Atlanta remembers NFL superstar Joe Namath well and long before the NY Jets coach Rex Ryan told the football legend this week that “If he can still throw” he’d let him play backup quarterback to a losing team.
Joe Namath took the fair city of Atlanta by storm on the football field a little over 43 years ago on a knee just healed from surgery five months earlier, leading the New York Jets into a 27-12 win over the Atlanta Falcons, Cordon White reported for the NY Times back then.
The football superstar who commanded a contract of almost a half a million dollars (unheard of back then in 1965), would also go on to win AFL Rookie of the Year in 1965 and become the first quarterback to boast 4,000 yards in a single season two years later.
But Joe Namath’s greatest claim to fame was that when he bragged that the New York Jets would win the NFL Super Bowl III, Joe Namath flat out delivered.
That’s more than can be said about the current NY Jets coach, who has become known for his boasting without being able to back it up. Now, as football legend Joe Namath attempts to help a floundering coach get his team back into a winning strategy by a few words of advice from a pro, he’s met with insults about his age and his inability at age 68 to lead the team on the field himself.
USA Today reported that Ryan had this to say in response: “Namath can come in here, and if he can still throw, we’ll have him as a backup…”
Namath said Ryan wasn’t helping the players by continuing to tell them how good they are, as that isn’t really preparing them for the game; it’s causing them not to get fully prepared or to take their opponent seriously, which is becoming evident in the Jets’ loss record.
“If you keep telling him how good he is, he’s going to start believing it, to the point that he may not be preparing quite the way he should.”
Namath says this can prompt players “to lose respect for the other team,” thus minimizing how much they think they need to get ready to defeat them. And Joe Namath should know, having a stellar career in the sport that spanned over a decade — and landed in the Hall of Fame in addition to all his other football accolades and achievements.
Rex Ryan, on the other hand, continues to boast but fail to deliver according to the NY Jets stats.
“The great thing is I’m confident with our football team,” Rex Ryan said, but the three-year coach for New York’s football team can’t win a game on confidence alone, continuing to lose opportunities that would see them reach the pinnacle Namath did for the city.
“I’ve never gone into a game I didn’t think I’d win,” the losing coach insists. But thinking it and doing it are obviously two very different things and Rex Ryan might be wise to actually have Joe Namath assist with the NY Jets preparedness. It certainly can’t hurt their performance to have a football pro help from the sidelines.
Joe Namath took the NY Jets to their Superbowl III win against the Colts years ago, but it will be Atlanta’s Falcons who face down the team next on Nov. 6 at the Lucas Oil Stadium, where Atlanta will be attempting to make the second half of the season the road that they travel to a Superbowl win, too.