Life Lessions From Broadway Joe

Joe Namath (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Joe Namath speaks during a Super Bowl III 50th Anniversary celebration during halftime of the game between the New York Jets and the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium on October 14, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — I see the legendary quarterback Joe Namath has written his autobiography. And if you remember the late 1960s /early ‘70s, you remember what a pop culture celeb he was.

Namath was more than a sports hero who led the Jets to their only Super Bowl appearance and win ever in 1969.

(That’s right, it’s been 50 years since the Jets have even made the big game. So sorry about that.)

He was nicknamed Broadway Joe for a booze-soaked lifestyle that he very publicly embraced. “I only drink in two situations,” he once quipped. “When I’m with others and when I’m by myself.”

Now 75 and sober, Namath writes that his alcoholism had gotten so bad by the early 2000s, “I’d probably be dead by now if I hadn’t stopped drinking.”

As it was, alcohol cost Namath his health, his marriage, and much of his career.

It’s a grim, familiar story.

But times have changed, right? Maybe in some ways, but not when it comes to the celebration of binge drinking.

From the locker rooms to the Duck boats, no sports celebration is complete without champagne and beer being pounded. That sets the tone for a culture where status always has a drink in its hand.

Maybe Joe Namath’s book should be on the reading list in schools, although you don’t have to turn to celebrities for first-hand accounts of alcoholism.

Look around. You’ll find plenty of people who wish – just like Namath surely does – that they didn’t have to learn their lesson the hard way.

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Jon Keller is a WBZ TV & Radio political analyst. Read more


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