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"I guarantee it." Three days before the now-legendary 1969 Super Bowl III, quarterback Joe Namath promised the nation that he could lead the New York Jets to a clear underdog victory against the seemingly invincible Baltimore Colts. In what has been remembered as perhaps the biggest upset in football history, that game catapulted the young superstar to not only football immortality but also into a stratosphere of celebrity the likes of which only a few athletes have ever achieved.
But before all that, 'Broadway Joe' was just Joe, the small-town kid from Beaver Falls, PA with an arm so impressive that it caught the attention of University of Alabama's Bear Bryant. Following a knockout four-year run at Alabama, Namath was ceremoniously courted by every professional football team. Yet it was the New York Jets who offered a then-unheard-of figure, $427,000, to bring football's Golden Boy to the upstart AFL. In an era of raucous rebellion, shifting social norms, and political upheaval, Namath's roughish charm quickly became symbolic of the commercialization of pro sports, while his progressive views on race further pioneered integration on the gridiron. By 26, with a Super Bowl title under his belt, Namath was quite simply the most famous athlete alive.
Although his legacy has been cemented in the history books, underneath the eccentric yet charismatic personality was a player plagued by injury and addiction, both sex and substance. Doctors treated him with a stiff cocktail of painkillers, some strong enough to literally knock out a horse, and Namath matched these prescriptions with his own medication, Johnnie Walker, which fueled countless nights that began alongside the likes of Sinatra and Mantle, and ended in bed with the moment's most fashionable model or actress.
When his injuries permanently derailed his career, he turned to Hollywood and endorsements, not to mention a tumultuous marriage with Deborah Mays and fleeting bouts of sobriety. Now 74 years old and dry, Namath is finally ready to pull back the curtain on a life that might have seemed charmed, but in reality was anything but. Rich with personal history, private insights, and deep reflection, Namath is prepared to reveal the man behind the icon in this memoir that is as much about football and fame as it is about addiction, fatherhood, and coming to terms with one's own mortality.
|Publisher:||Little, Brown and Company|
|Edition description:||B&N Exclusive Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.30(d)|
About the Author
Joe Namath is a former American football quarterback. He played for the New York Jets for most of his professional football career and played his final season with the Los Angeles Rams. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
When one adds up other books written about Joe Namath, whether about his football career, his famous off-the-field lifestyle or maybe even hearing about these from television, there isn’t a lot about him that hasn’t already been revealed. Nevertheless, Namath decided to tell his story in this memoir. However, “memoir” might not be the best way to categorize this book as it really has no category. The book’s setting is Namath’s living room in which he is watching a replay of the game that made him famous to many Americans, Super Bowl III. Namath weaves tales of his childhood in western Pennsylvania and his college days at Alabama playing for coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. (I particularly liked his story about his admission to having a drink to Bryant and his subsequent suspension off the team. It was good to illustrate both Namath’s honesty – a trait he often mentions throughout the book – and Bryant’s consistency in enforcing rules. There are other stories about his teammates and football career as well as other stories about his life in between memories of the game. There really is no structure or order to these stories – they are simply written as Namath thinks of them. Some of them are pretty obscure and some of them are famous, such as when he guaranteed that the Jets would win the Super Bowl even though they were eighteen point underdogs. Another moment discussed is one for which he apologizes and states that was when he realized that he had a drinking problem. That was the infamous interview with ESPN football reporter Suzy Kolbert in which Namath wanted to kiss her when he was intoxicated. While these anecdotes seem to have no structure, they are certainly entertaining and enjoyable to read. Fans who are old enough to remember Super Bowl III will particularly enjoy the snippets of the game shared by Namath. I say “snippets” because like Namath’s life stories, not every play is remembered by Namath, even when he is “watching” the game with the reader. This is a book that fans of Namath will certainly enjoy, but in no way is it a comprehensive look at his life or even Super Bowl III. Mark Kreigle’s book on Namath is that complete picture and this one is a nice conversation Namath has with the reader over a day of watching football – even if that football game is 50 years old. I wish to thank Little, Brown and Company for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
I gained insight into football at this time and level. It was a great read.Any former football player at any level or sports fan will enjoy this book.