Joe Namath: Rex Ryan has Jets thinking they’re better than they are

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The greatest Jet of them all, Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath, says the current group of Jets players need to stop hearing how great they are, and start hearing that they need to buckle down and get to work.

And Namath said it’s coach Rex Ryan who bears the blame for the Jets being overconfident heading into Sunday’s loss to the Raiders.

“It’s rather alarming,” Namath said on the Michael Kay Show. “It starts at the top. Coach Rex Ryan, he’s been doing a great job, getting us to two conference championship games, but there’s one thing about the athlete: 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. He may be losing some respect for the other team.”

Namath — the man who famously guaranteed victory before Super Bowl III — never lacked for confidence. But he says there’s a difference between a player expressing confidence in himself and then backing it up on the field, and a coach telling his players that they’re the greatest when they haven’t won anything.

“I think these guys might be believing that they’re better than they are,” Namath said. “Rex has been the only coach that we know, in maybe the history of the game that I’m familiar with, that keeps continually telling his guys how good they are. And they have been pretty good — pretty good — but they haven’t won a championship yet. I think they’ve got to remember that there’s room for improvement.”

Part of the disconnect between Namath and Ryan is simply a matter of age: Namath played for Bear Bryant in college and Weeb Ewbank in the NFL, and those coaches employed an old-school approach of yelling, screaming and chewing players out, and rarely handing out compliments. (For some of Namath’s years with the Jets, one of the team’s assistants was Rex’s dad, Buddy Ryan, who was never shy about chewing his players out when they weren’t performing up to expectations.)

But Namath also seems to believe that Ryan is doing his players a disservice by not calling them out when they make mistakes — including what Namath called a “bonehead decision” by Mark Sanchez on an interception against the Raiders. In thinking the Jets are overconfident and questioning Ryan’s bravado, Namath may anger some Jets fans. But he’ll find a lot of fans of the other 31 NFL teams agreeing with him.

89 responses to “Joe Namath: Rex Ryan has Jets thinking they’re better than they are

  1. He should know…sounds like Broadway Joe’s legacy to me. He’s made a life out of being over-rated.

  2. @sundog05 says:
    Sep 26, 2011 5:27 PM
    “Joe Namath: Rex Ryan has Jets thinking they’re better than they are.”

    Isn’t that part of a coaches job?

    No…it isn’t. Part of a coaches job is to get you to play better than you think you can play. Not think you are better than you are.

  3. That Jets team is pretty damn good. Any other team, my squad would have ran out of the stadium.

    They have 3 big play WRs, a consistent TE, a clutch QB, a good O Line, and a good defense…My Raiders are just better.

  4. I’m no Jets fan, but Joe has done it on the field winning a superbowl. Rex hasn’t. Talk is cheap.

  5. Has Namath not seen what Rex does to his players when they don’t do good on Hardknocks? Joe is out of his mind, maybe that’s why he’s not a coach.

  6. Swan, over rated? If not for Swans big time catches when it mattered… Steelers perhaps do not win those super bowls in the 70’s.
    Year, SB, Rec. Yards Average TD
    1974 IX 0 0 0.0 0
    1975 X 4 161 40.3 1
    1978 XIII 7 124 17.7 1
    1979 XIV 5 79 15.8 1

    I give you 1974, you have that one on your side, but the 3 other super bowls, Swann was a big contributor. When it mattered, Swann was clutch.

  7. Joe Namath would know best…the New York media has been hyping old Joe’s career for decades. Look up his stats…he makes Tavrias Jackson look like the second coming of Tom Brady.

    Why is Namath in the Hall of Fame???!!!

  8. sundog05 says: Sep 26, 2011 5:27 PM

    “Joe Namath: Rex Ryan has Jets thinking they’re better than they are.”

    Isn’t that part of a coaches job?


    The coaches job is to get the best abilities out of his players and to coach them to execute it on game day. It is not to kiss their butts and tell them they are champions before they prove it.

  9. It’s amazing how much we hear from Namath about the jets. You don’t hear about barry sanders talking about the lions or dan Marino talking about the dolphins or Thurman Thomas (TOUCHDOWN!) talking about the bills.

  10. Never been a fan of Joe Namath. That being said, he has a valid point.

    Quit blowing smoke and taking snack breaks Rex, because I can promise you if the same team shows up that’s played the first three weeks, you will lose…

  11. I dispise the Jests but on this I will agree with Namath 100%. The Jets players have heard for 3 yrs now about how good they are, best player in the league, qb deserves to be rated with the elite, yada yada yada and when a player makes a mistake, Rex is quick to coddle ’em and tell ’em how good they are……it sends the wrong message to the players. they think they can screw up and it’s ok cuz they’re the best according to their coach. Personally I hope Rex keeps it up as it prevents the Jets from being “hungry” to prove their the best instead of just believing their coach.

  12. Namath was is a stud, and has my respect for what he has to say.

    This dude lost playing time several times due to tackles he made on interception returns. Few QB’s will do so today.

    Also, the hits on the QB’s back then were kill shots. His career was cut short, and I’ve never heard him complain. ie., Vick or not attempt to tackle an oppossiing player like Brady.

    Ask any of the greats from that era and they will back my words.

  13. Joe guarantee success rate 100%

    Rex guarantee success rate 0%

    Seems Joe knows when to speak and when not to. Maybe Rex could learn that.

  14. “I apologize Rex. I was venting over the Jets not winning the big one in a few decades.”

    “Can I kiss you?”

  15. @turdfurgerson68, clearly you have no idea the difference between generations of passing. John Elway’s stats also look pretty pedestrian compared to today’s numbers, but he was still the best of his generation.

  16. I don’t think what we hear is what the players hear, I’m sure it’s not all love in roses in the locker room. Rex got the Jets to the Championship game the last two years. I think he’s doing a pretty good job, he doesn’t have the greatest talent at every position. Like sundog said he’s supposed to make players think they can do it all.

  17. Come to bmore with that attitude and we will send your overrated asses back to the big apple with your Tails between ur legs.

  18. sundog05 says: Sep 26, 2011 5:27 PM

    “Joe Namath: Rex Ryan has Jets thinking they’re better than they are.”

    Isn’t that part of a coaches job?

    No Question about it! That IS his job.

  19. Rex Ryan: “Pay no attention to the man berhind the curtain! I am the great and powerful OZ!”

    Broadway Joe’s got this one right.

  20. I don’t know what Namath is talking about saying that the Jets haven’t won a championship under Ryan because according to Rex the Jets have already won 3 Super Bowls.

  21. Who cares what Joe Namath has to say!

    He’s just jealous that he was not a part of the greatest victory in the NYJets history, the 28-21 divisional win in Foxboro last January as the NY media proclaimed.

    Have fun in Baltimore, see you in two weeks.


  22. The new jersey jets average offense,qb who has been ok,d-line cant get pressure without blitzing and their coach is a bit of a clown.Does ANYONE really think they are going to win the superbowl anytime soon?

  23. “Joe Namath: Rex Ryan has Jets thinking they’re better than they are.”

    Rex also has the fans thinkingn the Jets are better than they are.

  24. The negative comments about Namath are amazing. This is a guy who took a slightly above average football team of his day and made it good…very good. It was Joe who took them to the top of the mountain. He wasn’t Trent Dilfer… along for the ride.
    It was Joe that elevated those around him, not the other way around. I’m not even a Jets fan, in fact, Joe was the enemy at the time.

    It didn’t stop me from having his poster on my wall growing up as a young kid, right next to Gale Sayers.

  25. Y’know, if Joe Willie were coach, I’d be scared to death of how good the Jets could (and possibly would) be. With Ryan, he’s got to learn that puffing your players heads with ego-inflation only causes them to stub their collective toes more often then not.

    And we know that can’t happen to feet when Rex is around. 😉

    Cut down the bravado and maybe they finally get to Indianapolis in February.

  26. So Joe Namath says the Jet’s are not as good as Rex & Yet’s fans think they are.

    Is there news here?

    We all know the Jets are overrated as is Rex Ryan. Same old Jets!!!

  27. I despise the LOWLY Jets BUT Raiders fans and Bills fans should really stop talking smack. Its week 4 and your teams have finally played well. Kudos. But they have not accomplished anything yet this year, nor the past several so button yer yaps fools.

  28. I remember when he said he would win and he backed it up. Rex is a wanna be.

    You clowns that don’t like him don’t cause him to lose any sleep. What have you ever done in your life?

  29. So,,, lets see,,The only positive season-Championship the jets have ever had,,came from Namath…Almost 43 years ago. Happy anniversary jet fans.

    Take Namath away, and what do jets have???? Effing nothing!!!…So why all the bragging, big talk bs?????

    Sad when Namath of all people..gets tired of the talk too.

  30. EVERYONE thinks Revis is better than he is. He put up zero tackles yesterday. Against a team that ran 32 times….

  31. gobills716 says:
    Sep 26, 2011 6:00 PM
    Well it’s clear the Jets have a long way to go before they can compete with THE BUFFALO BILLS!!!

    Going as boinkers as you are in Sept..does not bode well.

    Relax Bills’s along season…Right now, Bills fans have classic case of premature ejaculation

  32. gobills716 – congrats on yesterday. My guys didn’t give it away – your guys TOOK it.

    Who do you play this weekend? We play in Oakland – look for a beatdown.

    See you Jan 1

  33. Joe Namath ‘the best of his generation’??? Not by a long shot. Look at the stats….they don’t lie. Ken Anderson was the best of his generation, closely followed by Staubach. Hell, Bert Jones was a better QB then Namath!

  34. Knocked out Crapmartie and broke Mark “hot dog” sanchez’s nose, Jets fans should be panicking!! especially losing to those “loser” Oakland Raiders……..hahahahahaaha!!! REAL BULLIES took this one……RRRAAAAIIIDDDEEERSSS!!!!!!! even ESPN wont talk more than 30 seconds on the embarrassing defeat!! LOVE IT!! smile haters…your team is NEXT!!!

  35. Joe Willie may be a blowhard, who parlayed one mediocre performance in a SB into a career doing…well, I’m not sure what, exactly, but….he has a point. After every Jets loss, Ryan says, “I got outcoached.” Even if he’s chewing them out behind the scenes (which doesn’t fit into either of the two most popular Ryan memes, which is that he’s A) a player’s coach, and B) a straight shooter, it still wouldn’t hurt the Jets players once in a while to hear their coach call them out in public and challenge them to do better. Constantly saying, “it’s not the guys’ fault, it’s mine” is like a parent constantly taking the blame for their kids’ shortcomings. At a certain point, Dad has to let the kid take responsibility for his actions.

  36. Everyone is always hating on Rex Ryan but that is his style and his players play hard for him.
    I think he is just trying to give the Jets a mindset where they are confident and think they should win every game. When you think you are going to win you usually do and vice versa. It is a self fulfilling mindset.

    I wish we had a vocal, engaging coach like this in Minnesota, instead of an emotionless statue who stands there with his arms crossed while everything goes to hell around him week after week. Instead of expecting to win with a double digit lead at the half, his players are all waiting for the other shoe to drop in the form of another epic collapse.

  37. Broadway Joe, interesting take, but the truth is is the Raiders opened up a can on the Jets. I was there, I saw Rex carry his big gut off the field with his head hangin low…Raider Nation,..oh hey Tom Bunchen, youre next.

  38. Someone apparently keeps making the mistake of telling Rex Ryan he’s better than he is too

    Namath guaranteed a Super Bowl win and delivered. Rex guaranteed a Super Bowl win and suffered the Agony of De-Feet before even making it to the Championship.

  39. 1historian says:
    Sep 26, 2011 7:00 PM
    gobills716 – congrats on yesterday. My guys didn’t give it away – your guys TOOK it.

    Who do you play this weekend? We play in Oakland – look for a beatdown.

    See you Jan 1
    Dang Historian, I know the Raiders are looking good, but you really think your Pats will get beatdown two weeks in a row? I mean you’re probably right but you should try and support your team better 🙂 Go Raiders!

  40. Rex also effected the Jets tiny little fan base, and swelled their heads to epic proportions.


  41. Wait until the AFC East leading Buffalo Bills stomp the Jets. Maybe then they will realize how overrated they really are.

  42. Joe Namath was the “greatest Jet of them all”? He had a career losing record as a starting quarterback and threw more interceptions than touchdowns. Look up the stats. If he’s the “greatest Jet of them all”, then the rest of the Jets in history must have really sucked. How and why he’s in the Hall of Fame is completely beyond me.

  43. ny82jy,

    just responding to your post at 4:40PM on Sunday. Little early celebration for jets fans?

    Two more weeks but first Baltimore?


  44. Namath’s numbers are pedestrian at best…in any era. Barely a 50% completion %…..50% !!!

  45. “42 years later why is Broadway Joe still relevant?”

    Because he was the biggest sports star of his generation. He was the Beatles of sports. And anyone who thinks Ken Anderson or Bert Jones was a better QB than Namath needs to stop living in fantasy stat world. Namath was voted the starting QB on the all-time AFL team. Also, Lynn Swann was a great receiver – it’s a shame some of you never saw these guys actually play.

  46. The only guy in the Hall of Fame because of one game, wearing panty hose and having Kirk Douglas’s chin.

    Hey Joe. Maybe it was the Raiders are that good.

  47. Some of these posts imply Joe won a ring by accident.

    First AFL team to win the big game, that was a huge deal at the time when the AFL teams were thought to be very sub-par to the entrenched NFL teams.

    Learn some history. Have some respect.

  48. Ah in the end a drunk Broadway Joe will want to kiss Rex’s wife’s feet and Rex will tape it and all will be happy

  49. It’s just…. Namath is a strange messenger for the calming “be realistic & keep perspective” message

  50. Those of you slamming Namath for his stats
    are kind of broadcasting your ignorance of
    the game. In NAMATH’s day, receivers could
    be beat down like it was a gang initiation,
    and QBs got hit hard, routinely…drawing a
    flag only if a punch to the face came more than
    30 minutes after the QB released the ball.

    The great Johnny Unitas had a lousy 78.2 passer rating under those conditions,
    which, in today’s game, would place him 26th
    of the 32 NFL starters. Yeah, I know what you’re
    “That’s cool, ’cause Johnny U was
    no rockin’ Chad Henne (82.4)!!”

  51. waldoampere says:
    Sep 26, 2011 8:19 PM
    “42 years later why is Broadway Joe still relevant?”

    Because he was the biggest sports star of his generation. He was the Beatles of sports. And anyone who thinks Ken Anderson or Bert Jones was a better QB than Namath needs to stop living in fantasy stat world. Namath was voted the starting QB on the all-time AFL team. Also, Lynn Swann was a great receiver – it’s a shame some of you never saw these guys actually play
    Got that right buddy, I spent my paper route money to go to Raiders games in the sixties, this was Football! Saw Otis (University of Mars ) Sistrunk clothesline so many guys it just doesn’t compare to today. And Decon Jones? If Suh with his body could get away with half of what Mr. Jones did teams wouldn’t even show up.

  52. For those of us that watched Joe Namath play on bad knees and with a less than stellar supporting cast at times, it is a bit much to say that Ken Anderson or Bert Jones were better QB’s. You need to look at context. Namath came around to the AFL in 1965 before a merger deal was in place with the NFL.

    In his 4th year he took the Jets to the AFL playoffs. They finished 11-3 and played the 12-2 defending AFL Champion Oakland Raiders in the AFL Championship. A game that was close until the final minute. He may not have single handedly won Super Bowl III, but he also did not go out and lose it either.

    I don’t know that he necessarily deserves to be in the HOF based on his stats. But for his being as a previous post stated, “the Beatles of the sports world”, and his contribution to the game in the late 1960’s, he deserves to be there. And he did this prior to the rule change that stopped pass receivers from being mugged down the field.

    Joe Namath’s opinion has just as much validity as anyone else out there. If you actually watched the game against Oakland it looked like the Jets thought a 17-7 lead was their cue to relax and dial it in.

    Just because Namath expresses his opinion about Rex Ryan does not mean that his whole career and life since 1969 is on trial. His point was that Ryan is not keeping the players focused. Sundays game was testimony to his statement.

  53. Ok defenders of Namath, I will cut to the one stat we all agree on…… 62wins – 63 losses – 4 ties.
    . 3 winning seasons in 13yrs. You are right, he is the greatest ever. Defenses were able to clobber receivers, so of course the QB can’t actually be expected to, you know, win.
    Forget the 65.5 career rating, the 50 more picks than TD’s. You are right, none of that matters. Joke.

  54. It was just a different game then.

    There’s a reason that there isn’t a single
    contemporary of Namath’s in the top 25
    career passer ratings…

    That the Jets weren’t very good during
    much of his career isn’t really his fault…

    No one else ever threw for 4,000 yards
    in a 14 game season, in those brutal times.

    I can only guess that you didn’t see him

  55. As others have said, Rex lauds his team in public and chides those that screw up in private. It’s Basic Management 101: praise publicly, criticize privately.

    Joe knows not of what he speaks.

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