Joe Namath appears as himself in the Season 5 episode of The Brady Bunch titled "Mail Order Hero".
|Birthname:||Joseph Willie Namath|
|Born:||31 May 1943|
|Birthplace:||Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania|
|Athlete, TV personality, Actor|
|Years active:||1965 to present|
|Series:||The Brady Bunch|
|Episodes appeared in|
(and/or) involved with:
|"Mail Order Hero" (Season 5)|
Joseph William Namath (born 31 May 1943, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania), also known as Broadway Joe, is a former professional athlete, TV show personality, sports commentator, and actor. He is most famous for playing for the New York Jets and winning Super Bowl III game against the NFL's then Baltimore Colts team, 16-7, after making a "guarantee" that his team would beat the heavily favored opponent in the days before the big contest. Joe guest starred as himself on the ABC series The Brady Bunch, in the Season 5 episode "Mail Order Hero". In that episode, Bobby lies to his friends that he personally knows Joe Namath and has to prove his words.
Life and career
Born in Beaver Falls in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, thirty miles from Pittsburgh, Joe grew up in the city's Lower End neighborhood. He was a standout in football, basketball and baseball. In an age where dunks were still uncommon in high school basketball, Namath regularly dunked in games. Coached by Larry Bruno at Beaver Falls, Namath's football team won the WPIAL Class AA championship with a 10–0 record in 1960. Coach Bruno would later be his presenter to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.
Between 1962 and 1964, Namath played for the Alabama Crimson Tide program under coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. A year after being suspended for the final two games of the season, including the Sugar Bowl vs. Southeastern Conference rival Ole Miss, he led the Tide to a national championship in 1964. During his time at Alabama, Namath led the team to a 29–4 record over three seasons.
Bryant called Namath "the greatest athlete I ever coached". When Namath was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985, he broke down during his induction speech upon mentioning Bryant, who died from a heart attack in 1983. Namath did not receive his college degree until 2007, having left early to pursue his professional career.
Namath's time at Alabama was a culture shock for him. Beaver Falls' Lower End neighborhood was (and still is, as of 2010) predominantly African American. Namath attended Alabama at the height of the Civil Rights movement in the Southern United States (especially the Deep South) and often got into fights with his white teammates and other white Southerners when defending African-Americans. The Crimson Tide did not have an African-American player during Namath's years in Tuscaloosa, and would not until 1971.
Namath was the American Football League Rookie of the year in 1965 and became the first professional quarterback to pass for 4,000 yards in a season (1967) when he threw for 4,007 yards in a 14-game season, a record broken by Dan Fouts in 1979 (4,082) in a 16-game season. He was a four-time American Football League All-Star, in 1965, 1967, 1968, and 1969, although he was plagued with knee injuries through much of his career and underwent four pioneering knee operations by Dr. James A. Nicholas. On some occasions, Namath had to have his knee drained at halftime so that he could finish a game. Later in life, long after he left football, he had to have knee replacement surgery on both legs.
A high point in his career was his performance in the Jets' 16–7 win over the Baltimore Colts in the third Super Bowl in January 1969, which was before the AFL-NFL merger. Namath was named MVP of Super Bowl III. This win would make him the first quarterback to ever start and win a national championship game in college, and to start and win a major professional league championship and a Super Bowl. The Colts were touted as "the greatest football team in history".
Three days before the game, Namath responded to a heckler in Miami with the now-famous line: "We’re going to win Sunday. I guarantee it." His prediction was initially ignored, but it became legendary after the Jets' upset of the Colts. Namath's team, won the World Championship at Super Bowl III and was crowned the most valuable player, making him the first and only quarterback to ever start and win a national championship in college and a Super Bowl. He then went on to be a minor actor in The Waverly Wonders and guest starred on many shows, including The Simpsons.
During the 1972 regular season, Namath threw for 496 yards and six touchdowns against the Colts in Baltimore in a 44-34 Jets victory. Two years later, his touchdown run on a bootleg in spite of his aching knees helped defeat the New York Giants, allowing the Jets to become the first team to win an NFL regular season game in overtime..
TV and film career
Joe has guest-starred on many television shows, including The Love Boat in season 5 in 1982. Married... with Children, Here's Lucy, The Flip Wilson Show, Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, The Dean Martin Show, The Simpsons, The A-Team, ALF and The John Larroquette Show. He was guest host on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson several times, as well as hosting his own show, the 1969 cult classic The Joe Namath Show (co-hosted by Dick Schaap) with its eclectic guest pairings and open-bar attitude. On The A-Team, his character T.J. Bryant was punched by Mr. T and verbally threatened by former football star Jim Brown in the season 5 episode, "Quarterback Sneak".
He also served as a color commentator on broadcasts of NFL games for a while, including the 1985 season of Monday Night Football with fellow Hall of Fame players Frank Gifford and O.J. Simpson, but never seemed to be particularly comfortable in this role and was accused of being not being critical enough of then-current players.
Namath was married to Deborah Mays for fifteen years before divorcing her in 1999, and he has two children with her.
Namath was the second future Pro Football Hall of Famer to appear in The Brady Bunch. The first was Deacon Jones in season two.