I finally got a chance to watch the HBO documentary “Namath” on Joe Namath today, and it was excellent. Being born after Namath was done playing, I had heard or read a lot of stories about him, but watching the film gave much better context to his life.
One of the more interesting stories shared in the documentary was about Namath’s short stint as a Monday Night Football broadcaster. Namath only lasted one year on the job, and he believes it was due to his drinking problem.
“One night we had a sponsor’s get together and we had an early flight in the morning,” Namath said. “Whenever I got up ready to go to the airport, I was thirsty, so I got a couple of cans of beer. I put one in my pocket, I popped the other one, and I went out front to get in the car.
“In the car, [I said to] the gentleman sitting there, ‘How you doing?’ I offered him a beer and he declined. He seemed like he was in a little cranky mood at the time.
“Frank Gifford told me, ‘That was your boss,’” Namath continued.
“And that’s probably why I lost my job,” said Namath.
“My wife told me if I didn’t stop drinking, it would break up my family. So I quit.”
Namath says he was sober for 13 years, but after his divorce he began drinking again. He was also obviously drunk when he hit on Suzy Kolber in the infamous 2003 Monday Night Football kissing interview. Soon after he was treated for his alcohol problem.
To give you another idea of how bad the alcohol problem was, in the film it says Namath and his friends would go to the bar to sober up after drinking on the set of his talk show.
Hopefully Namath has kicked his problems. We know one thing: He remains extremely outspoken and critical of the Jets.
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