Joe Willie Namath came from Beaver Falls, Penn., to the campus of the University of Alabama as an outstanding recruit, and in the process became a legendary quarterback on and off the field.
He helped lead Alabama to a national championship in 1964, and finished 11th in voting for the Heisman Trophy.
During his time with the Crimson Tide, he led the team to a 29–4 record over three seasons.
After he left Alabama to play for the New York Jets, the rest of the sports world learned about Joe and what a great player he was.
During his 13-year tenure from 1965 through 1977, Namath was considered one of the game's most exciting, proficient and publicized quarterbacks.
Namath's place in history was assured with his first pro football act, the signing of a reported $400,000 contract early in 1965 that gave the American Football League its biggest victory in the costly inter-league war of the 1960s. The National Football League’s St. Louis Cardinals had also drafted Namath.
“Broadway Joe,” as he quickly became known, won a starting job in his third game on his way to being named the AFL Rookie of the Year in 1965.
In 1967, he became the first quarterback to pass for more than 4,000 yards in one season.
His “guarantee” of winning Super Bowl III, and his fulfillment of that guarantee, became the story that helped him to be the star he became. It also didn't hurt that in addition to being named the Super Bowl MVP after throwing for 206 yards, he was also named the AFL Player of the Year and a unanimous All-Pro selection during the 1968 season.
Namath was plagued with knee injuries through much of his career. Still he completed 1,886 passes for 27,663 yards and 173 touchdowns in 12 seasons with the Jets and a final try with the Los Angeles Rams in 1977.
He enjoyed many exceptional days, one of which came in the 1968 AFL title game. He threw three touchdown passes to lead New York to a 27-23 win over the Oakland Raiders that set up the dramatic Super Bowl III showdown with the Baltimore Colts.
Namath earned all-league accolades four times in his career (1967, 1968, 1969, and 1972) and was named to the all-time AFL honor team in 1969. He was also elected to four AFL all-star games and one AFC-NFC Pro Bowl.
Namath is known throughout the world as an athlete, actor and pitchman. But at Alabama, he is a legend.