Joe Namath briefly retired from football after winning Super Bowl 3. He actually began his brief retirement after winning Super Bowl 4, but briefly returned to football before deciding to retire. The reasons for his retirement are somewhat muddy, but it appears he was trying to go legit and avoid jail time.
Joe Namath is the most famous athlete in the world who never played a single professional football game. He is best known for being the first quarterback to win two Super Bowls. He played for the New York Jets and was the face of the team due to his cool and collected way of playing. However, after he won Super Bowl III, he temporarily retired from the NFL.
I’m not saying that Joe Namath was a mobster, but he definitely left the NFL prematurely after winning the Super Bowl in 1969.. Read more about super bowl iii and let us know what you think.
You’ve already heard the tale. Joe Namath is a professional football player. and the New York Jets showed the AFL could compete when they defeated the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl 3 in January 1969.
But what you may not know is that for a short moment, that shocking win looked to be Namath’s last game in the league — and believe us when we say it wasn’t because he wanted to leave as a champion like Peyton Manning did.
Following a dispute with Pete Rozelle after Super Bowl 3, Joe Namath temporarily retired.
Joe Namath, the legendary quarterback for the New York Jets, won Super Bowl 3 in 1969 and then retired a few months later | Getty Images
Joe Namath was everything that professional sports in the 1960s weren’t accustomed to. He was a sex icon during the counterculture movement because of his long hair and pleasant demeanor.
Everyone wanted a piece of Namath, and NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle was worried. Bachelors III, a nightclub in New York City, was part-owned by the famous quarterback. The club was owned by him, Jets safety Ray Abruzzese, and singer Bobby Van, all of whom were bachelors, thus the name.
The pub attracted organized crime figures, who allegedly utilized it as a hangout. Rozelle ordered Namath to renounce his stake in the bar or risk being suspended for being connected with “notorious people” in the spring of 1969.
Namath stood firm and maintained the bar had no criminal connections until June 6, 1969, when he announced his retirement from football at a news conference. Later that year, in an interview with Playboy, the reigning Super Bowl MVP revealed why he’d taken such a risky move.
“I retired because I had just one thought about the entire thing: f–k the money and everything else. I was completely correct, dude; Bachelors III was flawless. But, in the end, with all the compromises, the point didn’t seem all that important.”
Namath didn’t remain on the bench for long, as he returned to the field before the season started. He also sold his nightclub interest, but said that neither he nor the bar had any ties to the mafia.
What would the Jets have done if Namath had remained retired as a quarterback?
Namath’s initial retirement is one of many fascinating alternative worlds that may be found in professional sports. One has to wonder what would have occurred if he had retired from football permanently.
The 1970 NFL Draft featured two elite quarterback prospects: Terry Bradshaw of Louisiana Tech, who was chosen first overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Mike Phipps of Purdue, who was selected third overall by the Cleveland Browns. The Browns had to deal Paul Warfield, a future Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver, to the Miami Dolphins in order to get Phipps.
The Jets ended 1969 with a 10-4 record, while the Dolphins finished with a 3-10-1 record. Perhaps the Jets would have crumbled and ended with a worse record than the Dolphins if it hadn’t been for Namath. Then, in the first round, the Super Bowl 3 winners might have selected Phipps.
Alternatively, the Jets might have chosen their next franchise quarterback in 1971. The New Orleans Saints selected Ole Miss quarterback Archie Manning with the second overall selection that year. Archie, the father of Peyton and Eli, was a two-time Pro Bowler and is a member of the Saints Hall of Fame.
However, given the Jets’ luck, they would have chosen a quarterback in the middle rounds who would have never played a significant snap for them. Sometimes it’s simply that straightforward.
If Namath hadn’t sold his ownership interest, would he have faced a lifelong ban?
It’s unclear if Rozelle ever threatened Namath with a lifetime suspension. When speaking with Playboy, the Jets icon never suggested such a penalty.
In recent decades, professional sports leagues in North America have generally abandoned the “lifetime ban.” Those who have been prohibited, generally for legal reasons or drug use, may normally seek for reinstatement at a later date.
Pete Rose, the manager of the Cincinnati Reds at the time, was notoriously suspended by Major League Baseball in 1989 for betting on baseball. Since then, only former St. Louis Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa and ex-Atlanta Braves general manager John Coppolella have received the same penalty.
After pleading guilty to five charges of unauthorized access to a protected computer, Correa was sentenced to 46 months in jail for hacking the Houston Astros’ scouting database. He was allegedly freed in 2018 after completing more than two years of his sentence. When it came to signing foreign free agents, Coppolella broke league regulations. Both were sentenced to prison in 2017.
Major League Baseball delivered a strong message to the other 29 clubs with its penalties against Atlanta, which included a suspension for former GM John Coppolella. If you attempt to cheat in Latin America, the league will destroy your organization.
November 21, 2017 — Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan)
In 2014, the NBA banned then-Los Angeles Clippers governor Donald Sterling for life after leaked audiotapes revealed his racist remarks. Meanwhile, since penalizing New York Giants teammates Frank Filchock and Merle Hapes for rigging the 1946 NFL Championship Game, the NFL has not imposed a lifetime suspension. If Namath hadn’t sold his share in Bachelors III, that list could have included a much more current name.
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RELATED: Pete Rose is out of the MLB, but he hasn’t treated baseball any worse than Rob Manfred.
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