Joe Namath: Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback ever

At 76 years old, Joe Namath has seen a lot of quarterback play. The New York Jets legend idolized Johnny Unitas and has tremendous respect for some of the greats of the game.

But his pick for best ever is a man who’s still playing.

‘Tom is the best’

Chatting with Howard Stern on Monday, Namath declared New England Patriots’ Tom Brady, fresh off his sixth Super Bowl win and a little more than a month away from his 42nd birthday, is the greatest quarterback.

Sorry, Jets fans.

“Tom is the best,” Namath said, in response to Stern’s observation that Brady has been able to stay healthy for so long. “I’ve been asked that question for many years. Johnny U. [Unitas] was my hero, Otto Graham was great, Slingin’ Sammy Baugh, I go back, these guys are great.

“But meantime, Tom has been challenged more in recent history certainly with huge games than anyone I can recollect and he’s stepped up every time.”

While Brady has certainly racked up stats over his career, which now enters its 20th season, Namath didn’t point to those as the primary reason for his ranking.

“Here’s a quarterback, when I watch pro football games, college games, you can literally see - and I actually lost games for our team by throwing poorly, throwing interceptions, I have not seen Tom Brady lose a game for his team.”

16 PHOTOS
Tom Brady celebrates Super Bowl LIII win with his kids
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Tom Brady celebrates Super Bowl LIII win with his kids
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots is interviewed as he carries his daughter Vivian Lake Brady after the Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. The New England Patriots defeat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots carries his daughter Vivian Lake Brady at the end of the Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. The New England Patriots defeat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots is interviewed as he carries his daughter Vivian Lake Brady after the Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. The New England Patriots defeat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots kisses his wife Gisele Bündchen after the Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. The New England Patriots defeat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates with Vivian Lake Brady after his 13-3 win against Los Angeles Rams during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) and his daughter Vivian hold the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LIII between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots on February 3, 2019 at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 3: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady holds his daughter with the Lombardi Trophy at his side on the podium after the New England victory. The New England Patriots met the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Feb. 03, 2019. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) and his daughter Vivian are interviewed by CBS Sports Jim Nance after winning Super Bowl LIII between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots on February 3, 2019 at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates with Vivian Lake Brady after his 13-3 win against Los Angeles Rams during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates with Vivian Lake Brady after his 13-3 win against Los Angeles Rams during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots is interviewed after his teams 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams with Vivian Lake Brady and Benjamin Brady during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates with Vivian Lake Brady after his 13-3 win against Los Angeles Rams during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots is interviewed as he carries his daughter Vivian Lake Brady after the Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. The New England Patriots defeat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates with Vivian Lake Brady after his 13-3 win against Los Angeles Rams during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 03: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots kisses his wife Gisele Bündchen after the Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. The New England Patriots defeat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots and Vivian Lake Brady celebrate with the Vince Lombardi trophy after the teams 13-3 win over Los Angeles Rams during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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‘He’s the best at answering the challenge’

Is he the greatest there ever was?, Stern asked.

“I would have to say he’s the best at answering the challenge there ever was, yes,” Namath said. “I have not seen anybody have that many big games and answer the challenge as well as he has.”

While admitting that he’s not the most knowledgeable when it comes to football, Stern said whenever he watches Brady he’s just able to pull games out.

What is it that separates good players from NFL players or great players?, Stern asked.

“Desire, to start with, and luck - injuries come into play,” Namath said.

He then invoked the name of the first family of NFL quarterbacking.

“The best quarterback that I know of that’s not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and he would be the first Manning into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is their daddy, Archie,” Namath said. “But he played for the New Orleans ‘Aints’, not Saints.

“They used to wear bags over their heads. And Archie was running for his life all the time.”

21 PHOTOS
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick through the years
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Tom Brady and Bill Belichick through the years
CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 18: New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick holds a sideline meeting with quarterbacks Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe during the fourth quarter of Saturday's NFL preseason game with the Carolina Panthers played in Charlotte. (Photo by John Bohn/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, UNITED STATES: New England Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady celebrates with head coach Bill Belichick (R) after their win over the St. Louis Rams 03 February, 2002 in Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Patriots defeated the Rams 20-17 for the NFL championship. AFP PHOTO/Jeff HAYNES (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)
Head coach Bill Belichick and the coaching staff give frantic last second instructions to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during the final drive of the game vs. the Chicago Bears 11/10/2002. Brady went on to throw a 20 yd. touchdown pass to wide receiver David Patten to beat the Bears 33-30.� Don Lansu. (Photo by Don Lansu/Getty Images)
NFL Football - New England Patriots head coach, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady against Pittsburgh Steelers during the AFC Championship at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Penn., on Jan. 25, 2005. Patriots won 41-27. (Photo by Sporting News/Sporting News via Getty Images)
JACKSONVILLE, UNITED STATES: Head coach Bill Belichick (L) of the New England Patriots and quarterback Tom Brady (R) talk 06 February 2005 after winning the Super Bowl XXXIX at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. The Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 to win their second straight Super Bowl and third in four years. AFP PHOTO/Jeff HAYNES (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick celebrate after 24-21 victory over the San Diego Chargers in AFC Divisional Playoff game at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif. on Sunday, January 14, 2007. (Photo by Kirby Lee/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH - OCTOBER 20: During the Patriots practice on the practice field at Gillette Stadium, coach Bill Belichick (left) talks with Tom Brady. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 22: New England Patriots' coach Bill Belichick hugs Tom Brady (#12) after winning the game against Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Jan. 22, 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. (Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - SEPTEMBER 30: New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick applauded New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (#12) after Brady's touchdown pass to New England Patriots wide receiver Brandon Lloyd (#85) in the fourth quarter as the Patriots took on the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots confers with Tom Brady #12 during a time out in the 2nd half in a game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
PEBBLE BEACH, CA - FEBRUARY 07: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady hits a tee shot on the 13th hole as New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick looks on during the second round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club on February 7, 2014 in Pebble Beach, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - DECEMBER 14: Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick share a moment as the final seconds tick off the clock in their victory, which gave them their 6th straight AFC East title. The New England Patriots hosted the Miami Dolphins in a regular season NFL game at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates with head coach Bill Belichick after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01: Tom Brady #12, team owner Robert Kraft, and head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots celebrate with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 to win Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 13: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws the first pitch before the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Washington Nationals as New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick looks on from left at Fenway Park on April 13, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - OCTOBER 25: With only three days off between games, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (rear) and head coach Bill Belichick (front) will have very little time to get ready for Thursday night's game against the Dolphins. Here they are pictured on the sidelines during Sunday's game against the New York Jets in a regular season NFL football game at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 13: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts with head coach Bill Belichick during the fourth quarter of a game against the Seattle Seahawks at Gillette Stadium on November 13, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 30: Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and Tom Brady #12 stand onstage during Super Bowl 51 Opening Night at Minute Maid Park on January 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Tom Brady #12 and head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots celebrate a 34-28 overtime win against the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
BOSTON - FEBRUARY 7: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady raises a Lombardi Trophy during the rally in City Hall Plaza following the Patriots Super Bowl LI Victory Parade in Boston on Feb. 7, 2017. Head coach Bill Belichick is behind him. (Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 31: Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots and Tom Brady #12 chat before a preseason game with the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium on August 31, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
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