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Namath: Aaron Rodgers Wearing No. 8 with Jets ‘touched my heart’

Aaron Rodgers Jets
(Elsa/Getty Images)

Namath: Aaron Rodgers Wearing No. 8 with Jets ‘touched my heart’

New York Jets legend Joe Namath expressed his heartfelt appreciation for Aaron Rodgers’ decision to not wear his signature No. 12 with the Jets.

Namath gave Rodgers his blessing to wear his No. 12 all the way back in January. At this time, the entire Jets roster and organization was actively recruiting Aaron Rodgers. Once it became apparent the trade was happening, Namath did not back down from his offer. Luckily for Broadway Joe, his offer was respectfully declined.

Namath opened up about his feelings on the matter, per Steve Sterby at the New York Post.

“That was warm, that touched my heart a bit, that shows something about the man,” said Namath. “He has a way about him, a lot of respect for the past. I was humbly grateful – you know what I mean? It felt good. It made me like (him) even more.”

Aaron Rodgers hasn’t worn the No. 8 since his final season at the University of California almost 20 years ago. Despite the blessing of Broadway Joe, Rodgers’ decision to return to No. 8 was out of respect for Namath, stating in his introductory Jets press conference:

“There’s some iconic names that have played here – probably not more iconic than No. 12. And I heard what he said about in retiring his number, but to me, 12 is Broadway Joe,” Rodgers said. “I didn’t want to even go down that path, and I’m excited about going back to my college number.”

It is not uncommon for players to want a new number after joining a new team. A player as iconic as Aaron Rodgers doing so is another thing entirely, however.

Rodgers’ decision shows his appreciation of football history:

Implying that Joe Namath is ‘probably’ the most iconic player in Jets’ history is a major understatement.

During the late 60s and early 70s, Namath was a bonafide superstar and the first athlete of his kind. He was one of the first athletes to understand the value of branding a personal image as an athlete. Namath was also the original prototype of the pocket-passing gunslinger quarterback.

Namath was already a football star upon being drafted to the AFL’s New York Jets out of Alabama. His legend and mystique were born during the Jets’ Super Bowl run in 1968. Broadway Joe led the Jets past the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III after famously guaranteeing a victory for his team. The Jets have not won or reached a Super Bowl since Namath did it almost 60 years ago in Miami.

Rodgers is hoping to finally bring a second Lombardi trophy to the Jets, jokingly mentioning, “I noticed walking in here that SB III trophy is looking a little lonely.”

Bringing that second Lombardi to New York would be a long time coming for Jets fans. One thing is certain, however, if Rodgers does so, it will be in the No. 8 … NOT Broadway Joe’s No. 12.

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