University of Alabama, 1962-64.
1975 and 1976 were rough seasons for "Broadway Joe", as the Jets compiled back-to-back 3-11 seasons. '76 was notable for the fact that current ESPN talking head Lou Holtz was the Jets' head coach. That experiment didn't last too long.
Los Angeles Rams, 1977. Released by the Jets, Namath tried to jump-start his career. However, numerous lingering injuries combined with a party animal lifestyle meant that Namath was at the end of the road.
He appeared and started in just four games, throwing for 606 yards, 3 TD and 5 INT. In the first round of the playoffs, with QB Pat Haden struggggling, Rams Coach Chuck Knox decided to leave Haden in the game rather than dramatically bring Namath off the bench. The Rams ended up losing to the Vikings, 14-7, and Namath would never play again.
--Hall of Fame, 1985
--Super Bowl Champion
--5-time Pro Bowl
--Passing stats: 1866-3762 (50.1%), 27,663 yards, 173 TD, 220 INT, 65.5 QB Rating
OTHER INTERESTING STUFF:
--Appeared in the first-ever Monday Night Football game (Jets vs. Browns), played at Cleveland's Municipal Stadium, on September 21, 1970. In front of a record crowd of 85,703 and a huge television audience, the Jets set a team record for penalties and ultimately lost on a late Namath interception.
--Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh: Namath was "the most beautiful, accurate, stylish passer with the quickest release I've ever seen."
--Hall of Fame coach Don Shula: Namath was "one of the 3 smartest quarterbacks of all time"
--Ranked #96 on The Sporting News' 100 Greatest Football Players list in 1999.
--Despite his celebrity, there is no mention of Namath around the town of Beaver Falls. Check out this little documentary about why.
Joe's 1970s Pantyhose commercial:
MOST EXPENSIVE EBAY ITEM:
THE JUICY STUFF:
--"I Wanna Kiss You": Shortly after the Jets' celebration of their All-Time Team at a December, 2003 game, Namath was asked about Jets QB Chad Pennington by ESPN's Suzy Kolber. His infamous response: "I want to kiss you. I couldn't care less about the team struggggling."
--Entered an alcohol treatment program on January 12, 2004, the 35th anniversary of Super Bowl III.
--Did several commercials including Ovaltine, Noxema Shaving Cream, popcorn machines and pantyhose.
--In 1999, he filed for divorce from wife of 15 years Deborah Mays (born 1962), who called herself "Tatiana".
--He was guest host on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson several times.
--Appears on the Master list of Nixon political opponents.
--Color commentator on Monday Night Football in 1985.
--Will be portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal in an upcoming film of his life, possibly the worst casting in the history of movies.
--Had a reckless driving charge in Miami dropped.
--Dated Marilyn Monroe lookalike Mamie Van Doren.
"I like my Johnnie Walker Red and my women blonde"
"I don't know whether I prefer Astroturf to grass. I never smoked Astroturf. "
"Till I was 13, I thought my name was "Shut Up."
"When we won the league championship, all the married guys on the club had to thank their wives for putting up with all the stress and strain all season. I had to thank all the single broads in New York. "
"When you win, nothing hurts."
So there you have it. I could've gone on and on about Joe Namath. In fact, he's the inspiration for this entire series. People are making a fuss about Matt Leinart? Please. Matt Leinart is amateur hour. If Namath played today, he might blow up the entire internet with his antics. A freaking fur coat on the sidelines? If that were Terrell Owens, Skip Bayless' head might explode in anger.
To recap the cultural signficance of Namath: he brought together two football leagues, he became the first football star to crossover into pop culture, he made the most famous guarantee of all time, he was booted from the league in his prime, and decades after he left the game, he pulls the Kolber stunt. He won over New York and the nation, and he's from our backyard. You'll always be the man, Mr. Namath.
Know your elders!
Joe Namath [Wikipedia]
Joe Namath [IMDB]
Joe Namath [Sports Placement]
Joe Namath statistics [Pro Football Reference]
Know Your Elders: Bobby Layne [Mondesishouse.com]