In between Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan there was Joe Namath, one of the very few sports heroes who transcended their game. The son of a Hungarian immigrant, Namath left the steel country of Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, for the Deep South, where he played quarterback for Bear Bryant at the University of Alabama. Almost four years later, he signed a $427,000 contract with the New York Jets that changed football forever, transforming a crude, violent game into show business. Namath became the most glamorous athlete in America; his fame nurtured by the age of television, the point spread, and the sexual revolution. His hair, his draft deferment, and his white shoes became symbols for a generation. But it was his guarantee of victory in Super Bowl III that ensured his legend.
In the tradition of Richard Ben Cramer's Joe DiMaggio, David Maraniss's A Life of Vince Lombardi, and Nick Tosches's Dino, Mark Kriegel details Namath's journey from steeltown pool halls to the upper reaches of American celebrity, and beyond. He renders Namath as an athlete and a man, a brave champion and a wounded soul. Here are Namath's complex relationships with pain and fame plus his appearances in pantyhose ads, on The Simpsons, and Nixon's Enemies List. Namath is not just for football fans, but for any reader interested in the central role of sports in American culture. Download and start listening now!