When they mention the best quarterbacks, you just don’t hear these names anymore, Len Dawson, John Hadl, Bob Griese and most shocking Joe Namath – Broadway Joe…
I saw Namath’s new HBO Special a few nights back and it was well done. Namath narrates the program and the guy still looks pretty sharp, even handsome for a 68 year old man with bad knees. There was a time when he ruled the sports world along with Muhammad Ali. Both are heroes of mine. You all know I did a couple movies with Ali and got to know him.
Joe Willie, well, that’s another story.
It was 1980, the year the Royals would make the World Series. One of my best pals was Phil Freeland, he would eventually be part owner of Woodside, back then he managed Brookridge Country Club in Overland Park. Phil’s dad and Don Tanner owned the club.
Years earlier I had lived in the apartments behind the golf course. We had just opened Stanford’s South on 95th and Metcalf and I was the area manager of both Stanford’s and the new Stanford’s East, near the Plaza. Brookridge had a "penthouse." It was located facing the golf course, had a large living room, TV room, and a couple nice bedrooms. Tanner and his pals would stay there on occasion. Phil and I used it for party time.
One weekend Phil came to me and said, "Craig, you won’t believe it but one of the Chiefs has Joe Namath coming in town this week for a night or two and I told him you could hook them both up with two super hot waitresses or just hotties."
Phil went on to say that if I did that we could hang out with Broadway Joe.
Phil was thinking of these two hot blondes – Jill and Julie – who he’d met. Both were 9’s and just over 20. I thought, ‘Gee, why does Joe need my help? He can score easily enough.’ And Phil explained that Joe wanted it kept quiet and just make it a simple have the girls show up and off we’d go.
It ended up being a weeknight, so as we know, our city is little sleepy on weeknights. I set it up. Boy, was I excited, Broadway Joe, damn.
Now this was a year before I moved to LA, so meeting someone like Namath was an even bigger deal to me then than it would be later. I even picked up the girls to make sure they didn’t screw things up.
I took them to the "penthouse" and I saw Joe Willie and the Chiefs player (a married, star running back) get out of their car and go inside but I hadn’t yet met Joe. The girls went inside without me and Phil said, "Let them all talk first and make sure everyone is happy."
I was told they were going to party at Crown Center and w’d all meet up there. OK. Phil and I went out by ourselves, drank a bit, watched the clock and at around 10 PM we went to Crown Center as planned. Phil Called the room, no answer. We waited a couple hours but never reached Joe, the girls or anyone.
WE GOT STOOD UP!
I was pissed, but there was nothing I could do but just go home. My night out with Broadway Joe went up in smoke. I had done my end, man, what a rip off, huh?
The Chiefs player later said how sorry he was to me and that Joe just didn’t want anyone around that he didn’t know. Except the girls, of course. I was told how pleased Joe was at their being HOT. Great.
Years later, after I had done three Champions Forever films, I was set to produce: CHAMPIONS FOREVER THE QUARTERBACKS. With all the greats of the Boomer generation. I met with Ken Stabler and was set to meet Namath in LA.
The guy never showed. Figures.
The movie didn’t get made – not because of Namath – the coolest guy in football history.
Oh well, can’t win them all.