Joseph William Namath (May 31, 1943-) (QB) nearly became a New York via Major League Baseball as the Yankees and the Mets, as well as the Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Phillies made offers to the young quarterback from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. Namath starred in high school at football, baseball, and basketball, frequently dunking during games though it wasn’t commonplace at the time. Joe accepted a full scholarship from Paul “Bear” Bryant and the University of Alabama where he led the Crimson Tide to the 1964 National Championship and a 29-4 record over three seasons calling plays. The New York Jets of the American Football League selected Joe with the Number 1 overall pick of the 1965 AFL Draft, but was also taken with the 12th overall pick of the 1965 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. Joe Willie joined the Jets and quickly established himself as a premier gunslinger as he led the AFL in completions, attempts, passing yardage and yards per game in his second and third seasons. In 1967 Namath became the first quarterback to throw for more than 4,000 passing yards (4,007).
In 1968, now a newly adopted New Yorker, Broadway Joe led the Jets to an 11-3-0 record, throwing for more than 3.000 yards and 15 touchdowns and earning his first of two consecutive AFL AP Player of the Year awards. Namath engineered New York’s march the Super Bowl III against the highly favored Baltimore Colts, famously guaranteeing a victory and earning Super Bowl MVP honors as the Jets won 16-7. He earned MVP honors for Super Bowl III as he threw for 206 yards with 17 completions in 28 attempts. Broadway Joe played 12 years with the Jets (1965-1976) before finishing his career with the Los Angeles Rams (1977). Namath led the AFL twice in completions and attempts, three times in passing yards and yards per game and once in touchdowns. Namath played in five AFL All-Star Games, was named to the 1972 AFL All-Pro First Team and was the 1974 NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Joe Namath finished his career with 27,663 passing yards and 173 touchdowns on 1,886 completions in 3,762 attempts. Joe Namath was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985. Following his playing days, Namath, already acclimated to the bright lights of Broadway and Madison Avenue, appeared in numerous major motion pictures, television series and advertisements. Joe Willie also served as a color commentator on various NFL broadcasts for years that followed.