Surely to the chagrin of a certain green fireman, I wanted to rank Joe Namath lower on this list.
He's in the Pro Football Hall of Fame despite numbers that do not warrant such acclaim. Regarding his rank on this countdown, there are two fields of people reacting:
Those who are saying, "Aha! Finally, somebody calls out the Namath blindfold!"
The others are the loyalists, ready to defend Namath to the death, replying, "football is more than numbers, numbskull!"
He has 47 more interceptions in his career than touchdowns and struggled to complete 50 percent of his passes. To quote the song in the video, "He can pass a football through a needle's eye."
Sadly, a lot of those needles stitched jerseys that were not green.
It would be easy to give him a pass, stating he played in a different era and radically changed the definition of a polished quarterback. Butt where is the evidence?
There were far, far more efficient quarterbacks who were also winning championships at the exact same time—or within a few years of Broadway's career (a few later in this list).
In fact, a pedestrian quarterback with as many interceptions as touchdowns and a meager 55 percent completion rate would have better numbers than Joe Namath. Numbers don't lie.
Wearing that yellow jacket was certainly a proud moment for Joe Namath, who challenged preconceptions of how a professional quarterback and team leader should carry himself, always being the first to buck convention for the sake of individualism and flamboyance.
There is no doubt that his guaranteed win over the Baltimore Colts in the third AFL/NFL Championship Game changed the perception of the AFC, and thus the history of football.
There can be no debate that his big arm, outspoken attitude and colorful persona in such a huge market like New York were anything but good for the game of football.
The problem is that the guarantee, which was considered a fluke by many until Len Dawson and the Chiefs beat Minnesota one year later, also changed the perceptions Namath's career.
Looking at his statistics, had the Colts played their best game on that Sunday against the Jets, would the jet-setting Namath of gridiron and pantyhose fame be in the great hall?
In fact, looking at his numbers, Namath garbed in a yellow jacket seems counter-intuitive to the greatness of the players in the almighty shrine.
With a 65.5 career quarterback rating, let's be perfectly honest. A great quarterback Namath was not. Yet, he is a reflection of times that Jets fans look back on fondly. He is arguably one of the fathers of the football we know today.
In that manner, to take the name of the hallowed hall literally is to focus on the word fame. Joe had plenty of that, rising to the top of lists such as "men who have ladies batting their eyelashes" and Richard Nixon's "enemies list."
Sadly, one of those lists was quite real.
While his statistical efficiency doesn't add up to even the lowest quarterbacks on this list (Jake Delhomme or Scott Mitchell had more efficient numbers), my ancestors always talk about how the big-armed Namath changed the way the game was played with his willingness to pass downfield.
So for all of his lackluster, or moreover awful passing numbers, what gives? Why isn't he ranked lower than even Scott Mitchell?
One word: impact. He made a difference in the history of the game.
How much of that is skewed by the mythology of a single guarantee can be debated. I can't justify a higher ranking. In fact, I hesitated during his selection as the finest Jets' quarterback ever.
That said, he was a champion and an important face in the history of the NFL.
Further, I truly believe most New York fans idolize Namath for something beyond his numbers: for the life he breathed into the game and the excitement that surrounded him.
For that reason above others, Namath is popularly regarded as the Jets finest all-time QB.