Top 5 All Time biggest mistakes of the Arizona Cardinals
Not enough dough to keep Broadway Joe
The 1965 NFL Draft was actually held in November of 1964, and as a result, Alabama quarterback Joe Namath wasn’t done with his season yet. Before we go any further, could you imagine what a draft would like in the middle of playoff push, but you still couldn’t get those players on your roster until the next season? The St.Louis Cardinals wanted to sign Namath onto the roster as soon as possible.
It comes as no surprise that Namath wanted a boatload of money, and of course the Cardinals hesitated on giving it to him. Check out the quote below:
"Namath received far more enticing offers than Lilly a few years earlier. Namath would brazenly ask the St. Louis Cardinals for what would have been a then-record $200,000 annual contract along with a new Lincoln Continental convertible. The Cardinals, who chose him with the No. 12 pick in the NFL Draft, initially feigned consternation but were willing to meet the price as long as Namath signed immediately, though doing so would have made him ineligible to play for Alabama in the Orange Bowl. -Foxsports.com"
Of course he wound up going to the AFL’s New York Jets for almost half a million dollars, which with modern day inflation, would be around $3.5 million dollars. For 1965, that’s doing pretty dang well. Namath would go on to guarantee the win over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, in arguably the gutsiest call ever next to the New Orleans Saints onside kick.
The Cardinals after losing Namath stuck with Charley Johnson who was coming off of a career high completion percentage, completions and over 3,000 yards. Probably the reason Namath was drafted was the fact that Johnson threw a whopping 24 interceptions.
From a quantitative standpoint, these two are actually quite similar in how their career stats ended up. Except for the huge difference in interceptions, it just goes to show you that when you get your shot at a title, you need to make the plays. We’ll never know if Namath would’ve delivered a title to St.Louis and the Cardinals franchise. But what a missed opportunity for the red birds.