Joe Namath is a legend that has captured the hearts of sports fans everywhere. Dubbed as “Broadway Joe” by a fellow teammate when Joe was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, Joe continues to capture the hearts of fans of all ages with his broad smile and kind nature. In his new book, My Life in Four Quarters, Joe talks about the many lessons he learned and continues to use his success and fame to help those in need. I had the unique privilege to speak with Joe about the book and here’s how it went:
Joe Namath Inspiring Others to Succeed
Jay Block: You’ve created millions of memories for sports fans across the world. Have you ever sat down to imagine the magnitude of that and the fact that you are an absolute world icon?
Joe Namath: The truth is Jay, I have not.
But being a Gemini and monitoring myself, my behaviour, my experiences throughout my lifetime, I recognize what’s been going on and just thankful for the opportunities that I’ve had.
Jay Block: In your new book, you really made yourself vulnerable to tell the audience some of the struggles that you had gone through as an athlete and how you got past them. I always wondered if sometimes the success becomes overwhelming and leads to different problems players have on the field, or off the field. Do you feel that that happens? And what would be your warning message to anyone tasting success?
Joe Namath: Jay, I couldn’t speak for other people. I can only speak for myself. Other individuals have their way of looking at things.
I’ve learned my attitude, my ways, my movement in life from mentors, starting at home with respect taught me by my mother and father. As corny as it could sound to some people, the mentors I had in sports were very influential. I am an individual that has tried to do the things that were expressed to me by folks that were very important to me at different times in my life as mentors. Basic things like respect for one another. And the rest of it, man, I just kept trying my hardest to do the things that I was asked to do, led to do and had the opportunity to do.
As far as, in the book, talking about the setbacks, the missteps and the errors- I’ve made so many in my life that it wasn’t difficult to talk about those things because I’m trying to share those things with people that might be struggling out there. Of all ages.
Change is a constant. We either improve or back up. We don’t stay the same. With that in mind, I keep wanting people, my family, to change forward, change for the better, and not get caught in a rut and and spin wheels and actually be backing up.
Jay Block: When people think about the name, Joe Namath, they feel like that person has achieved every type of bucket checklist anyone could ever dream of. And, yet, you continue to set new goals and inspire more people and do more interviews. What keeps you so young and invigorated to do it
Joe Namath: Life is a challenge, man. We don’t control what nature throws at us. What comes our way that we didn’t even have an influence in facing or causing will confront us. It’s how we handle those things on a daily basis. I’m constantly learning, and I’m trying to live this life in a healthy fashion, taking care of this instrument that I’ve been blessed with, and yet continuing to make progress, influencing people that I come in contact with, hopefully in a positive direction. I just want to keep on making progress.
“If you don’t go all the way, why go at all”
Jay Block: Long before I had seen the book, I had known your great expression that said, “If you don’t go all the way, then don’t go at all.” Where did you develop that mindset?
Joe Namath: Honestly, Jay I’m not even sure. It was just the way I felt about things and giving 100% effort to whatever it is. If you can’t give it your best effort, why are you giving it any effort? Any endeavour, if it’s worth your time to take it and try to accomplish something, you should do the best you can.
Jay Block: I would think, tell me if I’m right or wrong, that that mindset is what propelled you to do so many great things. Would you agree?
Joe Namath: You know what, I agree to a small extent here. Without my belief and spirituality, when I go back to when I had an injury, torn ligaments in my right knee as a young fella, I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to get on an athletic field again, or perform. I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to perform as an athlete again, and laying in that hospital brought me closer to God than I had ever been before that. I’ve always believed in spirituality and I knew I was in God’s hands then because, man, I didn’t have much control at all over the situation. I have continued to maintain a closeness with my spirituality and know that life in all forms is important to me tremendously. I hope more people out there will respect life in its various forms and enjoy it and take care of it.
Just be Thankful!
Jay Block: What are some of the things that you are most proud of that you’ve been able to achieve through sports and through everything that you’ve accomplished?
Joe Namath: To this day, it’s clumsy for me when I hear that word of pride. I’m thankful. I’m not proud in a sense. I’ve been led, I’ve been helped by these mentors in sports, mainly starting with my high school coach, Larry Bruno, then Paul “Bear” Bryant, and Weeb Ewbank as well as Lou Holtz, guys that I’ve been around that shared life lessons with me. And my best friend, Jim Walsh and I going back to college, we’ve been through a lot, and we’ve been able to share these things.
I try not to use the word “I” so much. It’s about so much more than “me” and “I”. In sports, talking to coaches, talking about a performance, first thing we learned early on was no “could’ve”, “should’ve”, “would’ve”, and no “yeah, but” either. Try to eliminate those. I’m thankful to have survived this long. If it were totally my end, I wouldn’t be here. I would have struck out a long time ago.
Originally published HERE