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Greatness recognizes greatness.
NFL Hall of Famer and New York Jets legend Joe Namath responded to the team’s newly signed quarterback Aaron Rodgers discussing not taking Namath’s famous No. 12 jersey.
Rodgers was introduced to the New York faithful on Wednesday and one of the biggest questions Jets fans wanted to know was whether he would take Broadway Joe up on his jersey number offer.
A few months ago, Namath said that he would be willing to give Rodgers his retired No. 12 if it meant bringing him to the team. Rodgers has always worn the number since being drafted in 2005.
Aaron Rodgers won’t wear No.12 @nyjets even though Joe Namath offered..— Paul Higham (@SportsPaulH) April 26, 2023
“To me 12 is Broadway Joe so I didn’t want to go down that path – and I’m excited about going back to my college number.”
He’ll wear No.8 in New York#NYJets #AaronRodgers pic.twitter.com/O9huddguey
BOTH NAMATH AND RODGERS WORE NO. 12
However, Rodgers did probably the best thing that he could have as he looks to break into a new fanbase- he declined Namath’s offer.
“I heard what he said about unretiring his number, but to me, 12 is Broadway Joe. And I didn’t want to even go down that path, and I’m excited to going back to my college number,” Rodgers told reporters.
The former Packers quarterback elaborated further on his praise of Namath later during an appearance on The Michael Kay Show on ESPN New York, which is the flagship station of the Jets.
“TO ME, NUMBER 12 IS BROADWAY JOE”
There’s no doubt that Namath appreciated Rodgers praise (and probably not taking his number either).
“That was arm, that touched my heart a bit, that shows something about the man. He has a way about him, al ot of respect for the past. I was humbly grateful, you know what I mean? It felt good,” the Super Bowl III winning Namath told Steve Serby of the New York Post.
For as much slack as Rodgers gets for his unusual practices and his outspoken stubbornness, this is probably one of the smartest moves he’s made.
Sure, Namath did offer his number to Rogers, but what other choice did he really have? Was Joe Namath going to be the reason that Aaron Rodgers didn’t come to the Jets and they were stuck with Zach Wilson once again? Namath turns 80 in just a few weeks, but he’s no idiot.
HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR THE JETS
Taking Namath’s number would have started things off in a negative light with Jets fans, and Rodgers realizes he doesn’t need any distractions during what is going to be a microscopic-media driven run here in New York. Every single thing he says and does, along with his performance, are going to be heavily analyzed by the New York media. To bring in a conflict over a jersey number would have been foolish.
One thing’s for sure, the Jets fanbase hasn’t been this amped up in years. They finally have something to root for after decades of being let down.
Even Namath is excited about it. “I’ve not seen anybody play better than him over the last 10, 15 years I’ve been watching,” he told Serby.
The new Jets era begins now. And it revolves around the now No. 8 jersey wearing quarterback, Aaron Rodgers.