Oh to be a NY Jets fan, time and again over the years we’ve heard about the next Joe Namath.

The next big thing to hit Gotham and be the toast of the town like Broadway Joe was way back when.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Jets only Super Bowl birth and victory. Namath of course guaranteed the win against the heavily favored Baltimore Colts and delivered. Joe Namath became a house hold name around the country and a hero for life for starved Jets fans clinging to anything positive over a mostly mediocre to bad almost 60 years of existence.

Since Namath’s departure in 1976, Gang Green has had many “next Namaths” but few have delivered even a playoff win let alone a Super Bowl title. From Richard Todd to Ken O’Brien to Browning Nagle to Marc Sanchez and many more in between the Jets have been searching for that franchise quarterback time and time again.

Enter Sam Darnold in 2018. The hot shot number 3 overall pick in the NFL draft this past Spring. Darnold has the skills, the demeanor and desire to take over New York and perhaps (a very big perhaps) be the man for hopefully the next decade or more to wear the green and play the most scrutinized position in professional sports.

Darnold was originally thought to be brought along slowly, learning the craft of an NFL quarterback behind journeyman incumbent Jets starter Josh McCown and backup Teddy Bridgewater. But with the recent trade of Bridgewater to the Saints it upped Darnold to for sure the number 2 QB. Now with his fine play in the exhibition season the talk is he may be thrown into the fire early, as in Week 1 next Monday night against the Detroit Lions in a nationally televised game.

The expectations have to be tempered for now as other Jets prodigy quarterbacks have come in hot like a house of fire like the aforementioned Nagle and Sanchez (Sanchize anyone?) and flamed out quickly. I do believe Darnold is the real deal and hope he can lead the Jets for many years to come, but it’s not gonna happen overnight.

Aside from all the on the field study he must prepare for there is the almost as important off the field preparation he’ll have to be groomed for. The media scrutiny, the temptations, the women! It will all be here for a young, rich hot shot New York QB.

I’m ready to jump aboard the Sam Darnold train like every other Jets fan but it’s a marathon, not a sprint to being a all around great quarterback in this league. If I was him, I would simply look across town at the Giants long time classy leader Eli Manning and you can’t go wrong from there.

Will he be the next Joe Namath or the next in a long line of bums who after a few years are discarded like trash by fickle Jets fans?

Featured Image: Sports Illustrated