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Young Joe Namath

Joe Namath was drafted by the New York Jets out of the University of Alabama and became pro football’s first true media star. His Super Bowl guarantee earned him mythical status in Jets history when he led them to a 16-7 win over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III on Jan. 12, 1969.

Joe Namath, University of Alabama quarterback, during a class in physical education, his major, at the university in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Sept. 22, 1964.

Joe Namath, senior quarterback for Alabama, was named national "Back of the week" by the AP after he led Alabama to a 31-3 opening victory over Georgia in 1964. Namath hit 16 of 21 passes for 167 yards, added 55 on the ground for a total of 222 and scored three touchdowns.

Joe Namath, quarterback for University of Alabama, in November 1964.


Joe Namath, Crimson Tide star quarterback, tries out his arm and aim with the autographed Orange Bowl pigskin as he works out for Alabama's Orange Bowl game against Texas in Miami, Fla., on Dec. 27, 1964.

Alabama quarterback Joe Namath is pictured with the knee crossed as he relaxed in his hotel room in Miami Beach, December 29, 1964, during the week of the Orange Bowl.

University of Alabama coach Paul Bryant, right, and his star quarterback Joe Namath discuss plans at a practice session before the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla., in December 1964.

University of Alabama coach Paul Bryant puts his arm around his star quarterback Joe Namath in the dressing room after losing to Texas in the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla., on Jan. 1, 1965.

Joe Namath holds a football at a sports show in New York on Jan. 17, 1966 before a doctor told him that he would not require a second operation on his right knee. Namath said the knee stiffened two weeks ago after he played golf for three days.

Alabama quarterback Joe Namath, right, signs his football contract with the New York Jets in Miami Beach, Florida, on Jan. 2, 1965. Standing next to Namath is Jets owner Sonny Werblin, and seated is Jets coach Weeb Ewbank.

Joe Namath, captain of the South squad to play the North squad in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., Saturday, Jan. 8, 1965, gets a word of advice from Linda Felber of Cofax Wash, and America's Junior Miss queen.

Joe Namath, rookie quarterback of the New York Jets, leaves Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City on Feb. 6, 1965 by chauffeur-driven car for the airport to return to university of Alabama Campus. Namath underwent knee surgery Jan. 25. He wears a protective cast, stretching from the ankle to above the right knee. Seeing Namath off are student Nurses Kay Powers and Noreen Rattiga.

Joe Namath, New York Jets quarterback, is shown during a workout at Shea Stadium on June 29, 1965.

Jets rookie quarterback Joe Namath munches on a green apple, Sept. 15, 1965, as he arrives for his draft physical at the U.S. Army's induction center the lower Manhattan section of New York. Namath underwent surgery for removal of cartilage from his right knee in January.

Joe Namath rests in his apartment on August 15, 1966 as he recuperates from a recent injury to his right knee.

Jets quarterback Joe Namath lies in the Lenox Hill hospital on Dec. 27, 1966 in New York City, prior to the operation on his right knee. Miss Sunken Garden, Karol Kelly, from St. Petersburg, Florida, shown at left.

A December 1967 photo of Joe Namath, quarterback for the New York Jets.

Jets quarterback Joe Namath, second from right, joins three of his guests during the taping of Namath's TV show on Dec. 22, 1967, in New York. From left to right: New York Yankees' Mickey Mantle; San Francisco Giants' Willie Mays; Namath; and golfer Frank Beard.

Jets quarterback Joe Namath sweeps around the right side to score from the 1-yard line during the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 17, 1968, in the "Heidi" game. The Jets led 32-29 with just less than a minute left when NBC went to a commercial and never came back. The children's movie "Heidi" began and football fans missed the Raiders scoring two touchdowns to win the game.

New York Jets head coach Weeb Ewbank and quarterback Joe Namath on the sidelines at Super Bowl III just seconds before the game was over on Jan. 12, 1969. The Jets beat the Baltimore Colts, 16-7.

Jets quarterback Joe Namath gives his father, who is wearing an Orange Bowl hat, a big hug in the Jets' crowded dressing room on Jan. 12, 1969. Namath led his underdog team to a 16-7 win over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III in Miami, Fla.

New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath talks with reporters as he rests on a training table in the team's dressing room after the Jets defeated the Baltimore Colts, 16-7, in Super Bowl III in Miami, Fla.

New York jets quarterback Joe Namath, standing at the peak of football's ladder after his brilliant performance in Super Bowl III in which the Jets beat the Baltimore Colts, 16-7, wore the leather jacket over a knit shirt, as he arrived to play in the American Football League All-star game in Jacksonville, Florida on Jan. 19, 1969.

Joe Namath, who did away with his famed Fu Manchu mustache for the sake of a TV commercial several weeks ago, gets the attention of three girls who noticed he's growing back his trademark. The welcome tweaking occurred at La Costa Country Club on Feb. 14, 1969 in La Costa, California, where Namath, with Mickey Mantle as his partner, is competing in the annual Astrojet golf tournament. The girls are from left Carol Brakeshan, Jeanie Montgomery and Betty Hestera.

Joe Namath, quarterback of the New York Jets, after he accepted check for $1,788,500 on April 3, 1969.

Singer and actor Glen Campbell, with Joe Namath in their Paramount film, "Norwood" in 1969.

Singer and actor Glenn Campbell, right, with Joe Namath in 1969.

Joe Namath is shown with a co-star of the film "Norwood," Meredith MacRae, 1969.

Joe Namath talks with a newsman in his night spot, Bachelors III, at Lexington Avenue and 61st Street in New York on Thursday, June 26, 1969. A meeting between Namath and pro football commissioner Pete Rozelle still is expected to be held before the end of the week. Namath announced June 6 he was quitting pro football rather than yield to Rozelle's demands he sell his interest in Bachelors III.

Jets quarterback Joe Namath demonstrates passing technique to youngsters at the Pro All-Star Camp at Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts on June 28, 1969.

Joe Namath proved an interesting study at his press conference on July 18, 1969 at which he announced his plans to sell Bachelors 111, a New York night spot, and return to the Jets' active roster.

New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath (12) is down at the 20-yard line after his knee gave out to a Buffalo Bills blitz in the second quarter on Sept. 14, 1969.

Co-hosts Dick Schaap, right, and Joe Namath, center, ask a question of New York Mets pitcher Tom Seaver on the premiere of "The Joe Namath Show" on Oct. 10, 1969.

New York Jets football star Joe Namath exercises revolver shooting as he relaxes during a break in the shooting of his first motion picture at Rome's "Cenecitta", a western called "The Last Rebel" on June 15, 1970. Namath, who has taken lessons in riding a horse and pistol shooting during the past week, will play the leading male role, opposite American actress Victoria George. The picture concerns the adventures of a couple of confederate soldiers (Namath and American actor Jack Elam) after they are mustered out of service at the end of the civil war.

Joe Namath smokes a cigar while taking a riding lesson during a break in the shooting of a new film "The Last Rebel," a western presently being shot in Rome on June 25, 1970.

Joe Namath during a scene of a new film, "The Last Rebel," being shot at a Rome studio on July 6, 1970, with Namath in the leading male role and American actress Vittoria George in the starring female role.

Joe Namath, quarterback for the New York Jets, is shown at a practice session in 1970.

New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath before a game in 1970.

Jets quarterback Joe Namath on Feb. 23, 1971, when he had the cast removed from his broken right wrist in New York.

Jets quarterback Joe Namath exercising his knee during a workout at the University of Alabama on July 12, 1971 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he has been training.

New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath (12) calls signals before the snap in the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers in New York, Nov. 28, 1971.

Joe Namath arrives with actress Raquel Welch at the 44th annual Academy Awards ceremony at the music center in Los Angeles on April 10, 1972.

Joe Namath's first day of practice with the Jets at Hofstra University on July 24, 1972.

"The Brady Bunch" episode "Mail Order Hero" starring Mike Lookinland and Joe Namath on Sept. 21, 1973.

Former New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath kisses his mother, Rose Namath Szolnoki, at a news conference to promote her book, "Namath: My Son Joe," in New York City, Monday, May 26, 1975.

Former pro football player Joe Namath headlines in "Sugar" with Julie Miller at the Claridge Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., April 10, 1984.