When Geno Smith left Sunday’s game with a knee injury, legendary quarterback Joe Namath was critical of the quarterback for not reentering the game despite standing on the sideline throughout the second half. Monday, an MRI revealed that Smith suffered a torn ACL on the sack that sidelined him, leading many to deride Namath for his armchair diagnosis of the severity of Smith’s injury.
Tuesday morning, Namath walked back his original criticism and apologized to Smith for questioning his toughness.
My bad Geno. In the dark ages we players had the say. I hope you heal and play as long as you choose! Joe
— Joe Namath (@RealJoeNamath) October 25, 2016
The way this has played out reads like satire of an old former player’s views on the way the current game is played. First, a player gets injured in a manner that doesn’t appear to be an obviously severe injury on first glance. Then, a former player with no knowledge of the situation criticizes him for not rubbing some dirt on it and getting back in the game, like he did in the good old days. Last, when the injury is revealed as being clearly serious, the former player is forced to take back his criticism.
Still, Namath can’t resist another opportunity to take a shot at the way the game is currently played, even in his apology. Oddly enough, if Smith had the final say on entering the game after tearing his ACL, he would have potentially hurt himself even worse. Smith said after the game that he was begging trainers to let him back in. Not only could that have left him vulnerable to further injury, it would likely have hurt his team’s chances of winning the game. The Jets and Smith both, then, are lucky that the game has evolved since Namath’s days as a player.