Joe Namath is speaking out again and said Peyton Manning wouldn't be interested in joining the New York Jets with their current roster and locker-room dysfunction.
"The Jets have to get their things together on their own turf before someone with his background would be interested in coming," Namath, 68, who led the Jets to their only Super Bowl title, told Bloomberg News today in a telephone interview from his Florida home.
Namath was probably alluding to the Jets 8-8 finish and verbal altercations between receiver Santonio Holmes and quarterback Mark Sanchez.
The Hall of Fame quarterback is familiar with Manning's situation. Namath also changed a team he was associated with late in his career; when he was waived by the Jets in 1977 at the age of 33. He signed with the Los Angeles Rams and played four games in one season.
Namath started eight games for the Jets in 1976 before he was released by New York. He said he didn't think he could have regained the starter's spot and wanted finish his career with a contender.
He said the process of leaving the Jets was "excruciating" and that he struggled to adjust to a new team and surroundings in Los Angeles.
"What was difficult for me, that I didn't appreciate, was how much all the newness could get in the way and be a distraction," he said. "I wasn't prepared for that feeling. the new faces, new places, new system."
Namath believes Manning's attention to detail and game preparation will allow him to adjust to a new system faster with a new team.
"I think he'll handle it much better than I did," he said.
Namath regrets leaving New York and, if he could do it again, wouldn't have traded Broadway for Hollywood— even with 80-year-old knees and hamstrings like old rubber bands.
"I didn't know that, when I made the decision to make the move," said Namath. "Knowing that I wasn't up to par physically, I wouldn't have left the Jets, absolutely not."
Namath has now changed his tune about the current Jets signal-caller Sanchez— whom he publicly knocked last season— and thinks he has the work ethic and skills to be the Jets quarterback for years to come.
Jets spokesman Bruce Speight sounded like someone defending their weird uncle when he responded to Bloomberg News via e-mail.
"We appreciate Joe and he is entitled to share his opinions," he said.
Namath said that with Manning's injury last season and the availability of Andrew Luck with the No. 1 draft pick, he wasn't surprised that the 35-year-old quarterback was released.
"Your heart might be in one place, but business is business," said Namath. "The No. 1 questions is, 'Is he going to be satisfied with the strength in his throwing arm?'"
So Broadway Joe, you can remain secure in the knowledge that you are still the best quarterback ever to wear the Jets green and white— except maybe for that Favre transient.