Less than a day removed from Aaron Rodgers' introductory news conference with the Jets, Joe Namath was still "fired up" about the trade that brought the former Packers' star signal-caller to the Green & White.
"I've watched a lot of football that Aaron has played, and I marvel at him," Namath said on "The Official Jets Podcast." "Even last season, I marveled at him. He can anticipate things because of repetition, because of the way his brain works. Throughout the years, the way he buys time, the way he moves around, the way he throws the football.
"We can't see what he's thinking as it develops. but we know that process is excellent the way he's able to control his body and throw the ball. Man, there are a lot of good quarterbacks out there, in pro ball there are terrific quarterbacks. But the way he changes the speed on the ball, the way he drops it in different places, the way he releases the ball, the trajectory, the arm motion the way it needs to be done —I haven't seen anybody do that. He's a one of a kind and it's all good."
During an appearance on "Tiki and Tierney" in January, Namath said he would want Rodgers to wear No. 12 if he became a Jet. But once the trade became official, Rodgers told reporters that, "12 is Broadway Joe" and he didn't want to go down that path while stating he would return to the No. 8 he wore collegiately at California.
"The way Aaron handled this shows a lot of respect, a lot of class, and No. 8 is going bring back something for him," said Namath who added, "It just shows the kind of respect that Aaron has I think for the history of the game and the history of the Jets. I thank him and I'm pulling for No. 8. I promise you."
After 18 seasons with the Packers, Rodgers, one of the most accomplished passers in NFL history, said he was excited for his new start and the "old guy" wanted to be part of a team that can win it all.
"It's hard for me to fathom a cat playing 18 seasons already and looking like he does, feeling like he does," Namath said. "Having watched him perform on the field in ways that I haven't seen other guys have, the same kinds of movements and success, abilities that he has both physically and mentally.
"He's going to lift the team. The players, they know they have the opportunity to do something big here. The goal is, has been for a long time, to bring another one of those trophies back to New York, New Jersey man, a championship."
Namath, the Super Bowl III MVP and two-time AFL MVP, was waived by Jets before the 1977 season. He finished his career hobbled by injury and serving as a backup with the Los Angeles Rams. He was one of pro football's first superstars and the first QB to pass for more than 4,000 yards in a season (1967). He followed up his guarantee and guided the Jets to a 16-7 upset over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. When he entered 1 Jets Drive on Wednesday, Rodgers, the Super Bowl XLV MVP and four-time NFL MVP who has passed for 59,055 yards and 475 TDs , saw the Jets' lone Super Bowl trophy and said it looks a "little lonely." Within hours, the Jets new QB was on the field participating in voluntary workouts with his new teammates.
"Fans, they've been watching Aaron play, they know what's coming in," Namath said. "We've got a shot, the shot to improve. And he's going to lift the team, he' s lifting the fans, he's lifting us right now as we're talking man. He'll handle what's going on off the field, he's a smart man. After 18 seasons, he has seen a lot and dealt with a lot. So, we not only have one of the best players that's ever walked on the field coming in — we also have a smart, righteous, respectful man as well."