These are the shoes of Joe Namath, which are nice to be in if you are making Westerns in Rome with groovy little chicks (see cover), but not so nice if you are playing football against large, ill-tempered men, like the ones butting into the scenes on the following pages. These painful moments are from what one quarterback has called "the secondary nightmare"; the primary nightmare is interceptions. In each of these cases Namath has been racked up after throwing a pass—at right by the Chargers' Pete Barnes. There is little a quarterback can do at times like these except roll with the tackle; note his assailant's number so the blocking can be adjusted; brood about getting into a more soothing profession or, best yet, about hitting the owner up for more bread.
Denver Tackle Dave Costa drapes his 265 pounds on Namath (above) in the Broncos' 21-19 upset of the Jets, a game in which Joe Willie was repeatedly dropped, once so hard he required the ministrations of Team Physician Dr. James Nicholas (far left). Nor did Kansas City show mercy in its semifinal playoff win, Namath receiving succor from an official (left) and then a mighty forearm smash by 6'7", 287-pound Buck Buchanan (right).
Oiler End Elvin Bethea seems to be hugely amused at having deposited Namath on the seat of his pants, while Dolphin Ends Manuel Fernandez (75) and Jim Riley apparently congratulate each other on a successful pincers movement.
Rich Jackson, the Denver end who is known as Tombstone, prepares to bury Namath under 225 pounds (left). Above, 282-pound Buffalo Tackle Jim Dunaway, having broken through the Jet defenders, gathers Namath in a cold embrace.
August 16, 1970
The long, painful season over, Namath leaves the Shea Stadium field in a cloud of dust, the Jets having lost to the Chiefs 13-6 in the semifinal playoff game.