It was a culmination of a lot of things. But to even mention Namath as a great QB is playing revisionist history. He was very good for a couple seasons and Great for one game. Just so happened the one game was the SB and he called the victory.
Again, the statistical argument fails every time. For a lot of reasons. While his popularity didn't hurt him, he made the HOF on the merits of his ability to play the position. People who understand the difference between being a passer and being a QB understand what he brought to the game although he was without peer in terms of arm strength and quick release. Nobody ever called a better game. QBs in that era were measured quite differently than today's.
Nobody is suggesting he didn't have flaws. He didn't make it to the HOF on the first ballot after all. He's merely highly deserving of being there. For as many people who you recollect saying he wasn't that good, there a 10 who can verify that he was.
As to him being the first real superstar, that's a stretch for sports in general and the NFL in particular. There were many pop icons before him. He was the most visible signing of the AFL vs. the NFL at the time though. And that was because of his outstanding ability as a QB. He was a blue chip out of high school and a blue chip coming out of college. The only thing that prevented him from being even better were the too numerous injuries.
Anyway, I'll leave the debate up to those that still have the energy. His place is secure. He's in the HOF forever.
Edited by K-9, 27 June 2012 - 02:28 PM.