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Friday, August 8, 2008
Updated: August 13, 4:56 PM ET
An incomplete history of Jets quarterbacks

By Page 2

With the acquisition of Brett Favre, the Jets have found a way to bump the defending Super Bowl champions off the back pages of the New York tabloids. As the Jets bask in their newfound glory, Page 2 takes a look at the highs and lows of Jets quarterbacking through the years:

Joe Namath
Broadway Joe put the Jets and the AFL on the map.
1959: New York Titans draft George Izo
Before they were known as the Jets, the New York Titans selected Izo with their first-ever draft pick, but the Notre Dame QB instead signed with the NFL's St. Louis Cardinals and went on to a lackluster, seven-year NFL career. As it turned out, Izo completed only 41.6 percent of his passes as a pro and threw 12 career touchdowns. He also never completed a clutch postseason shovel pass in the snow.

1960: Al Dorow leads Titans to 7-7 record
Michigan State grad and NFL journeyman Dorow took most of the snaps during the Titans' inaugural season. He led the new league in touchdown passes with 26 as the team played its home games at the Polo Grounds. Little did Titans/Jets fans know that 7-7 would come to be known as a "good season."

1965: Jets sign Broadway Joe
The Jets selected Joe Namath with the first overall pick in the AFL draft that year, but the Cardinals used the No. 12 overall pick in the NFL draft on the Alabama QB. Namath signed with the Jets, who gave him a record contract reportedly worth $427,000. Namath immediately spent his entire first-year salary on a collection of fur coats.

1968: AFL champions!
Broadway Joe led the Jets to the AFL title before 62,627 at Shea Stadium, as the Jets avenged an earlier loss to the Raiders in the "Heidi" game. Of course, the cynics of Page 2 rudely point out that Namath actually threw more interceptions than touchdowns that year and completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes.

1969: Joe Willie guarantees it
Namath famously guaranteed a Super Bowl victory over the Colts, who were 18-point favorites, and the Jets proved him right with a 16-7 win in the franchise's high-water mark. That June, Namath retired from pro football because of a dispute with the NFL over his ownership of a Manhattan bar. Six weeks later, he announced the sale of the bar and returned to the Jets, a move that blazed the trail for indecisive gunslingers for years to come.

Joe Namath and Big Bird
"Hey Joe, wanna go pick up some chicks?"
1969: Namath lauded by AFL
Namath was named first-team QB on the AFL's all-time team, by virtue of completing 50.2 percent of his passes and throwing 97 TD passes to just 104 interceptions.

1970: Jets appear on inaugural "Monday Night Football" game
Alas, the Jets set a team record for penalties and lost to Cleveland on a late Namath interception.

1974: Namath beats Dolphins and Bills
Incredibly, after winning Super Bowl III, those were the only two wins Namath had over a winning team the rest of his Jets career. You can blame the knee injuries, you can blame bad teammates, or maybe you can blame all the interceptions. Anyway, it's true. In 1969, the Jets went 10-4, but all 10 wins came against teams that finished the season .500 or worse. In 1970, Namath went 1-4 as a starter, the lone win over the 2-12 Boston Patriots. In 1971, knee injuries again limited Namath to just three starts; he beat the 6-8 Patriots and 4-10 Bengals. Namath went 7-6 in 1972, but the victories came against the 3-11 Patriots (twice), the 4-9-1 Bills (twice), the 5-9 Colts (twice) and the 2-11-1 Saints. In 1973, Namath started five games, twice beating the 4-10 Colts. In 1974, Namath started every game and the Jets went 7-7. In 1975, Namath started 13 games, beat the 3-11 Patriots twice and the 5-9 Chiefs. In 1976, Namath went 1-7, beating only 2-12 Buffalo.

1976: Richard Todd drafted with sixth overall pick
With Namath's knee ravaged by age and injuries, the Jets finally tried to find a replacement, even picking a quarterback from his alma mater, Alabama. This, despite the fact that Todd threw just 189 passes in his Bama career. Todd actually had a few bright moments, including leading the Jets to a winning record in 1981, their first since 1969. Of course, he also led the NFL with 30 picks in 1980.

Richard Todd
Richard Todd went 42-50 as a Jets starter, but he led the team to the AFC Championship Game in 1982.
1980: Mr. Todd's wild ride
Todd set an NFL record by completing 42 passes (in 60 attempts) for 447 yards and three TDs. The mark stood until 2002. The Jets lost 37-27 to San Francisco.

1983: Draft Ken O'Brien with 24th pick, pass on …
Dan Marino. O'Brien, the pride of UC Davis, actually had a nice career, throwing for more than 25,000 yards and making two Pro Bowls. And he never appeared in any Isotoner or NutriSystem commercials.

1984: Hello, New Jersey
Heading into the Jets' first season at the Meadowlands -- the team left Shea after calling it "run down, neglected, and the NFL's poorest facility for athletes and spectators alike" in 1983 -- Todd was traded to the Saints for their first-round pick (No. 15 overall) in the upcoming draft. O'Brien then compiled a 96.2 passer rating to become the first Jet to lead the league in that stat. The Jets spent the 15th pick on Ron Faurot, a defensive end from Arkansas; he lasted just 20 games in the NFL.

1986: O'Brien beats Marino
Take that, Marino! In a legendary 51-45, overtime shootout victory over the Dolphins, Marino threw for 465 yards and six TDs, while O'Brien threw for 462 yards and four TDs (all to Wesley Walker). Sweet redemption! OK, maybe not.

1987: The strike
Former UCLA quarterback David Norrie compiled a 48.4 passer rating in two replacement games. Let's move on.

1989: Later, Pat
Pat Ryan played his last game as a Jet, 11 years after he joined the team. To this day, he remains one of only three Jets QBs to start at least 10 games with a career regular-season record above .500. Vinny Testaverde and Chad Pennington are the others.

1991: Seeking a gunslinger
After going 6-10 in 1990 with the 19th-ranked scoring offense, the Jets were apparently interested in selecting Southern Mississippi QB Brett Favre with their first pick in the draft (No. 34 overall). They were forced to settle for Louisville QB Browning Nagle when the Falcons took Favre No. 33 overall. Lawn mower sales subsequently declined in the tri-state area.

1992: An exciting new era
Nagle was named starting QB and enjoyed a fine debut, throwing for 366 yards and two TDs in a 21-17 win over the Falcons. But he cooled off quickly, going 2-10 in his next 12 starts, completing fewer than 50 percent of his passes and throwing seven TDs and 17 interceptions on the season.

1995: Boomer Esiason defies odds
Esiason threw for 2,275 yards and completed 56.8 percent of his passes, despite having to operate a Rich Kotite offense.

1996: Quarterback stew
High-priced free-agent acquisition Neil O'Donnell combined with Frank Reich and Glenn Foley (the original No. 4!) for a 64.7 passer rating as the Jets went 1-15. Kotite was then fired after going 4-28 (.125) in two seasons.

Bill Parcells, Vinny Testaverde
Bill Parcells and Vinny Testaverde rescued the Jets from the wreckage of the Rich Kotite era.
1998: Jets are back, baby
Parcells brought in 34-year-old Testaverde in a move that paid off handsomely. Testaverde equaled Todd's record with 42 completions (in 63 attempts) for 418 yards and two TDs in a 32-31 win over Seattle. Testaverde also scored the winning TD on a 5-yard run, although replays showed that the Jets' QB was stopped well short of the end zone. The 1986 Heisman winner compiled a career-best 101.6 passer rating in '98 and threw 29 TD passes to just seven picks as the Jets went 12-4 and reached the AFC Championship Game. The bad news? Foley went 0-3 in the three games he started, costing the Jets home-field advantage in the title contest.

2002: Pennington's time
Third-year pro Chad Pennington saw significant action for the first time and rewarded the team with a 104.2 passer rating and 68.9 completions percentage, both league highs. The Jets went 9-7 and blew out Indianapolis 41-0 in the first round of the playoffs. Herm Edwards earned bragging rights over Tony Dungy in the first NFL playoff game matching two African-American coaches decided by 41 or more points.

2006: Back in the playoffs
Despite the retirement of ultragritty receiver Wayne Chrebet and the fact that he couldn't throw more than 15 yards downfield after years of shoulder injuries, Pennington led the team to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth under first-year coach Eric Mangini.

2008: Stop the presses
The Jets acquired Brett Favre from Packers. Sales of Favre replica jerseys and puffy Jets jackets immediately soared.