“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.” – Joe Namath
|CC riding with Ann-Margret|
Until he appeared, professional sports strained to be wholesome, bursting with brush-cuts, white teeth and ponytails. Stadiums rattled under Romanesque, military vibrations, and the pre-game national anthem forged a linked between competition (war) and nationalism (war). Athletes were to appear humbled by their talents for—after all—accomplishments are attributable to clean living and supplication.
But Joe Namath didn’t give a hot damn about any of that. He was egocentric, boastful, drank, partied, bedded legions of women and—this is the spoiler—won games. In fact, as quarterback for the New York Jets, he QB’d the win for Super Bowl III in 1969. Not only did he win, but a few days beforehand, he, the underdog, predicted his team would win, an up-to-then outrageous and inappropriate attitude. It drove the Brush Cuts crazy. Hell, he even made Richard Nixon’s enemies list, and Nixon loved football.
His career? Namath tossed 220 interceptions to his 173 touchdowns and compiled a quarterback rating of only 65.5 – the lowest career rating for any quarterback who has ever won the Super Bowl. But why focus on that? Focus on The Game, sweetheart.
|Namath lookin' good|
With good looks and an ironic sense of humor, you have a guy that should be in movies, and he was, getting down with Ann-Margaret on motorbikes.
|First, you gotta win|
What the Brush Cuts didn't understand was that Namath, even with his pimp hat and fox-fur coat, his swinging bachelor pad and TV commercials, came a lot closer to embodying the Constitutional qualities of liberty and individualism than they ever did, with their ‘yes sirs’ and drip-dry beliefs. Namath was a Hail-Mary-throwing embodiment of the American Dream, a risk-taker, an innovator, a leader.
His legacy can be found on a tropical island, reclined by a beach, laughing with a sumptuous blonde, now and then standing to whip a long bomb over the waves, secure with the knowledge that it will always be caught by the hands of time.