Top Five New York Jets Quarterbacks of All-Time


Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback

Geno Smith

(7) throws a pass in the second half at Sun Life Stadium. The Jets defeated Miami 37-24. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Time to try something new to pass the time of the off-season.

I want you guys to pick your own all-time Jets roster. The Jets may not have a great history of Super Bowl wins, but they have a rich history. The Jets have had their share of talent at each and every position on the roster. They have picked their own all-time team in the past, now I want to hear who you the fans would choose.

Here is how it will work. Each post will list the five top Jets at the position of the day. We will present a bit on each player, talking about their bona fides. At the end of each position post will be a poll for you to vote. The majority will set the Jets all-time roster at the Jet Press.

So, let’s get started. We start at the top with the quarterbacks. Don’t worry, the guy in the picture above is not one of the nominated players. Neither is Mark Sanchez.

Jan 31, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; New York Jets former quarterback Joe Namath on the red carpet prior to the NFL Honors award ceremony at Symphony Hall. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

We start with the most known of them all, Joe Namath. Whether you have been a Jets fan since Namath’s playing days, or you have heard about him from your parents, everyone knows Joe Namath. He has been the face of the Jets franchise forever, and the only one to lead the team to a Super Bowl title.

Namath is famous for the “guarantee”, telling the world that the Jets were going to beat the Colts and win the title, then going out and getting it done. In that game, Namath went 17-28 for 206 yards. Here are his career stats for our younger readers:


With a shade over 27,000 passing yards, Namath holds the Jets career mark.

Joe Namath will always hold a special place in Jets fans hearts, thanks to Super Bowl III. Candidate number one, Joe Namath.

A quarterback that means a lot to Jets fans everywhere is Vinny Testaverde. Testaverde came to the Jets in 1998, when Bill Parcells signed him to be the veteran backup to Glenn Foley. He didn’t do very well as the backup, because he didn’t spend much time in the role. He took over the Jets starting job quickly, and posted a starting record 12-1, throwing for 28 touchdowns vs. seven interceptions, and leading his team to an overall record of 12-4.

Testaverde made it to the Pro Bowl in 1998, marking his only appearance in the game as a Jets quarterback.

He has posted the top starting winning percentage as a Jets starting quarterback. He is the only guy that is nine games over .500, with a 35-26 record. He’s fifth in career passing yards with 12,497.

Will you pick #16, Vinny Testaverde?

Jan 31, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; New York Jets former quarterback Chad Pennington on the red carpet prior to the NFL Honors award ceremony at Symphony Hall. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Certainly the guy who fell into the hardest luck of the group is Chad Pennington. Pennington was drafted by the Jets in the first round of the 2000 draft. Pennington took over for Testaverde in early 2002, and took the league by storm, and the Jets for a ride. Pennington was 8-4 as a starter that year, completed a league high 68.9% of his passes, and led the league with a 104.2 passer rating.

That year, he led the Jets past the Colts 41-0 in the Wild Card game. Unfortunately, injuries haunted Pennington for the balance of his career, but he fought back from all of them. Each year that Pennington started a minimum of 10 games, the Jets were in the playoffs. In 2004, Pennington was a Doug Brien field goal away from leading the Jets to the AFC title game.

Despite the injuries, Pennington is one of the most efficient passers ever to play the game, and posted a completion percentage of 65.6% while in a Jets uniform.

You could make the argument that Pennington is the best.

Many Jets fans will not be familiar with the name Richard Todd, but he sits alone at third on the Jets all-time passing list, 18,241 yards. Todd was chosen by the Jets with the sixth overall pick in the 1976 draft, as the guy that was going to be the heir apparent to Joe Namath. Todd was with the Jets until 1983, and did lead the Jets to the AFC title game after the strike-shortened 1982 season. Thanks to Don Shula and the “Mud Bowl”, Todd threw five interceptions as footing was quite difficult.

Here are the career numbers for those unfamiliar with the Jets signal caller of the late 70’s and early 80’s:


Maybe you would like Richard Todd running your team.

We end with a personal favorite player from when I was growing up, Ken O’Brien. O’Brien is second in Jets history with 24,386 yards passing. O’Brien is one of the Jets best quarterbacks at protecting the football, throwing 124 touchdowns versus 95 interceptions while donning the Green and White.

His best season was 1985, when he threw for 25 touchdowns versus eight interceptions, and posting a miniscule 1.6% interception percentage. This guy could protect the football.

He was elected to the Pro Bowl twice, 1985 and 1991. O’Brien wasn’t a quick guy, sacked a whopping 62 times in 1985. Many have said that if the Jets had ever given Ken O’Brien a decent offensive lines, the Jets would have gone places.

But he never complained. Despite getting beaten up, Ken O’Brien always wanted to be a member of the Jets, and he should be commended. Maybe this is the guy you would put on your Jets all-time team.

So there you have it, the five top candidates for best Jets QB ever. Now it is your turn, please make your voice heard in the poll below.

Who is the best New York Jets quarterback ever?

Joe Namath

(60%, 56 Votes)

Ken O'Brien

(16%, 15 Votes)

Chad Pennington

(14%, 13 Votes)

Vinny Testaverde

(10%, 9 Votes)

Richard Todd

(1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 94

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