Joe Namath is best known for being one of the most charismatic characters to ever come out of the National Football League.
Between his larger-than-life personality and his love of theater, Namath gives his fans the full New York experience.
Namath is just as well known for his time with the New York Jets and the Los Angeles Rams as he is for his fruitful acting career, where he could be seen on both television and movie screens.
There are very few players who are truly like “Broadway Joe” Namath.
What Is Joe Namath’s Net Worth?
Joe Namath has a net worth of $25 million, having earned much of his fortune through the sponsorships he received as a quarterback for the National Football League and his entertainment career.
He has also earned his fortune by investing in his own business and the different properties that he’s bought and sold.
Namath was born on May 31st of 1943 in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.
Growing up in a working family of six children gave Namath his desire to work hard for his dreams, but he also had natural talent as an athlete.
After his parents’ divorce, he began to focus his attention on sports.
Joe Namath played football, baseball, and basketball throughout high school.
By the time he graduated in 1961, Major League Baseball teams were swarming the young athlete with contract offers.
Namath’s mother wasn’t going to have her son skip college just to throw a ball around, so Namath turned down their offers and attended the University of Alabama.
Joe Namath chose to continue his football career while he was studying at the University of Alabama and played for the Crimson Tide.
During his time with the Crimson Tide, from 1962 to 1964, he led the team to new heights and even helped the team reach the national championship of 1964.
Namath severely injured his knee, which ended up protecting him from the draft for the Vietnam War.
Luckily, the injury wasn’t serious enough to permanently stop Namath from playing football.
Joe Namath was drafted by the New York Jets soon after he graduated from the University of Alabama, becoming a quarterback for the American Football League.
During his time with the Jets, he would quickly be recognized as one of the best quarterbacks in the league.
Namath would later end his football career with the Los Angeles Rams.
Becoming Broadway Joe With The New York Jets
Joe Namath made history when he signed with the New York Jets, which was originally one of the American Football League’s teams.
During the 1960s, the American Football League was looking to loosen the control that the National Football League had on professional football.
The American Football League was nearly identical to the National Football League, but what made the American Football League different was their advanced integration of black players and how frequently they’d recruit players from Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
In 1965, Joe Namath signed with the Jets and became the highest paid rookie at the time.
For his first contract, Namath made $427,000.
Namath said that he didn’t join the team for the money, but rather for the organization and the coach.
This was also a tactical decision that was part of the American Football League’s plan, which was buying up one of the most famous and successful college football players at the time.
By having better players, more people would want to watch their games.
After his first year, Namath earned his nickname “Broadway Joe” after appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
American football fans were falling in love with the charismatic Namath, and the National Football League was feeling the pressure.
By 1966, the two professional leagues decided to merge and have a new championship game that they’d call the Super Bowl.
Namath would get the New York Jets to Super Bowl III in 1969 and win the game by throwing eight passes to George Sauer for 133 yards.
Through his time with the New York Jets, Joe Namath would suffer multiple knee injuries that were caused by his college knee injury and the constant strain he was putting on his knees.
Namath continued to play for the Jets until 1977.
Finishing His Career With The Los Angeles Rams
By 1977, Joe Namath knew his time as a professional quarterback was going to be ending soon due to his increasing age and knee problems.
The New York Jets were looking to get a new coach and restructure the whole team, which wasn’t something that Namath was interested in.
During a guest appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, he told Carson that he was interested in playing for the Los Angeles Rams.
Newspaper headlines read, “Joe: Through with Jets,” but Namath’s opinion on the Jets wasn’t as cold as the headlines made it seem.
He simply felt that if the team was going to be changing even if he stays with the New York Jets, he might as well get a change in scenery, too.
Namath felt that he was not needed for the team’s restructuring and liked the team that the Los Angeles Rams had built up.
However, the new Jets coach, Walt Michaels, claimed that Namath hated to lose and hated being on a losing team.
Michaels also stated that he preferred younger players, quickly adding that they were discussing replacement plans for Namath at the time of the announcement.
What Joe Namath most appreciated about being with the Los Angeles Rams was the fact that they saw him as a player rather than the mascot-like character he had become for the professional football league.
Namath had also been friends with Los Angeles Rams coach, Chuck Knox since he was in high school.
By May of 1977, the Los Angeles Rams signed Joe Namath to a one-year contract worth $150,000.
Namath was barely able to play for his year with the Los Angeles Rams due to his destroyed knees and hamstrings that were barely in one piece.
The Brands That Sponsored Him
Joe Namath was infamous for accepting nearly any brand deal that came his way, with his most infamous commercial being the Beautymist pantyhose commercial.
Its absurdity and hilariousness have become one of the goofiest parts of professional football history.
The commercial started by having the camera slowly panning up the legs of a person who is lying down, with narration explaining that “Beautymist pantyhose can make any legs look like a million bucks.”
Viewers were shocked to find that the legs belonged to the young, popular football superstar Joe Namath, who had a cheeky smile waiting for the camera.
Namath was part of the first generation of professional athletes used in television commercials for a variety of products.
Over the years, Namath has been spotted in countless different product commercials including a personal panini grill from Hamilton Beach, Olivetti typewriters, Nike Air Zoom, Dingo shoes, Noxema shaving cream, and St. Mary’s Playmaker Bed and Bath Collection.
There was plenty of money to be made in advertising, and Namath was quick to take advantage of the opportunities he was being given.
Through this method, he became the highest paid celebrity of 1975. earning a total of more than $1.45 million.
Adjusting for inflation, that comes to a total of nearly $7 million between his quarterback salary and all of the sponsorships that he had in that year alone.
All of the time he spent on commercial sets only cemented his love for acting.
As Joe Namath got older, he knew that his knees weren’t going to last much longer, and his football career would end when they quit working properly.
By familiarizing himself with the commercial production environment, he was able to find a new passion and an excellent backup plan for when his knees finally gave out.
His Passion For Acting
Joe Namath began acting while he was still playing for the New York Jets, which he was well prepared for from all the advertisements he had done in the past.
Namath wanted more than a line or two in a commercial people were most likely ignoring and craved more from the world of acting.
His first role was on an episode of ABC Stage 67 called Olympus 7-0000, which followed the story of a football team that gets divine intervention from the Greek Gods.
Namath played an enchanted quarterback for the team.
In 1970, Namath got his first movie role when he played Joe William Reese in the comedy film Norwood.
The football legend starred alongside Glen Campbell, Kim Darby, Carol Lynley, and Dom DeLuise.
That same year, Joe Namath took on the leading role of C.C. Ryder in C.C. & Company.
He was accompanied by Ann-Margret and William Smith for the minor production, but the movie never seemed to ignite any kind of fanbase.
Only a year later, Joe Namath would lead another film called The Last Rebel, but the movie did even worse than his last movie.
After this movie, Namath would take a break from film to focus on his television career.
Dan Rowan and Dick Martin hosted a comedy show that was similar to Saturday Night Live or Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
Joe Namath also appeared as himself on Lucille Ball’s Here’s Lucy, where he attempts to convince Lucy that her son Craig will make an excellent quarterback if she just lets him play.
Namath also appeared as himself in an episode of The Brady Bunch.
Opening His Own Nightclub
In the spring of 1969, Joe Namath opened his own bar and nightclub called Bachelors III alongside singer Bobby Van and fellow New York Jets player Ray Abbruzzese.
The trio were the namesake three bachelors that created one of the most popular date spots in the United States at the time.
The nightclub was located at 798 Lexington Avenue in New York City, with more locations planned for Boston, New Orleans, and Miami.
It was one of the first bars that was created for single people to meet other singles.
However, the nightclub was so popular that it became a celebrity hub, and many of New York City’s wealthiest citizens frequented the spot.
The clientele also happened to include many of New York City’s members of organized crime groups.
Although the social hot spot seemed like it would be around for decades, Namath and Abbruzzese’s time with the nightclub got cut short due to the mafia reputation that the club had.
National Football League Commissioner Pete Rozelle claimed that the players were going against their contracts by associating with notorious persons, despite there being no sign that Namath had any direct contact with the mafia members.
Rozelle gave Namath the option to cut ties with his bar or give up his career with the National Football League.
Joe Namath was only 26 years old at the time and was infuriated that the head of the league was interfering with his life.
At first, Namath refused to give up his bar and did not attend the training camp that year.
However, Namath quickly realized that there was more fortune and fame to be made as a professional football player than as a famous bar owner.
By July of 1969, Joe Namath had sold his bar and returned to the New York Jets.
Putting His Fortune Into Real Estate
Thanks to the money that Joe Namath made during his younger years, he was able to invest in multiple different properties for himself and his family.
His most recent purchase ended up making him $180,000 in profit.
The property was a duplex co-op that Namath had bought for his daughter and her husband in the Upper West Side of New York City.
The 1,300-square-foot house had two bedrooms and one bathroom and was located a short walk away from Broadway.
There is also a custom wood deck and a small, lower-level garden.
The open-concept entertainment area includes a dining area, living room, and kitchen with plenty of windows to take in a perfect view of the bustling city.
His daughter’s bedroom consists of an entire wing and the master bathroom has been completely restored, even featuring a vintage, claw-foot bathtub.
There are an additional two bonus rooms that would be perfect for a home office or gym.
Although the property he had bought for his daughter was extremely high-end, it doesn’t compare to the massive house he has in Tequesta, Florida.
The more than 6,000-square-foot home sits on 1.5 acres and includes a swimming pool and a boat dock that goes out to the ocean.
Joe Namath’s house has four bedrooms and three bathrooms.
It also sits right next door to the private, 18-hole Tequesta Golf Course.
His Struggle With Alcoholism
Having spent his adult years with plenty of money in a bustling city that was New York City back in the 1960s and 1970s, Joe Namath quickly got addicted to alcohol and struggled with his addiction for decades.
It was his addiction to alcohol that caused his divorce from his wife, actress Deborah Mays.
She had told Namath that he would have to choose between drinking and their marriage, but his addiction was so strong that he couldn’t keep away from alcohol.
For years, Namath went back and forth between excessive drinking and sobriety.
In 2000, Deborah Mays divorced Joe Namath.
The divorce was incredibly difficult for Namath, and he ended up relapsing.
The changing point for Namath did come until 2003 when showed up to an interview for the New York Jets completely intoxicated.
He was so drunk that he attempted to kiss ESPN interviewer Suzy Kolber on-air, completely making a fool of himself and embarrassing his loved ones.
At this point, he caused his family and friends so much shame that he could no longer hide his problem.
Ever since the incident, Namath has refused to drink and has come up with new ways to cope with his drinking problem.
Namath has named the urge to drink in his head Slick.
Every time he gets the urge to drink, he simply tells himself that Slick is just trying to get him to mess up and has an easier time ignoring the urge.
Getting Back Into The World Of Restaurants
As part of Joe Namath’s retirement plan, he moved near one of his favorite boating destinations in Jupiter, Florida.
The town is best known for its vintage-red Jupiter Lighthouse that overlooks the town and the ocean.
Alongside his business partner Charles Monica, Joe Namath is opening up Charlie and Joe’s at Love Street.
The complex consists of three restaurants and one market, which will help bring a multitude of jobs to the area.
This joint business venture has cost Namath and Monica $30 million, but they believe that the new businesses will be good for the town’s neighborhood of Inlet Village.
The complex has outdoor seating areas and places to sip wine as you watch the local fishermen bring in their catch.
The local area is filled with celebrity-owned businesses, such as Michael Jordan’s 1000 North and Tiger Woods’s The Woods.
Jupiter’s iconic lighthouse makes the perfect backdrop for the waterfront businesses.
Joe Namath is happy to be spending his days in Florida, having first fallen in love with South Florida in 1962.
From the clear skies to the pace of people around him, Namath believes he has truly found the perfect place to call home.