Joe Namath Feels ‘Awful’ About Testy Relationship With Jets

NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Joe Namath had just watched a film about a young quarterback who threw too many interceptions, then learned to trust his teammates and led his club to a championship.

He believes someday the same story could be told about Mark Sanchez.

The Hall of Famer saw the new HBO documentary about his life for the first time at a screening in Manhattan on Wednesday night. Images of the glamorous QB leading the Jets to a Super Bowl title inevitably lead to questions about whether the current photogenic starter at that position can finally lead the franchise back to glory.

“He’s going to learn from his mistakes,” Namath said. “He needs the help around him. He presses at times. He wants to do things because he’s expected to.”

Namath added: “I think he got a little tired of being, ‘The kid this, the kid that.’ Hey, he’s made it through three seasons now, and he’s not a kid. He’s a man out there. He’s a man and, if they get the people around him, he’s going to be fine.”

Just look at the city’s other quarterback. Namath is rooting for the Giants in the Super Bowl, by the way.

“How about our man, Eli?” he said. “Eli is better than he was three years ago, two years ago. Right now, Mark Sanchez is going to better than he was this past season.”

Namath has been vocal in his criticism of the Jets’ leadership at times in recent years and makes clear that’s where his concern lies — not with Sanchez.

“I feel awful about my relationship with the Jets right now,” he said.

“I don’t want them upset with Joe, but damn it I have to say what I see, what I think, what I feel. I think we can do some things better,” Namath said, still referring to the Jets as “we.”

He won’t say Sanchez needs to be a better leader because he doesn’t believe a quarterback can boss around those big linemen.

“I didn’t push any kind of leadership,” Namath said. “Lead by example as a football player, as the quarterback: to know the plan frontwards, backwards; be able to answer; know my guys; convince them I was ready and would give it my best. But no taking over a locker room. You have to have someone with the strength of the guy over in Baltimore — maybe Ray Lewis — you’ve got to be a beast to do that kind of thing, man.”

Of course, Namath always did things the unconventional way. Teammates in the documentary tell of how he would show up with a hangover at games and still somehow play well.

Namath says he was sober for 13 years after the birth of his children, but his divorce sent him back to drinking. That was revealed very publicly during an on-air interview at a Jets game in 2003, when a visibly drunk Namath repeatedly told ESPN reporter Suzy Kolber he wanted to kiss her.

“I think the way I felt about it at the time was, he’s a really good guy having a bad moment that happened to be captured on national television,” she says in the film.

Namath didn’t cooperate with an earlier biography about him, but he said he agreed to help with the documentary because he trusted HBO and its partner in the movie, NFL Films. “Namath” premieres Saturday.

As Namath spoke to reporters after the screening, a young woman brought over a coffee. He joked that he initially thought it was Johnnie Walker: “You see how things have changed.”

Do you agree that Sanchez will be fine with the right roster? Sound off in the comments below…

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  • fel

    no sanchez is done and out

  • Chris Terrence

    Joe Namath was the King of Football in the late sixties and early seventies. He was a great teammate and he led by his example of what the concept of team was all about. I met him a few times in Hempstead at Bill’s Meadowbrook club and he was great to everybody. Quiet and kind of shy, but there was no doubt about who the team and fans looked up to. A true hero to so many fans and so he wasn’t perfect , then again who is? Joe was like Mickey Mantle and the Beatles all rolled into one, and he was absolutely thrilling to watch him play the game of football. I hope he can work things out with Rex, and his life, and I wish him well in his sobriety.

  • Don Podrasky

    Yep, I stated before, In the New Orleans game, Bradshaw said he would have never thjrown that TD pass to of the others said, it was because Brees trusts his recivers to make plays..Sanchez does not have that, with both Holmes and Plex dropping ball as they try to get to the ground before they are hit. Plex dropped on in the Red Zone against the PAts the 2nd time , that could have changed the game around, Holmes gift wrapped two turnover because he was trying to get to the ground…They should tade Holmes and any draft picks they ask, to the CArds for Fitzgerald..but the CArds are dumb enough, to bring someone like Holmes there.

    YOu have to bite the bullet and cut him, he’s worthless..forget the money, its the price you paid for being foolish enough to give it to him..bring in lower tier cuys who can catch, who want to play football and don’t point the ball every time they catch a 5 yard pass for a first down!

  • Jon T

    I for one could care less about Joe Namath’s opinion, all of a sudden he wants to come out of the woodwork. He doesn’t agree with some of the coache’s, all of a sudden he’s a quarterback guru. He ought to mind his business and stick his big nose back into his bottle.

    • Go Green

      Apparently there are many others who do care about what Joe has to say. Joe did not just appear in the media this week. He is a regular and much listened to guest on the Michael Kay show on ESPN 1050 in New York and has been giving his objective opinions for along time.

      He is right on with his criticism of the Jets performance on the field and off.

      Let’s hope this past season was a learning one for the Jets and hopefully contending next year.

  • E Woods

    It is hard to say for sure, but I can tell you that Mark doesn’t have the tools of a superstar. After three years, no person ever asked if Joe Montana or John Elway was good enough.

  • BMA

    Tannenbaum needs to go get a RIGHT TACKLE so that Sanchez can get the ball down field. He also needs to get younger and faster with team first attitude at WR.

    • ..

      in other words, Sanchez has no flaws, it’s the players around him & the coaching that stinks, Sanchez is perfect.

      Makes you wonder on why then is his passing rating one of the worst in the NFL (23rd) this year and has been for the last 3 yrs. 27th in 2010 & 28th in 2009.

      It has nothing to do with the facts he can’t throw the ball longer than 20 yrds. It has nothing to do with the fact he can’t read the defense and make adjustments when needed in finding an open receiver.

      Sanchez is perfect.

      • Master Shake

        in other words, it’s a team effort. When you think about it, the QB is only really involved in passing plays, where as the O-line significantly contributes to every play, whether they are open holes for the RB, or protecting the QB. Sanchez is no Johnny Unitas, but the blame should not be put square on his shoulders. It takes 10 other guys to make a QB look good.

  • percy

    I dont think he is the future he is too unpredictable he has a lot of talent behind him and us in minnesota would love to have who he has to throw to I dont see a ring or even anything close in his future. I think Holmes is a great reciever and could be even better if he has someone like Rogers, Ryan or anyone of those leaders throwing to him and he does deserve that recognition he is great

  • Henry

    most overrated athlete in the history of pro sports. the Jests lone SB was won primarily because their defense caused Earl Morral-Unitas to throw 4 ints. Defense won that game, not Namath.

    • Go Green

      This section is an opportunity for the public to express their viewpoints and Henry, you certainly have the right to make your point below. However, calling the icon of the New York Jets to most overrated athlete in pro sports shows you’re out of touch with reality. Joe Namath was voted into the Football Hall of Fame, which bestows such an honor to those who are deserving of the pinnacle honor in their sport.

  • Go Green

    I haven’t been convinced he can consistently throw long and be accurate – but then again the offensive coordinator did not include that in the game plan. Next year will be the deciding one. .

  • Dro

    I do think he’ll be fine with the right roster. Not sure why he and Holmes couldn’t connect like the previous year. (Internal issues I guess), but he had great chemistry with Braylon and Jerricho. That was the right cast of WR’s.
    Also a better running game, or at least a commitment to the running game. That’s a QB’s best friend.

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