Oliver Bateman's Reviews > Namath: a Biography

Namath by Mark Kriegel
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's review
Jul 10, 2011

liked it
Read from October 01 to November 23, 2011

A decent enough biography of Namath, but one that leans a bit too heavily on short, flashy sentences ("He tossed it to Sauer. Touchdown. That's how Joe did it: it was in the blood") and previously published accounts of Namath's gridiron exploits (e.g., pieces in Sports Illustrated, Paul Zimmerman's fantastic The Last Season of Weeb Ewbank, Rick Telander's Joe Namath and the Other Guys, etc.). And sometimes Kriegel doesn't even get it right when he's using a very easy-to-read printed source, such as when he writes that Weeb Ewbank shipped a past-his-prime Don Maynard to Philadelphia. If he'd bothered reading Zimmerman's book carefully, or even pulled up Maynard's profile on Wikipedia or thefootballcube.com, he'd see that the legendary wide receiver was traded to Don Coryell's St. Louis Cardinals. Nevertheless, the interviews with Namath's myriad of ex-friends are spot-on, and the portrait of the quarterback that is presented here seems reasonably accurate. It's probably for the best that Namath--a secretive and rather odd individual--chose not to speak with Kriegel, since it seems unlikely that he would have been very forthcoming. The most interesting part of the book concerned Namath's married life, off-Broadway career, and bizarre divorce (his wife left him for a plastic surgeon who, in her words "wasn't a jock" and "had such a cool ponytail").

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