Eli Manning retired from the NFL on Friday, ending a career that brought multiple championships to the New York Giants' organization. At least in the eyes of one other legendary New York sports legend, Manning might be the greatest QB in the city's history.
“I was pretty good and did some things. Eli, I marveled at. He was remarkable,” Joe Namath told The New York Post on Friday. “I wouldn’t compare myself to Eli. He’s done far more than I ever did on the field.”
Namath, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, won only one Super Bowl in his career, making just a single Pro Bowl appearance. He also made four AFL All-Star appearances.
Manning, on the other hand, finished his career with two rings and four Pro Bowl appearances. His Hall of Fame candidacy, however, is very much up for debate.
“If, if, if. It’s bulls–t. The games played. The durability. The playoffs," Namath said of Manning's legacy. "I remember early on he was getting some heat, he didn’t always smile much, but every player that’s ever played with Eli swears by his work ethic and his character.”
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Like Manning, however, Namath is forever linked to Super Bowl history—specifically connected to the city in which next week's Super Bowl takes place.
As Sports Illustrated's Michael Rosenberg noted this week, Namath's famous guarantee occurred in Miami as he was tired of hearing that the NFL’s Baltimore Colts were 18-point favorites over his team.
New York won that Sunday, ushering in a new era of pro football. The Super Bowl became must-see for any American sports fan, and Broadway Joe became a superstar.