Nobody wanted to see Namath play for the Rams after he left New York. He built up his reputation as one of the NFL’s most polarizing and popular quarterbacks. The Super Bowl winner was an icon in the Big Apple but he held on for too long and should have retired earlier.
He signed a contract in L.A. but this was a mistake because his body wasn’t the same. Injuries restricted him to a handful of appearances and he quit the sport after the season. It’s a pity that he didn’t retire after his final year with the Jets because they loved him (via N.Y. Daily News).
Favre is one of Green Bay’s three greatest quarterbacks ever but his career came to a miserable end. Arguably he should have retired in style after he left the Packers. But he tried to return when they didn’t need him and this infuriated the Super Bowl winner.
Then he moved to the New York Jets before a short spell with the Vikings. His numbers plummeted and he failed to make a significant impact for either team outside of a near-Super Bowl appearance with the Vikings. Fans thought more about his sexual harassment case than his on-field displays. It’s a shame he didn’t hang up his cleats after he left Lambeau Field (via ABC).
Brees set all kinds of passing records during his time with the Saints but that’s not why he’s on this list. He held on for too long in New Orleans to the starting jersey when he should have retired. His final season saw him suffer a stream of injuries and throw interceptions like they were going out of fashion.
Things go wrong very quickly for even the best quarterbacks because age catches up with them. It’s cruel and there’s nothing that they can do about it. Arguably, an earlier parting of ways would have been kinder for both Brees and the Saints (via USA Today Sports).
Newton had one of the great NFL seasons in 2015 when he won the MVP award. However, his decline was stark and he became a free agent after leaving the Panthers. Unfortunately, he hung on for too long and failed to retire. He signed contracts with the Patriots and returned to Carolina but it didn’t work out.
That’s because his body failed him and he couldn’t stay fit. Newton went 13-24 in his final starts for the two teams as his form deteriorated. It’s a shame to see such a gifted athlete suffer such a downturn in performance. But sometimes it’s impossible to recapture the old magic (via Sports Illustrated).
It didn’t have to be like this for Brady because he had nothing left to prove. The quarterback gave up his wife because he held on for too long to his football career. His supermodel spouse Gisele Bundchen lost patience with the 45-year-old star after he came out of retirement to play another season (via FOX News).
However, it was pointless because the Buccaneers haven’t played well at all under new head coach Todd Bowles. Brady successfully created a fairytale when he won his seventh Super Bowl ring in his debut season with the team two years ago. But he risked devastating injuries and long-term trauma by continuing past his prime.