Wilson is just the latest in a string of QB hopefuls that have been dubbed "franchise saviors" by the optimists of the fan base.
From Richard Todd and Ken O'Brien to Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith, and, of course, Wilson's predecessor, Sam Darnold, the Jets have run through quarterback after quarterback in hopes that they could finally end their decades-long search for Namath's heir-apparent.
The Super Bowl III MVP was recently asked about Wilson and his thoughts about the Jets this season, as he so often is, and he had some high praise for the team's newest signal-caller.
Joe Namath believes in Zach Wilson and the NY Jets.
Per Dennis Waszak Jr. of the Associated Press, Namath mentioned that he hasn't met Wilson yet, but that he's watched tape on him. And he's impressed.
"I’m looking forward to meeting Zach [Wilson]. I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting and talking with him, so it’s hard to try to evaluate someone without sitting down and visiting with them, talking and seeing how they operate, listening to them, exchanging verbiage. But to me, what I’ve watched of him on tape or on television, oh yeah, man, he’s an athlete. He makes the throws, he moves around. A gifted athlete."- Joe Namath, on Zach Wilson
Namath, of course, is complimentary of every new quarterback the Jets bring in to Florham Park. He said the same about Darnold, Smith, Sanchez, and seemingly every QB the franchise has hoped would be "the guy."
Wilson is no different. However, the Jets are hoping that Wilson will be different where it counts.
The former BYU star was selected with the second overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft — the highest the Jets have drafted a quarterback since Namath was taken first overall in the 1965 AFL Draft.
Wilson will be under the same pressure that his predecessors faced as he attempts to become the franchise QB the Jets haven't had since Namath.
Namath remarked that not only does he believe in Wilson, but he believes in general manager Joe Douglas and the direction of the organization.
"Joe Douglas has put something together, I really believe that. We have a lot of optimism now. And I say ‘we’ because I am a fan, too. I’m one of them, one of the many that have endured some losing seasons. But, yes, man, we have reason to be really optimistic."- Joe Namath
As Namath insists, "these fans deserve a championship." And Namath still considers himself one of the many Jets faithful yearning for a Super Bowl. Or at the very least, a return to relevancy.
Perhaps that will come with Douglas, Robert Saleh, and Wilson at the helm. A new era of Jets football is once again underway.
Here's to hoping that this era lasts longer than the previous one did.