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“When you win, nothing hurts.” – Joe Namath

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Oct. 10, 1977 – Joe Namath played final game of his career

In the twilight of his career, Joe Namath was waived by the New York Jets to facilitate his move to the Los Angeles Rams when a trade could not be worked out. He was signed by the Rams on May 12, 1977. Namath hoped to revitalize his career, but by this point his effectiveness as a quarterback was greatly reduced by his knee injuries, a bad hamstring, and the general ravages of a long period of time playing professional football, as well as his “hard and fast” lifestyle. After playing well in a 2–1 start, Namath took a beating on a cold, windy, and rainy Monday night game in a one-point loss at the Chicago Bears, throwing two interceptions, with another being nullified by a penalty, and was through for the regular season.

He did not play again, but redemption and a Hollywood ending was there for the taking. After a disastrous three quarters of turnovers and only trailing by seven points in the opening round of the play-offs, head coach Chuck Knox seemed ready to pull Pat Haden and insert Namath. Rams assistant coach Kay Stephenson said Namath looked great warming-up in the third quarter and advised Knox to put him in. The television audience was on the edge of their seats as it appeared Namath would replace Pat Haden and save the Rams’ season. But Knox hesitated. Haden’s problems continued and the Rams lost to the Minnesota Vikings by a score of 14–7 in a sea of mud at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Namath retired from the Rams after a single season.

“You learn you can do your best when it’s hard, even when you’re tired and maybe hurting a little bit. It feels good to show some courage.” – Joe Namath

Jan. 2, 1965 – Joe Namath signed richest NFL rookie contract $400,000

Namath retired after playing in 143 career games (including play off games) with 68 wins, 71 losses and 4 ties, in his 132 career starts he was 64–64–4, and he was 4–7 coming off the bench in relief. In his career he threw 173 touchdowns, 220 interceptions, and completed 1,886 passes for 27,663 yards. During his thirteen years in the AFL and NFL he played for three division champions (the 1968 and 1969 AFL East Champion Jets and the 1977 NFC West Champion Rams), earned one league championship (1968 AFL Championship), and one Super Bowl victory (Super Bowl III).

In 1999, he was ranked number 96 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Football Players. He was the only player on the list to have spent a majority of his career with the Jets.

He is perhaps best known for boldly guaranteeing a Jets’ victory over Don Shula’s NFL Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III (1969) and then making good on his prediction.