Riding Joe Namath’s Coat Tails

Move over Pharrell’s Grammys hat, you’ve had enough shade thrown at you and your 15 minutes are up.  Enter legendary New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath and his fur coat which went viral on the twitterverse shortly after last night’s botched and prophetic Super Bowl XLVIII coin toss.  Namath was handed the coin by the referee  before the Seattle Seahawks got to call heads or tails.  He threw it in the air, flashing his Super Bowl ring only worn on “special occasions” and the ref caught the coin before it hit the ground.  This necessitated  a do-over which Seattle won (and, as we now know, they also took the Vince Lombardi Trophy).  “That was a nice catch,” quipped  Broadway Joe, so named by Jets teammate Sherman Plunkett upon seeing a 1973 Sports Illustrated cover of Namath with the lights of Broadway in the background.

Joe Namath wearing fur in 1973

The internet dubbed him “Eskimo Joe” on this relatively balmy and rainy early February New Jersey night and suggested that a raincoat would have sufficed. Instead  the Hall of Famer showed up, as he’s been known to do, sporting a fur coat (PETA tweeted their displeasure asking him to consider faux) which some likened to the dead groundhog in honor of groundhog day as well as the Ikea monkey.  I wasn’t aware of the Ikea monkey (I know that’s “bananas”) so naturally I consulted the internet and found that the monkey, wearing a tiny shearling coat, had gone viral in December 2012 when it was found roaming the parking lot of a Canadian Ikea until its owner who was later fined for having him, was found.

Apparently, the monkey should be fined for “aping” Joe, since Namath appears to have worn his version of the fox coat in the ’70s.  Of course, those who are older than twitter will remember Joe wearing various fur coats (and white Puma’s instead of the regulation darker high top shoes) as he sat on the sidelines with his team.  This practice of wearing full-length fur coats gained popularity with other athletes including Joe Theismann, Muhammed Ali and Magic Johnson, to name a few.  The NFL has since banned their wearing game side in favor of league approved team apparel.  Joe Namath also donned pantyhose ( in a 1973 commercial) but somehow that didn’t catch on with the rest of his teammates.  He sported the Hanes Beautymist hose to show women that, if they looked good on him, think what they would look like on you and also appeared in a Noxzema shaving cream commercial with a then-unknown Farrah Fawcett.  After his retirement from football in 1978, he also appeared in movies (one with Ann-Margaret), TV shows and as a cast replacement on Broadway in “The Caine Mutiny Court Martial.”

Namath had been in the news over the past few days as saying that the human body was not made to play football and that he had some lasting brain damage from numerous concussions he had suffered over his career (not to mention two knee replacements).  As the only quarterback to ever lead the Jets to a Super Bowl win in 1968 ( Super Bowl III) and now, as a grandpa, I think he’s earned the right to wear whatever he likes.  Perhaps someone should have flung a fur on losing Denver Broncos Quarterback Peyton Manning…

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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