Joe Namath Signs with Jets for $400K, January 2, 1965
Joe Namath’s spectacular run with the University of Alabama ended, on New Years Day, 1965. It ended with a heart breaking loss to the Texas Longhorns, in the Orange Bowl. However, any sadness Namath might have felt about his unsuccessful late-in-the-game quarterback sneak attempt; one that might have propelled the Crimson Tide to victory, lasted less only until the following morning.
Less than twenty-four hours after failing to win the Orange Bowl, still in Miami, Namath was all smiles as he appeared before what The New York Times described as “a Hollywood setting of grinding lights and high powered cameras”. There, New York Jets owner Sonny Werblin announced that Namath had signed a contract to play for the Jets.
Werblin said “We don’t care to divulge the figures, but I believe it is the largest amount ever given to an athlete for professional services.” The Times then noted that “it was reliably reported that the magic figure was $400,000, give or take a few thousand.”