath was two things early in his career: Prolific and cocky.
His brash attitude and crude nature toward women and booze was arguably more the end to him than bad knees or age, but that personality is also what made him one of the greats.
Namath had somewhat of an illustrious career in New York, as he threw for over 3,000 yards three times in his first four seasons, and also tossed at least 18 touchdowns six times in his career.
These kinds of numbers were impressive back in the late '60s and early '70s, due to only 14 regular season games, as well as the style of play.
What was even more impressive and memorable, though, was Namath's leadership in 1968. Namath led the Jets to an 11-3 record and a trip to a Super Bowl matchup with the heavily-favored Baltimore Colts.
Namath guaranteed the Jets would beat the Colts, and they did, 16-7, making his claim one of the single-greatest guarantees in all of sports.
That was Namath's last great claim to fame, though, as he only made the playoffs one more time-the next season.
Namath spent the next seven seasons in New York battling injury and himself, as he never led the Jets to better than seven wins in a season again.