Janaury 2, 1965 – Joe Namath Signs

joe namath - 01.02.1965

MIAMI BEACH, Fla., Jan. 2 — RICHEST ROOKIE EVER ??  Alabama quarterback Joe Namath (right) looks at contract held by New York Jets coach Weeb Ewbank which Namath signed today making him possibly the richest rookie in football or any other sports.  The contract will reportedly bring Namath $300,000 salary in the next three years, $100,000 in bonuses, and a guaranteed lifetime pension of $5,000 a year.

Forty-nine years ago today, Joe Namath signed his historic contract, which helped pave the way for the AFL and NFL merger.  Has a rookie contract, or any other player contract, ever had such a drastic effect on a sport?

Todd Tobias (790 Posts)

Todd Tobias's interest in the American Football League began in 1998, when he wrote my master's thesis about Sid Gillman. He created this site to educate and entertain football fans with the stories of the American Football League, 1960-1969. You can follow Todd and get more AFL history on Twitter @TalesfromtheAFL.

7 Responses to Janaury 2, 1965 – Joe Namath Signs

  1. Brad Anderson says:

    The only signing, that I can think of, that may come close to having as big an impact on a sport is the signing of Jackie Robinson.

  2. John says:

    Concur. This signing lead to parity with the NFL and the merger.

  3. Howard says:

    Boy, I’m sure Joe looks forward to the $5,000.00 per year pension. I believe the contract with NBC came before the Namath signing? If so, that was a catalyst for signing Namath and securing the AFL as a financially viable entity.

  4. Jeff says:

    I’m curious, if he signed on Jan.2, when was the AFL draft? Wasn’t the title game on Dec. 26?

  5. Mike Metzler says:

    The draft of both leagues generally occurred in late November at the conclusion of the college season but before the bowl games.

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