Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath thanked new Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers Friday for the "classy" gesture of allowing his No. 12 jersey to remain retired.
Despite wearing No. 12 for his entire 18-year tenure with the Green Bay Packers, Rodgers refused to wear Namath's retired number with his new team.
"He's a top-notch guy. A lot of class, and I appreciate what he's done. And so do some of our Jets fans too. Our Jet fans have been patient for a long time and Aaron can get us there, man," Namath said on "Fox & Friends."
"We've got a good team. And with him at the trigger, boy, [we could] make the playoffs. We could win the Super Bowl."
When fans heard confirmation that Rodgers would be headed to East Rutherford, NJ, rumors began to circulate on whether he would keep his iconic jersey number, No. 12.
In 1985, Namath was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Subsequently, the Jets retired Namath's jersey No.12, which he famously wore from his rookie season in 1965 through 1976.
Namath had urged the veteran quarterback to keep the number, allowing the Jets to un-retire No. 12, but Rodgers refused.
Rodgers felt it was "appropriate" to show the proper respect to the Jets legend and his honorable career by instead wearing his college jersey, No. 8.
"As much as I was super honored and touched by that, 12 for the Jets is Joe Willy Namath, and that's how it should always be," Rodgers told ESPN New York's "The Michael Kay Show" Wednesday.
Namath was touched by the gesture.
"That was warm, that touched my heart a bit, that shows something about the man," the Super Bowl III winner told the New York Post.
"He has a way about him, a lot of respect for the past. I was humbly grateful, you know what I mean? It felt good. It made me like [him] even more. First time I met him I liked him, and I’ll tell you what, I’ve not seen anybody play better than him the times over the last 10, 15 years I’ve been watching."
Namath spotlighted the unmatched loyalty of New York Jets fans, saying that he'd "love" to see Rodgers lead the team to a championship.
"I want to see the Jets win," Namath said. "I’d love to see ’em win a championship. We’ve had a strong following for a long time, and I want not only the players to get the championship for themselves, but for the fans," he concluded.
"I honest-to-God feel like the fans have been loyal, and we deserve being, I guess, awarded a championship. But we’ve got to earn it. It’s because of the fans and the way they’ve followed the team over the years. There were some down years, we had some decent years."
Fox News' Ryan Morik contributed to this report.