We’ve long been considering having today’s debate. I believe it was Bleacher Fan who came up with the idea some six months ago, and I loved it from the start (Editor’s Note: The idea was also pushed along by reader Old School. Thanks, Old School.). We finally have found a spot for it today and I think you’ll like it. Which current NFL Hall of Fame player is the least deserving? Now, before dismissing the subject of my article, give the prosecution a chance to present the case! I fully believe that Joe Namath – yes, THAT Joe Namath – is the least deserving player in the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
“Broadway Joe” is arguably one of the NFL’s most recognizable and historic faces. And that was before his flirtation with Suzy Kolber. Growing up a huge NFL fan, I always heard about “Joe Willie,” especially living in the South since he went to college at Alabama. Most of you know how he guaranteed victory over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. As much as you’ve probably heard about Namath, you’d probably think he’d have numbers comparable to guys like Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, and Tom Brady. Guess what? You’d be wrong!
In 13 seasons in the AFL/NFL, Namath threw 173 touchdowns and 220 interceptions. Yes, you read that correctly. That’s 47 more interceptions than touchdowns for you math majors out there. That statistic baffles me. His 27,663 passing yards is respectable, but that averages out to a little over 2,100 a season over 13 seasons. Even Mark Brunell threw for more passing yards. Is Mark Brunell a Hall of Famer? Hardly!
His career completion percentage hovers around 50 percent. Wow! Maybe Michael Vick deserves to be in the Hall! Also, any guesses about what his record was as a quarterback was? He had 77 wins, 108 losses, and three ties! Yes, that’s right!
What part of any of that statistical background screams “Hall of Fame quarterback?” The only reason he is in the Hall of Fame is because of one game, and one game only – Super Bowl III. He led the underdog Jets to a huge upset over the Colts. For all of the publicity Namath gets for that victory, it was actually the Jets defense that often gets overlooked in that game and deserves much of the credit. That group caused five turnovers, including four interceptions. Did you know that Namath didn’t even throw a touchdown the entire game? He didn’t even throw a pass the entire fourth quarter! Yet, he was named the MVP of the game! Go figure!
He’s one of the most recognizable names in NFL history. But I still contend that Joe Namath is one of the most overrated players in NFL history, and he doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame.