After his successful college football career at Alabama, Joe Namath had the rare opportunity to play in either of the two competing professional football leagues at the time.
“Coach [Bear] Bryant at Alabama gave me some advice along with another player too: get to know the people you go to work with. And getting to know [Sonny Werblin], the ownership and Weeb Eubank – our coach who coached Johnny Unitas with the Colts to a championship -- it was really a no-brainer,” Namath said.
Namath, whose book “All the Way: My Life in Four Quarters” was released earlier this month, was drafted by the Jets with the No. 1 pick of the AFL Draft and with the No. 12 pick by the St. Louis Cardinals in the NFL Draft.
“It was as good move, but it wasn’t my choice. My mother made the decision. It was a time where you still listened to your parents and your big brothers and we had a family meeting. My mom says ‘Oh, I want you to go to college.’ My brother Bob hit the table with his fist and said ‘you’re going to college,’” he said.
Namath helped the Jets defeat the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, 16-7. The Colts at the time were regarded as the “greatest football team in history” and were 18-point favorites going into the game.
Three days before the game, Namath issued his career-defining proclamation.
“We're going to win the game. I guarantee it.”
He played with the Jets from 1965 to 1976 before finishing his career with the Los Angeles Rams in 1977. His Super Bowl victory is still the lone Jets championship.