Skip to Content

Joe Namath Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at the life of Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath.


Birth date: May 31, 1943

Birth place: Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

Birth name: Joseph William Namath

Father: John Namath, steel mill worker

Mother: Rose (Juhasz) Namath, maid

Marriage: Deborah Lynn “Tatiana” (Mays) Namath (1984-1999, divorced)

Children: Olivia Rose; Jessica Grace

Education: University of Alabama, B.A., 2007

Other Facts

Nicknamed “Broadway Joe.”

Played 13 seasons as quarterback for the New York Jets (1965-1976) and the Los Angeles Rams (1977).

Excelled at basketball in high school and was offered a professional baseball contract when he graduated, but he chose to pursue football.

Pursued an acting career on stage, screen and television.

Longtime University of Alabama head football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant called Namath “the greatest athlete I ever coached.”

Famously guaranteed victory in Super Bowl III (1969) over the Baltimore Colts, the favored team. The New York Jets won 16-7, and Namath was named MVP.


1962-1964 seasons – Plays for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide under head coach “Bear” Bryant.

1963 – Suspended the final two games of the season, including the 1964 Sugar Bowl, for disciplinary problems.

November 29, 1964 – Namath is drafted first overall by the American Football League’s (AFL) New York Jets and is also selected first round (12th overall) by the National Football League’s (NFL) St. Louis Cardinals. At the time, the AFL and NFL had separate drafts.

January 1, 1965 – Is voted MVP in a loss in the Orange Bowl to the University of Texas, 21-17. It is Namath’s final college game.

January 2, 1965 – Namath signs with the Jets, a three-year rookie contract worth $427,000, a record at the time. The contract also includes a Lincoln Continental.

January 1965 – Has his first knee surgery.

1965-1976 seasons – Quarterback for the New York Jets.

September 18, 1965 – Namath’s first appearance in a home game at Shea Stadium. The Kansas City Chiefs beat the New York Jets, 14-10.

December 20, 1965 – Named AFL’s Rookie of the Year.

1967 – First pro quarterback to pass for more than 4,000 yards in a single season.

January 12, 1969 – The New York Jets win Super Bowl III after Namath promises victory over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts, by a score of 16-7.

1977 season – Quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams; retires at the end of the season at age 34.

September 20-November 6, 1983 – Appears in the play “The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial” on Broadway.

1985 – Is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

April 1992 – Has both knees replaced.

December 20, 2003 – On the sideline at a Patriots-Jets game on ESPN, Suzy Kolber interviews a visibly drunk Namath who says, “I want to kiss you” twice before the camera cuts away. Namath later publicly apologizes and privately apologizes to Kolber.

January 2004 – Namath enters a substance abuse program for alcoholism; he is also treated for depression.

2006 – His autobiography “Namath” is published.

December 15, 2007 – Graduates from the University of Alabama, more than 40 years after leaving school to play professional football.

January 2014 – Namath reveals in an interview with CBS he has dealt with ongoing health effects of concussions incurred while he was a football player.

September 30, 2014 – The Joe Namath Neurological Research Center at Jupiter Medical Center opens in Jupiter, Florida. The center’s goal is to find new ways to reverse brain injury and improve long-term recovery for people with traumatic brain injury.

February 5, 2016 – A few days before Super Bowl 50, at a pre-game event, Namath tells The Mercury News that he will probably donate his brain for research upon his death. “Just as I would consider donating my heart and whatever else can be used in the future by someone, absolutely, of course I would,” Namath says.

May 7, 2019 – Namath’s memoir “All The Way: My Life in Four Quarters” is published.

™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - National

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

CNN Newsource


KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content