Joe Namath played college football at the University of Alabama for legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. Bryant called Namath "the greatest athlete I have ever coached." In his senior year, Namath led the Crimson Tide to the 1964 National Championship.
After college, Joe Namath signed a professional contract with the New York Jets for what was then a record amount of money. In his first season, 1965, Namath was named the American Football League's (AFL) Rookie of the Year.
In 1967 Joe Namath -- who led the AFL in passing yardage -- became the first professional quarterback in history to pass for more than 4,000 yards in a single season. He was named the AFL's Most Valuable Player in 1968.
Joe Namath is perhaps best known for publicly guaranteeing the New York Jets would beat the Baltimore Colts in the 1969 Super Bowl. Going into the game, the Jets were 19 1/2-point underdogs. The Jets beat the Colts 16-7 to stun the sports world. Not only was Namath selected Most Valuable Player, but this game was considered instrumental in forging the eventual merger of the AFL and the National Football League.
During his professional career, Joe Namath appeared in five all-star games and was twice named Most Valuable Player. He received the prized Hickock Belt for Professional Athlete of the Year, the George Halas Award for Most Courageous Athlete and the Dodge Man of the Year Award.
Joe Namath played 12 seasons with the New York Jets and retired after one season with the Los Angeles Rams in 1977. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio on August 3, 1985.
Following his retirement from professional football, Joe Namath appeared in movies, in plays and on television. In addition, he served as an analyst for NBC Sports and ABC's Monday Night Football.