There has never been an NFL quarterback like former New York Jets star Joe Namath, and there will never be another one like him. Sure, he’s one of the most popular QBs to ever play the game, but Namath’s flamboyant presence on and off the field may be what he’s best known for today.
It should not surprise anyone that Namath became a go-to face for advertising campaigns and sponsorships. One particular product the former Jets quarterback endorsed takes the cake as the weirdest advertisement he’s ever done.
Joe Namath, pantyhose salesman?
The commercial begins with a pair of feet and a voiceover stating, “Beautymist pantyhose can make any legs look like a million dollars.” Then, the camera pans up the legs as a cymbal signals a great reveal. By the end, the viewers can see that Namath is the owner of those legs and pantyhose.
“Now, I don’t wear pantyhose,” Namath says. “But, if Beautymist can make my legs look good, imagine what they’ll do for years.” The Jets QB was part of the first generation who saw athletes selling products like they do today. The dated commercial is drenched in an ironic take on 1970s masculinity, but it captures the essence of why we still talk about Namath over 50 years after he first began playing in the NFL.
The world of sports is filled with vibrant personalities of every shape and size, but few will ever resonate with the brand that Namath created for himself.
‘Broadway Joe’ Namath
Long before Russell Westbrook and LeBron James wore stylish clothes and accessories into the locker rooms, Namath strutted around in fur coats and audacious eyewear and footwear. New York was the perfect city for Namath, but one particular area of the city resonated with the quarterback right away, and a nickname was born.
“I figured we had to go uptown because where we came from the lights were uptown,” Namath told Sports Illustrated via Jets Wire. “Naturally, we went too uptown and we found Broadway. All of the action going on there, it was theater, rush hour time in the evening and people were looking around seeing what the heck was going on because we had the lights and all.”
Namath took a famous picture on the street as a rookie, and the legend of “Broadway Joe” was born. To this day, Namath is often seen wearing flashy coats and saying outlandish things. Despite the sideshow antics, his play on the field was just as unique.
Namath’s NFL career
Namath began his career on the New York Jets’ bench. Playing in a different era, he did not benefit from the rules that protect quarterbacks today. Namath made his debut in 1965, starting nine of 13 games. The results showed promise, but he was not a breakout athlete yet.
In 1967, Namath showed that he could be a star. That year, Namath threw for over 4,000 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 28 interceptions. This penchant for interceptions is often held against him, but it did not define his career by any stretch. By the beginning of 1969, Broadway Joe was a Super Bowl Champion. Years later, his unique career got him into the Hall of Fame.
The latter part of Namath’s career was marred with injury and losing seasons. But his legend lives on through commercials like the Beautymist one and the legacy he left on the field.