Friday, May 31, 2013

Happy 70th Birthday Joe Namath

Joseph William Namath was born on May 31, 1943 in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. After starring for Paul "Bear" Bryant's Alabama Crimson Tide football teams in the 1960s, Namath was drafted by both the NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals and the rival AFL’s New York Jets in 1965. Namath, known as a brash performer in college, signed with the Jets for a then-record $450,000 and gave the upstart, struggling AFL instant credibility in its war with the NFL. Although he didn't turn the Jets into instant winners, he did improve their fortunes his first three years in the league. Namath delivered on his promise as one of the most exciting players in the AFL, by becoming the first quarterback in history to pass for more than 4,000 yards. Namath was also popular off the field, especially with the ladies and was known for his love of the New York nightlife. Because of this, he was dubbed "Broadway Joe" by the New York press. Namath gained his legend with not only his performance, but his mouth. After leading the Jets to the AFL championship over the Oakland Raiders, Namath, weary of all the press knocking him and his team and openly favoring the NFL champion Baltimore Colts, boldly lashed out and predicted victory for him and the Jets in the Super Bowl. In the game that many felt made the Super Bowl the spectacle it is today, Namath and the Jets were nearly flawless in beating the 17-point favorite Colts, 16-7 and made Namath a household name. Namath continued his all-star performances in New York, although he never again played in the Super Bowl. For several years, he was the entertainer of the NFL and even dabbled in movies and television including his only Euro-western “The Last Rebel” (1970. He was traded to the Los Angeles Rams in 1977, but his failing knees finally gave out and he retired at the end of the season. Namath was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985 and, for a few years, was a member of ABC's "NFL Monday Night Football" (1970) crew. Namath now lives in Florida. Today we celebrate Joe Namath’s 70th birthday.

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