Namath debuts on HBO Saturday

From HBO Sports –

          The Emmy®-winning combination of HBO Sports and NFL Films explores the fascinating life and career of one of pro football’s biggest stars when NAMATH, a documentary on New York Jets icon Joe Namath, debuts SATURDAY, JAN. 28 (9:00-10:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
          Other HBO playdates:  Jan 28 (1:00 a.m.) and 31 (noon, midnight), and Feb. 3 (5:30 p.m.), 5 (11:15 a.m.), 7 (noon, 3:30 a.m.), 9 (8:00 p.m., 1:30 a.m.), 11 (3:00 p.m.), 15 (11:30 a.m., 5:45 p.m.) and 17 (7:30 p.m.)
          HBO2 playdates:  Jan. 30 (4:30 p.m., 12:50 a.m.) and Feb. 6 (6:30 p.m., 4:30 a.m.), 18 (7:45 a.m.), 21 (12:25 p.m., 8:00 p.m.), 26 (8:30 a.m.) and 29 (midnight)
          HBO On Demand availability:  Jan. 30-Feb. 28
          Born in Beaver Falls, Pa. in 1943, Namath was raised in western Pennsylvania and was a stellar high school athlete in basketball, baseball and football.  He accepted a football scholarship to the University of Alabama and played quarterback for the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant.  Namath led the Crimson Tide to the top of the national polls in 1964 and his stock as a pro football prospect soared.
          With entertainment mogul Sonny Werblin at the helm of ownership of the New York Jets, Namath elected to sign with the upstart American Football League for a then-staggering $427,000, and by game five of his first season had become the Jets’ starting quarterback.  He was subsequently named AFL Rookie of the Year, and was one of the first sports celebrity superstars, captivating both the entertainment press and fans with his movie-star looks and bigger-than-life “Broadway Joe” personality.
          In a moment that would alter the NFL landscape, Namath led the underdog New York Jets to a world championship title in Super Bowl III versus the heavily favored Baltimore Colts.   His “guarantee” of a Jets upset brought him legendary status.
          While his MVP performance in Super Bowl III was the high point, Namath fashioned a high-flying all-star career during his 13 years in pro football, and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.
          Now 68, Namath remains engaged in the game with which he has had a lifelong love affair.  He provides radio commentary, is connected to new media initiatives through Facebook and Twitter (@realjoenamath), and hosts his own website destination (
          Interviews for the documentary include:  family members Frank Namath, Rita Sims and Jessica Namath; family friends Linwood Alford, Wibby Glover, Al Hassan, Jimmy Walsh and Tad Dowd; former New York Jets teammates Matt Snell, John Schmitt, Don Maynard, Richard Castor, Emerson Boozer and John Riggins; former Jets assistant coach Ken Meyer; former Alabama teammate Gaylon McCollough; former Alabama assistant coach Howard Schnellenberger; former Baltimore Colts head coach Don Shula; former NFL players Mike Curtis, Ben Davidson and Fred Dryer; sports journalists Sal Marchiano, Suzy Kolber, Dave Anderson and Rick Telander; producers Larry Spangler and Roger Smith; attorney Mike Bite; and actress Ann-Margret.
          HBO Sports and NFL Films have a long history of acclaimed football productions, including the 2010 documentary “Lombardi,” which earned rave reviews and received the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Documentary.
          The executive producers of NAMATH are Rick Bernstein for HBO Sports and Steve Sabol for NFL Films; produced by Joe Lavine for HBO Sports and Keith Cossrow for NFL Films; Liev Schreiber narrates; music composed by Dave Robidoux of NFL Films; writer, Ouisie Shapiro; senior coordinating producers for NFL FILMS, Pat Kelleher and Ross Ketover; executive producer for Namanco Productions Inc, James Walsh.
          Highlights of NAMATH:
          Former Alabama teammate Gaylon McCollough:  “He had good command of the Alabama offense.  He was shifty, he was all over the field and he almost left you standing in your boots when you were trying to tackle him.  He had tremendous speed and quickness and agility.  He was like trying to tackle the wind.  He could stop on a dime and throw a jump pass 40 or 50 yards.  It was different from what our opponents had seen in the past.”
          Gaylon McCollough:  “One of the tragedies in American sports is that most people never had the chance to see a healthy Joe Namath play, to see how good he really was.  If you had ever seen him at his best, you’d never forget it.”
          Former New York Jets offensive coach Ken Meyer:  “[He’s] the only quarterback I’ve ever been around that you didn’t have to look to see when the ball was released…You could hear the ‘whoosh’ when the ball left his hand.  And that is not kidding!”
         Sports journalist Rick Telander:  “There had not been anybody like Joe Namath, not in sports.  Long hair, sideburns…a Fu Manchu.  Suddenly it’s like, ‘We got some kind of revolutionary here.’  No, you got a guy who’s growing a Fu Manchu ‘cause the chicks dig it.”
          New York sportscaster Sal Marchiano:  “So here was this rascal – not a maverick – a rascal who wore white shoes, wore his hair long, and he went his own way.  He was Mick Jagger in a football uniform.  He wasn’t Pat Boone.  And that’s what America wanted.”
          Former Colts head coach Don Shula on Namath delivering in Super Bowl III:  “You gotta give credit where credit is due, and Namath, he made the predictions, then he made ‘em come true.”
          Former NFL player Fred Dryer:  “That guy was very important to the game of football as a cultural icon, and how he brought professional football into the television era and with it a whole degree of excitement…The likes of him will never ever, ever pass this way again.”

          Joe Namath:  “Something’s been guiding me around throughout my life.  I keep saying, ‘I’m just a lucky guy.’ ”


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