Joe Namath casts a giant shadow on the New York Jets as a franchise, an organization that has struggled to find a solution at quarterback since 1976. For at least seven years, however, in Vinny Testaverde the Jets had an absolutely tremendous quarterback who individually found success and helped the Jets to some of their best seasons in recent history.
And for some reason, while Testaverde is revered by the fanbase, he isn’t often considered among the best players in franchise history.
A veteran of 21 seasons in the NFL, Testaverde spent seven years with the Jets beginning in 1998 when he made one of the two Pro Bowl appearances of his career. Those seven seasons are the most of any of the seven teams he played for in the league.
During that stretch, Testaverde was a regular starter as the team made the playoffs four times over the span of seven seasons, very nearly making the Super Bowl in 1998. They won the AFC East twice with Testaverde as their starting quarterback.
And while injuries hit him hard causing him to miss 47 games during his Jets’ career, he was still the reason why the Jets put together a solid run of success.
In 65 games (61 starts), he had 12,947 passing yards with 77 touchdowns and 58 interceptions. It was a strong run of form for both Testaverde and the team during those years. He was a huge part of that success.
But is he Mount Rushmore good?
Already on the franchise’s Mount Rushmore is the aforementioned Namath, running back Curtis Martin and cornerback Darrelle Revis. Three different players, three different positions and three different eras when the Jets had success.
Testaverde and Martin overlap for much of the same era, a knock against his candidacy to be the fourth face in stone on Mount Rushmore. He also missed a huge number of games, his longevity and viability certainly not a selling point.
And while the team was relatively good during this stretch, there was no Super Bowl win (Namath) and a lack of Pro Bowl and All-Pro lists or the similar accolades that Namath, Martin and Revis all had throughout their career.
Testaverde had a great Jets career. He surely is deserving of being a Jets legend, but this is the next step up. Like Chad Pennington, Testaverde was very good, maybe even outstanding. But his seven years with the Jets just fell short in a few areas.
Instead, the fourth and final spot will shortly be unveiled. It will be a defensive player, hint hint.