Bryant Museum Previews "NAMATH"

Alabama football fans should be entertained by the HBO documentary, "NAMATH," even though it is more to spotlight Joe Namath's professional career. The executive producer of the show said, "We hope to present the definitive film on an NFL icon and a trailblazing free spirit."

That doesn't mean Joe Namath's Alabama football connection will be overlooked. And that's why some lucky Alabama fans will have the opportunity to see a preview of the presentation. Seats will be available for 150 fans to see the preview and will be distributed on a first-come basis. Free tickets will be available in the Bryant Museum lobby beginning Monday at 9 a.m. There is a limit of one ticket per person, while supply lasts.

The Bryant Museum will host a preview of "NAMATH" at 7 p.m. CST Friday, January 27 in the Ballroom of the Hotel Capstone on The University of Alabama campus.

"We are pleased to give Tide fans an opportunity to view this HBO documentary before the rest of the country," said Ken Gaddy, director of the Bryant Museum. "Joe Namath is one of the icons of Crimson Tide football."

The Emmy-winning combination of HBO Sports and NFL Films explores the fascinating life and career of one of Alabama's and pro football's biggest stars when "NAMATH," debuts Saturday January 28 from 8 p.m.-9:30 p.m. CST 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 Rick Bernstein, executive producer, HBO Sports. "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 he had become the Jets' starting quarterback. He was subsequently named AFL Rookie of the Year, and he 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 he 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 (

Interviews for the documentary include: family members Frank Namath, Rita Sims, and Jessica Namath; family friends Linwood Alford, Wibby Glover, Al Hassan, Jimmy Walsh, and Tad Dowd; former New York Jets teammates Matt Snell, John Schmitt, Don Maynard, Richard Castor, Emerson Boozer, and John Riggins; former Jets assistant coach Ken Meyer; former Alabama teammate Gaylon McCollough; former Alabama assistant coach Howard Schnellenberger; former Baltimore Colts head coach Don Shula; former NFL players Mike Curtis, Ben Davidson and Fred Dryer; sports journalists Sal Marchiano, Suzy Kolber, Dave Anderson, and Rick Telander; producers Larry Spangler and Roger Smith; attorney Mike Bite; and actress Ann-Margret.

HBO Sports and NFL Films have a long history of football productions, including the 2010 documentary "Lombardi," which earned rave reviews and received the Sports Emmy for Outstanding Documentary.

Contact the Bryant Museum at 205/348-9375 for more information.

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