New York Jets legend Joe Namath turns 77 on Sunday, remembering fans of a much simpler time in the country and world.
The last day of May. The last day of flowers after those April showers that lead us into the summer. What May 31 also represents is a New York Jets legend’s birthday.
Joe Namath turned 77 on Sunday, allowing the Jets fan just a glimmer of nostalgia that allowed him or her to escape from the troubled time currently witnessed today.
Today is Joe Namath's 77th birthday.
"Broadway Joe" is the New York Jets all-time leader in passing yards & passing TD.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985. pic.twitter.com/alPBj5Uflo
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 31, 2020
Namath, of course, is Jets’ history. Not only that, but he may be the single most important figure in NFL history.
Names such as Pete Rozelle, Welling Mara, Paul Brown and Vince Lombardi will always remain critical to the league’s success, but it’s was Namath’s Super Bowl 3 story that allowed the NFL to turn into the modern powerhouse it is today.
Remember, the Super Bowl was considered a joke at the time. The Jets entered the game against the mighty Baltimore Colts as an 18-point underdog, a line simply unheard of in sports circles. Everybody considered the title game to have already gone down when the Colts came away with the NFL championship. Everybody also believed the AFL would eventually fold. Maybe the NFL would gobble up a team or two (with a lot of players), but it couldn’t hang around much longer.
Namath’s brashness and the Jets victory changed all of that thinking on a dime, and once the Kansas City Chiefs doubled-down against the Minnesota Vikings a year later, the merger happened and the NFL laid the foundation for what’s become the most powerful professional sports league of all-time.
That’s just a little of how important the birthday boy is to the sport. Don’t forget, he was also the first legitimate celebrity-athlete our country laid eyes on.
Joe Namath, now 77 during a time the entire country wishes it can turn back the clock five or so decades.
Sam Darnold’s birthday to follow next week.