Friday, November 21, 2014

Review of "Namath"

When a biography of a sports figure, especially one as complex as Joe Namath, covers all aspects of the subject's life, one might question how balanced and complete this book would be.  This excellent biography covers all aspects of Namath's life very well.  Here is my review of "Namath." 

“Namath: A Biography” by Mark Kriegel, narrated by Scott Brick

Football (American), professional, Jets, biography

Publish date:
July 26, 2005

528 pages

5 of 5 stars (outstanding)

Football fans of all levels, from casual to hard-core, have heard of Joe Namath in some way.  Many know of him for guaranteeing a win for his team, the New York Jets, over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III (which was not called by that name yet).  Others may know him from his high risk, high reward style of play in the old American Football League before it merged with the established league to create the National Football League.  Yet others may remember him for his commercials (the segment on his famous panty hose commercial is worth reading or listening to twice), his hard drinking, his love of the ladies and just being a rebel in the 1960’s and 70’s. 

No matter what aspect of Joe Namath intrigues the reader, he or she will enjoy this well researched, well written biography of the man by Mark 
Kriegel,.  Kriegel,’s time with the New York Daily News gave him insight into the complex character of Namath that others who did not see him during his glory days with the Jets may not have. 

While the chapters on his exploits on the field are very good, the best research and writing were in the chapters about his time at the University of Alabama and his post-football life when he eventually did settle down, got married and raised two daughters. Some may have a hard time picturing “Broadway Joe” doting on two little girls, but that is exactly what he was doing at the time.

The other reason that I felt this was an excellent book was how 
Kriegel, related to the reader how Namath’s character was developed.  This was a complete description of that process, from Namath’s childhood with divorced parents, how Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant became his surrogate father at Alabama to his hard partying, perpetual bachelor lifestyle as a pro quarterback to his life as a married man.  That is a lot of changes and complexities, each covered in detail.

The audio book was a very good version of this work, with excellent narration by Scott Brick.  He, like the author, covered the book in an even keel, never putting too much emotion or acting into his delivery.   This was one of the most complete sports biographies that I have enjoyed, and the balance of each aspect of Namath’s life is why I believe every sports fan should pick up this book.

Pace of the book: 
The narrative seemed to flow freely and because it followed a chronological timeline, this made the audio book easy to follow.

Do I recommend? 
Yes, especially for football fans who recall “Broadway Joe” and his fearless style of play. However, this is also a good read for people who like celebrity biographies, especially as Namath’s celebrity status lasted long after his football career was over.

Book Format Read:
Audio book

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