Joe Namath made one of the most famous predictions in sports history, and then went out and led his New York Jets to a shocking Super Bowl III victory over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts of the NFL.
Since then, “Broadway Joe” has become a caricature of himself and made plenty of wild predictions that have not made much sense in the real world. Perhaps Namath was drunk in public once again on Tuesday afternoon, as he boldly predicted that Geno Smith would become the Jets starting quarterback for 2016.
Joe Namath said at NYC luncheon Tuesday, "I think Geno's going to be the starting quarterback no matter if Fitzpatrick comes back or not."
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 15, 2016
The Jets and free agent quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick have been at a long-term impasse over a new deal for him to stay with the team. Said impasse appears to not be ending any time soon either, as the team started mandatory mini-camp without their starter from last season and are likely to wait it out until close to the start of training camp if necessary.
Smith, who was supposed to be last season’s starter before being punched in the face by a teammate during training camp, was sidelined for the opener and Fitzpatrick never looked back as the starter. He had a career year, and that has led to higher contract demands for what has essentially been a journeyman’s career in the NFL.
As for Smith, Namath is indeed bold in his prediction, as the numbers aren’t exactly kind to Smith being a capable starter in the NFL.
In 31 career games, Smith has completed 57.9% of his passes, with 27 touchdowns, 35 interceptions and seven fumbles.
Namath may boldly go where no man has gone with his tongue, but will his Jets make him right in the end? Will Smith finally break out, regardless of Fitzpatrick’s contract status? The next six to eight weeks in Jets camp sure will be interesting.