Ah, yes. The greatest NFL quarterback of all time debate. Go ask 10 people on the street today, and you could get six or seven different answers to the question. To an older generation, it is Johnny Unitas. If you watched football in the 1980s, you might vote for Joe Montana. Oh, you want to talk about the 1990s? You’ve got Brett Favre, John Elway and Steve Young in the mix. With inflated numbers in today’s NFL, well, the list gets a little absurd.
But when you talk about stone-cold winners, there might be none better than Joe Namath and Tom Brady. Namath guaranteed victory, then his New York Jets upset the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Brady, well, all he’s done is win six world titles and 30 playoff games, almost twice as many as second place (Joe Montana, 16).
When the iconic radio host asked Namath what makes Brady so great, “Broadway Joe” gave a straight-forward answer as to why he believes the New England Patriots legend cemented himself as the NFL’s greatest quarterback ever.
Joe Namath on Tom Brady
“Tom is the best. I’ve been asked that question for many years. Johnny [Unitas] was my hero. Otto Graham was great, Slingin’ Sammy Baugh when I go back … But meantime, Tom has been challenged more in recent history, certainly, with huge games, than anyone I can recollect, and he stepped up every time … I actually lost games for our team by throwing poorly, throwing interceptions. I have not seen Tom Brady lose a game for his team.”
“I would have to say he’s the best at answering the challenge there ever was, yes. I’ve not seen anybody have that many big games, and answer the challenge, as well as he has.”
— Joe Namath, h/t The Howard Stern Show
Namath also mentioned one name that gets left out of the G.O.A.T. conversation every single time, but he believes should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That would be Archie Manning, who played for the New Orleans Saints during the 1970s, also known as one of the worst decades by a franchise in NFL history. (Manning’s career record as a starter was 35-101-3.)
Peyton Manning out-smarted everyone. Aaron Rodgers is deadly accurate. Drew Brees is a once-in-a-generation leader. Roger Staubach and Bart Starr built two of the greatest franchises in the National Football League.
However, in Namath’s eyes, there’s only one who’s truly the best quarterback ever, and he’s proven it time and time again. That’d be the future Hall of Famer, No. 12.
You can see him stepping onto the field at Gillette Stadium for his 20th season, proving to everyone exactly why he’s the greatest quarterback to ever play the game.
This post was originally published June 24, 2019.