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Pick of the Day: Namath all night long


In 1969, Joe Namath was America's biggest sports celebrity, the Michael Jordan of his time. He had long hair, plenty of babes and more than an ample taste for scotch.

Broadway Joe reveled in his playboy image. He even let Jimmy Breslin come along for the ride. Breslin's "Namath All Night Long" in the April, 1969 issue of New York magazine would be impossible to write today, with the armies of image specialists who surround stars.

Here was Breslin's take on Namath's significance in those days when the Jets quarterback delivered a Super Bowl championship to a city that was fast becoming a model of urban dysfunction:

"When you live in fires and funerals and strikes and rats and people screaming in the night, sports is the only thing that makes any sense. And there is only one sport anymore that can change the tone of a city and there is only one player who can do it. His name is Joe Willie Namath and when he beat the Baltimore Colts he gave New York the kind of light, meaningless, dippy and lovely few days we had all but forgotten."

So if Namath wanted to tip back a few, why not?

"Do you drink during the football season?" Breslin asked.

"Just about all the time," Namath replied, grinning and recounting how the night before a big game against the Raiders he "grabbed a girl and a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red and went to the Summit Hotel and stayed in bed all night with the girl and the bottle."

The next day, Breslin writes, Namath awoke, kissed the girl goodbye, dropped "the empty whisky bottle in the wastebasket," put on his mink coat and went to the stadium, where he threw a clutch 50 yard TD to seal the game for the Jets.

"Same thing before the Super Bowl," Namath told Breslin. "It's good for you. It loosens you up good for the game."

Hard to imagine Tom Brady or Brett Favre letting a writer get that close. Check out Breslin's classic here


By Paul Schwartzman  | January 7, 2010; 12:33 PM ET
Categories:  Story Picks  
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