Saturday, January 31, 2009

broadway joe -- a tribute

a promise kept

on the eve of the super bowl, i want to pay tribute to my favorite football player:

joe namath, quarterback, university of alabama and most famously for the new york jets.

it was 40 years and 17 days ago -- the date was january 12, 1969 -- that joe (for this post, i'll call him that instead of the more formal namath) and the jets upset the baltimore colts 16-7 in super bowl iii.

(the picture at the top of this post is of joe leaving the field after the game.)

the colts were heavily favored and the representatives of the established (and establishment) national football league. the jets and especially joe were the representatives of the upstart american football league and some howled bloody murder when joe predicted that the jets would win the game.

it wasn't joe's performance in the super bowl that made me like him.
oh, he had that twinkle in his eyes that you could imagine becoming a wink. he also had a winning smile.

but i came to enjoy him because of his sense of "irony," for lack of a better word: the knowledge that he didn't take his image that seriously. he could laugh at himself and his nickname of "broadway joe." i bet he didn't mind it, but he could take or leave it.

that was opposed to, say, o.j. simpson. i've heard a story that simpson was in paris and became upset that no one there recognized him. that could be expected, because american football -- isn't that popular in europe.

joe, on the other hand, if he had been in paris, wouldn't mind being recognized. but if he wasn't, he would'nt be upset about it.

joe's life after football hasn't been all great. divorces and problems with alcohol are two things that have plagued him.

but i don't know many people -- if any one at all -- who wish him ill.
i have no prediction for the super bowl. of the odds i've seen and the stories i've read, all favor pittsburgh.

i'm going to cheer for the steelers. but if the cardinals win, that would be all right with me.

however, i wish the powers that be would start the game sometime in the middle of the afternoon -- say 3 p.m. -- instead of at 6:20 p.m.

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