Joe Namath has never felt worse as a New York Jets fan.
The Hall of Fame quarterback who led the Jets to victory in Super Bowl III acknowledged this in a radio interview Monday that there is a lot of blame to go around for the team’s poor performance in a 1-2 start to the season.
But like many Jets fans, he’s frustrated with one person in particular: the starting quarterback Zach Wilson.
“I guess you don’t point the finger at one guy, but as a fan I certainly do – the guy who controls the ball and has to make decisions,” Namath said on “The Michael Kay Show” on ESPN New York Radio. “He must be right more than once. And we watched [Wilson] That was a few years ago and I no longer trust him at all.”
Of course, Wilson shouldn’t be the starting quarterback this year. He has struggled since being drafted second overall in 2021, so much so that the Jets acquired four-time league MVP Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers in the offseason to take over the position.
But Rodgers suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury just minutes into the opening game, leaving the offense back in Wilson’s hands. The Jets earned a 22-16 overtime win against the Buffalo Bills on the night of September 11, largely underperforming on defense and special teams, but Namath praised Wilson’s efficient performance that night on X (formerly Twitter).
“Zach, you did well!” Namath wrote after Wilson completed 14 of 21 passes for 140 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
The honeymoon was short.
Wilson completed 12 of 27 passes for 170 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions in a 30-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on September 17, and he was 18 of 30 passes for 150 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions in a 15-16 season. 10 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday.
“I don’t believe in him,” Namath said of Wilson on Monday. “I don’t think he has a future as a good player and I think they made the wrong choice when they signed him.”
But coach Robert Saleh told reporters on Monday that the Jets believe in Wilson. Tim Boyle, who is 0-3 in his four-year career as a starter, is the only other healthy player on the roster. Reports surfaced Tuesday that the Jets are signing veterans Trevor Siemian to their practice group.
“I know it’s going to fall on deaf ears and whatever, but what we’re seeing day in and day out is a young man who has improved significantly from last year,” Saleh said of Wilson on Monday. “He’s a lot more confident, he’s a lot more accurate, he’s a lot more in control of the scrum. He looks better in the bag.”
Namath isn’t buying it. When asked what he thought could be done to help Wilson improve, Broadway Joe said, “Send him to Kansas City to support someone like him.” [Patrick] Mahomes and maybe he would learn something. I wouldn’t keep him. You know, I’ve seen enough of Zach Wilson, okay? I’ve seen enough.”
Asked if that was the lowest he’d felt as a Jets fan, Namath said, “I think so.”
But the legendary quarterback said: “I’m not giving up. I’m rooting for them, but boy do they need to make some changes, starting on the field, on the sideline, or up top. Man, they need to get better.”