Joe Namath knows hatred. He understands what it's like to be the shiny target with the chiseled chin.
Broadway Joe was an iconoclast of the old-school, crew-cut quarterback tradition in football. He wore fur coats on the sideline, starred in Hollywood productions and strutted in bell-bottoms during his career with the New York Jets during the '60s and '70s.
Namath was flashy, young and good—and therefore knows exactly what it feels like to be Tom Brady.
This is the message the Jets Hall of Famer relayed to Kristian Dyer of Metro.us (h/t Deadspin's Sean Newell). Dyer was conducting an interview with Namath when the subject of fans’ almost-universal hatred for Tom Brady was brought into discussion.
Brady’s name stood at the top of this list, with 18 percent of NFL fans selecting the Patriots signal-caller as the quarterback they dislike the most (Tebow was second, with 12 percent).
Namath’s reasoning for this animosity toward Brady? Jealousy. Tom Terrific is a good-looking man with a supermodel wife in Gisele Bundchen and Super Bowl Rings to spare.
“Opponents having to play against Brady have to be legitimately angry seeing his smile on the sideline after touchdowns,” Namath said. “It’s kind of a compliment to be disliked by so many people.”
Namath went on, adding that Brady is probably too busy enjoying his beautiful wife to worry about his detractors.
“I think [Brady] looks at his wife’s pictures in the magazine and holds her hand more than he reads his own press clips,” Namath said. “It is the wins, number one, then because he is so visible [as to why Brady is hated]. It is human nature to want that success.”
Namath also said he can relate to the criticism and petty jealousy Brady deals with. He felt it himself during his playing days and described a strange thing that occurred after he threw an interception against the Oakland Raiders in 1969.
I had a defensive guy, when I played the Oakland Raiders in that championship game...I threw an interception I still blame on Mother Nature—the ball I thought I threw it perfect but it got caught up in the wind. A rookie cornerback made the interception and I tackled him on the return, just short of the goal line. He got up and boy was he hot. He screamed ‘I hate you, I hate you! I hate you, Namath!’ I looked at him and said ‘Easy there, rookie,’ and walked away.
Indeed, being universally hated can lead to awkward and unexpected outpourings of emotion.
Thus was the passion and pain of Joe Namath. A chiseled jawline and cannon arm are his and Brady’s crosses to bear.
Look for Namath to take his de facto mentorship of Brady to the next level this postseason. He might show up in Denver on Sunday with a chinchilla coat and boots fashioned out of baby seal smiles.
After all, who else can understand Brady but someone who knows what it’s like to be really, really, ridiculously good-looking and awesome at sports?
Don't hate Joe because he's beautiful.