The official word: The Emmy®-winning combination of HBO Sports and NFL Films will explore the fascinating life and career of one of pro football’s biggest stars in a documentary on New York Jets icon Joe Namath, it was announced today by Rick Bernstein, executive producer, HBO Sports. NAMATH debuts SATURDAY, JAN. 28 (8:00-9:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.
UPDATE from HBO: The debut date for NAMATH has changed. Previously scheduled to debut Feb. 4, the HBO Sports documentary is now set to debut SATURDAY, JAN. 28 (8:00-9:30 p.m. ET/9:00-10:30 p.m. PT), exclusively on HBO.
“Joe Namath is one of the most compelling sports figures of the last 50 years and we are delighted to tell his story,” said Bernstein. “We will retrace his life not only from Joe’s perspective, but also from the viewpoints of many others who are familiar with Joe’s extraordinary football career, following his journey from Beaver Falls to today. We hope to present the definitive film on an NFL icon and a trailblazing free spirit.”
“In the mythology of pro football, Joe Namath is Arthur,” says Steve Sabol, president of NFL Films. “He pulled the proverbial sword from the stone and the NFL became the Camelot of American sports. His story is timeless, authentic and also very human. It is a privilege for NFL Films to partner with HBO Sports once again in documenting the life of ‘Broadway Joe.’ ”
Born in Beaver Falls, Pa. in 1943, Namath was raised in western Pennsylvania and was a stellar high school athlete in basketball, baseball and football. He accepted a football scholarship to the University of Alabama and played quarterback for the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant. Namath led the Crimson Tide to the top of the national polls in 1964 and his stock as a pro football prospect soared.
With entertainment mogul Sonny Werblin at the helm of ownership of the New York Jets, Namath elected to sign with the upstart American Football League for a then-staggering $427,000, and by game five of his first season had become the Jets’ starting quarterback. He was subsequently named AFL Rookie of the Year, and was one of the first sports celebrity superstars, captivating both the entertainment press and fans with his movie-star looks and bigger-than-life “Broadway Joe” personality.
In a moment that would alter the NFL landscape, Namath led the underdog New York Jets to a world championship title in Super Bowl III versus the heavily favored Baltimore Colts. His “guarantee” of a Jets upset brought him legendary status.
While his MVP performance in Super Bowl III was the high point, Namath fashioned a high-flying all-star career during his 13 years in pro football, and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.
Now 68, Namath remains engaged in the game with which he has had a lifelong love affair. He provides radio commentary, is connected to new media initiatives through Facebook and Twitter (@realjoenamath), and hosts his own website destination (broadwayjoe.tv).
HBO Sports and NFL Films have a long history of acclaimed football productions, including the 2010 documentary “Lombardi,” which earned rave reviews and received the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Documentary.
The executive producers of NAMATH are Rick Bernstein for HBO Sports and Steve Sabol for NFL Films; produced by Joe Lavine for HBO Sports and Keith Cossrow for NFL Films; Liev Schreiber narrates; music composed by Dave Robidoux of NFL Films; executive producer for Namanco Productions Inc, James Walsh.