Jets Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath, a frequent critic of his former team, accused the Jets of misleading fans over their plans involving Wildcat quarterback Tim Tebow, who has been only a bit player so far this season.
In a podcast on the SportsNet New York website posted Wednesday, Namath said the “fans haven’t been given a fair shake. I don't think they get a straight story, often enough, from the powers that be. I think it's kind of condescending talk a bunch of times, telling us how they're developing and who they're getting. I think he's been disrespectful. We can go right to the Tebow thing. I mean, come on. If you're bringing him in to play, where's he been? Are you bringing him in to make other people practice longer? Excuse me. Are you bringing him in, trying to get media headlines?”
Tebow, who has drawn intense media attention since being traded from the Broncos in March, has played only 55 snaps on offense, and the Wildcat offense has been largely unimpressive. Tebow himself admitted Wednesday that “at times, it definitely hasn't been as effective as I would've liked.”
Namath said he believes the Jets have become more interested in selling personal seat licenses for MetLife Stadium and have placed a much greater emphasis on publicity, often at the expense of the on-field product.
“I think the focus is changed, subtly,” Namath said. “It's more toward grabbing headlines, and everything starts at the top. And you can go back to when the seat licenses were initiated, how we started conducting things. I don't think winning has been put at the top of the board. Winning headlines has replaced that.”
Namath also took aim at general manager Mike Tannenbaum, whose teams the last two seasons have not performed as well as in 2009-10, when the Jets went to the AFC Championship Game each year.
"We seem to have regressed with talent, the last two years at least, the last three years," he said. "I don't know who's picking the player ... I'm disappointed in the talent we have, and I think you have to start looking at who's doing the picking and why."
Namath added about the team’s front office: "If you use 'can't' in your vocabulary when it comes to football, you won't. I don't want to hear about can't find the talent. How do the other teams around the league, that are so consistent, continually find the talent?"
Namath defended starter Mark Sanchez and said he deserves to remain the team’s starting quarterback and that Tebow should not become the starter.
“I can’t buy that,” Namath said about a change to Tebow. “I believe that Rex [Ryan] is giving his team the best chance to win, and unless Tebow is able to convince his teammates since training camp to this point that he’s the better option to win, ,then no, you have to stick with Mark.”
But Namath is concerned with Sanchez’s accuracy issues.
“I have been alarmed because I’ve seen some inconsistent accuracy with receivers that appear to be open,” Namath said. “One of the reasons for that can be being rushed so often because he hasn’t had the kind of pass protection that quality passing games have. Receivers have dropped a lot of passes as well. But the one thing about Mark this year it is is the inaccuracy of throwing the ball when he does have some open receivers. I’ve noticed that more than in the past.”