NEW YORK (AP) - The search continues for the New York Jets.
Since the glory days of Broadway Joe, finding a franchise quarterback has been an elusive and often frustrating undertaking for a team that has rarely had a dominant player at the position.
Richard Todd, Ken O’Brien, Vinny Testaverde, Chad Pennington, and, yes, even Mark Sanchez all had their moments since Joe Namath led the Jets to their only Super Bowl win in 1969. So did Boomer Esiason and Brett Favre.
But none was either around long enough or able to sustain consistent success to set up the franchise at the game’s most vital position. And, of course, none has been able to get to a Super Bowl.
It’s Geno Smith’s turn to prove whether he can break the vicious cycle.
He’s headed into his second season, coming off a rough, up-and-down rookie campaign that ended on an upswing. But with Michael Vick in training camp to compete for the job, Smith knows nothing is guaranteed - just ask the 26 quarterbacks, including Kyle Mackey and David Norrie, who have started at least one game for New York since Namath last played for the Jets in 1976.
“I’m pretty sure of myself,” said Smith, who had 12 touchdown throws and 21 interceptions last year. “I’m always going to have confidence in myself solely because I believe in my teammates and my coaching.”
Good thing, or Smith could watch Vick end up becoming No. 27 since Namath - and the Jets could be in the market for a franchise-type quarterback next year. Again.
Here’s a look at some of the Jets’ most notable and notorious quarterbacks through the years:
JOE NAMATH: The conversation about the team’s greatest player - let alone quarterback - starts and ends here. Broadway Joe might not have had gaudy career stats, but he’s a Hall of Famer who still leads the franchise in several passing categories. Oh, and then there’s also that whole delivering on his Super Bowl guarantee thing.
RICHARD TODD: Drafted as the heir apparent to Namath and a fellow former Alabama star, the expectations were way too lofty. Todd led the Jets to the playoffs only twice in his eight seasons, capped by a five-interception performance - three by A.J. Duhe - in a muddy AFC title game in Miami in January 1983 that still makes New York fans cringe when they hear the Dolphins linebacker’s name.
KEN O’BRIEN: He might be the closest thing to a franchise QB the Jets have had since Namath, and often doesn’t receive enough credit for a pretty solid career in New York. O’Brien could certainly fling it, but he took a beating for years behind a shoddy offensive line and gets unfairly compared to the QB the Jets passed on in the 1983 draft and the guy the Dolphins took three picks later: Dan Marino.