Christian Hackenberg has Joe Namath’s vote, as the New York Jets legend is pulling for the untested quarterback to be the starter for his former team this season.
“I’d like to see Hackenberg get a shot, and I’d like to see him win the job,” Namath told reporters at a charity event in New York. “That would give us the [hope of], ‘Hey, lookie here. Maybe we don’t do it this year, but boy, we’ll get ready next year. We’ll get ready the year after that.’”
Hackenberg’s body of work consists of two shaky preseason performances last summer, but the former second-round pick from Penn State has a chance to start — or so the Jets say. He’s competing against well-traveled veteran Josh McCown and, to a lesser degree, the currently injured Bryce Petty (surgically repaired left shoulder).
“I know what Josh McCown can do,” Namath said. “He’s a good leader. He’s solid. Hopefully, the team can step up and give him support [if he plays].”
But the Hall of Fame quarterback added, “I’m not wishing Josh any bad luck, but I certainly would like to see Hackenberg blossom.”
The Jets haven’t had a true franchise quarterback since Namath, who last played for them in 1976 — seven years after leading the Jets to their only Super Bowl title. McCown, 37, is the favorite to win the job based on his experience, but you can bet Hackenberg will get a shot at some point.
“We’ve got to find a quarterback,” owner Woody Johnson said at the same charity event.
No matter what happens in training camp, the Jets will have their fourth different opening-day starter in six years.