Joe Namath has never been shy about his opinions. The football Hall of Famer and legendary New York Jets quarterback is in the headlines again for criticizing the team and their use, or non-use, of the still-new Tim Tebow. The Jets’ acquired Tebow during the summer and were criticized almost immediately, with football pundits diagnosing the locker room as a “circus” before the season even began.
“We seem to have regressed with talent,” Namath told the SNY podcast, transcribed by NFL.com. “The last two years at least. The last three years. And I don't know who's picking the players we bring in. ... We sign a guy today, an undrafted guard -- or yesterday or whatever -- it's terrific. I'm disappointed in the talent we have, and I think you gotta start looking at who's doing the picking and why.”
While Namath’s pronouncements have been debated in the past, this time he seems to be simply stating the obvious for many Jets fans. At the midpoint of this season the team has a 3-5 record and is coming off a 30-9 drubbing at the hands of the division rival Miami Dolphins.
Namath also told SNY how unimpressed he is with the performance of the Jets brass.
“I don't want to hear about 'Can't find talent.' How do the other teams around the league -- that are so consistent -- continually find talent?
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“I think that the fans haven't been given a fair shake. I don't think they get a straight story, often enough, from the powers that be,” he said. “I think it's kind of condescending talk ... in telling us how they're developing and who they're getting. I think it's been disrespectful. We can go right to the Tebow thing. I mean, come on. If you're bringing him in to play, where's he been? Are you bringing him [in] to make other people practice longer? Are you bringing him in, trying to get media headlines?”
The last statement might hurt the most as the Jets have been accused of publicity-mongering since they hired head coach Rex Ryan in 2009. Described as arrogant by some and lovable by others, Ryan has had a dismal record on the field since leading the team to the AFC championship in each of his first two seasons.
He was in the news again Thursday for standing behind cornerback Antonio Cromartie’s guarantee will make the playoffs, despite the uphill battle they have ahead of them.
“I feel as an entire football team that we should all feel like that. And I think we do feel like that,” Ryan said to the New York Daily News. “Nobody wants to hear it, but who cares? That’s really how we feel. That’s our mentality. Whether you like it or not, that’s our mentality. I would think the Jets fans and the Jet community, obviously, they would want us to feel that way. And we do.”
While Namath would probably disagree, he does seem to be standing behind his comments from earlier this season. At the time Jets fans weren’t happy that Broadway Joe criticized their hot new addition, but now some might think he was dead on.
“I don’t think he can consistently play the quarterback position as we know it as opposed to the wildcat without improving his passing accuracy,” Namath said of Tebow to ESPN. “You’ve got to be more accurate than that today, and Tim’s got a big motion. He’s working on it, and he can improve it. So that remains to be seen.”