NFL Hall of Famer: 'I would drink all day sometimes'
An infamous sideline interview during the 2003 football season is what gave legendary quarterback Joe Namath the motivation he needed to stop drinking, he writes in a new autobiography released Tuesday.
In the book, "All the Way: My Life in Four Quarters," Namath described the aftermath of the awkward interview with ESPN's Suzy Kolber, the one in which he told her he wanted to kiss her.
"I saw it as a blessing in disguise," said Namath, 75, who has acknowledged he was drunk during the interview. "I had embarrassed my friends and family and could not escape that feeling. I haven't had a drink since."
Namath reveals a lifetime of drinking in the book and says he drank too much because a voice in his head, which he nicknamed "Slick," told him to.
"Every now and then Slick whispers, but having a name for him makes me listen to him differently. And, health-wise, I'd probably be dead by now if I hadn't stopped drinking," Namath wrote.
The book retells Namath's life from the New York Jets' upset win in Super Bowl III to his concerns about brain injuries associated with the game to his personal life. He discusses his divorce from his wife, Deborah, which was fueled in part by his drinking.
In turn, his divorce drove his drinking even more.
"The drinking was what would kick my butt for a long time," he says. "I believe any of us can be brought to our knees whether from physical or emotional pain. Over the years, I learned how fragile we humans can be. Emotionally, I used that as an excuse to start drinking again. ... I would drink all day sometimes."
Namath played 13 seasons in the NFL, the first 12 with the Jets and the final one in 1977 with the Los Angeles Rams. "Broadway Joe" was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.
- Field Level Media