Sep 20, 2014; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide former quarterback Joe Namath greets other Alabama Crimson Tide alumnus before the game against the Florida Gators at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
#2 Joe Namath
Joe Namath of Beaver Falls, PA played for the Crimson Tide from 1961-1964. He was a three-sport athlete in high school and turned down offers from multiple MLB teams to take a scholarship from Coach Bear Bryant.
He led the Tide to a 9-1 record in the 1962 regular season, including the fourth consecutive shutout of Auburn in the Iron Bowl. Namath was responsible for three touchdowns against Auburn. Alabama went on to beat Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.
Namath started the first ten games of the 1963 season, leading Alabama to an 8-2 record. He was suspended for the last two games of the season and did not play against Miami or in the Sugar Bowl against Ole Miss.
In spite of a nagging knee injury, Namath was the star of the 1964 national championship team. He was an all-SEC and an all-American selection in 1964.
The New York Jets selected Joe Namath with the first overall pick in the 1964 AFL Draft. In 1969, Joe Namath and the Jets won Super Bowl III, making Namath the first quarterback to start in and win a national championship in college and at the professional level.
Namath’s going to the Jets is also how Alabama ended up adopting houndstooth. New York Jets owner Sonny Werblin gave Bear Bryant his first houndstooth hat as a thank you for suggesting that the Jets draft Namath.
Joe Namath was the original celebrity quarterback. He appeared in print advertisements and TV shows. When ABC first broadcasted Monday Night Football in 1970, they deliberately showcased Joe Namath’s Jets.
In 1981, Joe Namath was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. He was a member of the 1985 NFL Hall of Fame class.
Next: #1 Harry Gilmer