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Namath on 'Namath'

At the premiere of the HBO sports documentary Namath in New York City, the film's titular subject had some mixed feelings about seeing his life laid out on the big screen. "I still feel awkward about it. It's strange talking about your life," said the legendary Jets quarterback. "But it's great seeing so many friends, family and teammates. I know these people. I'm tickled."

The 68-year-old Namath was at first hesitant about doing the film. "I didn't want to do it. Are you kidding me? To talk about your life; it can be hard when you have parts that you don't care to talk about and share. But I trusted HBO and NFL Films. I figured they were smarter than I am. If that many people wanted to do this thing, then there must be a reason for it."

Namath has been making headlines recently as he's been outspoken in his criticism of the Jets management, including head coach Rex Ryan. "He's unique. I've never seen that style in all the years I've been around football, "Namath said at the event. He also came to the defense of Jets troubled quarterback Mark Sanchez, who he was once seen instructing on the proper technique to receive a snap from snapper. "This group is not the first one I've explained the proper way to get the ball from center and it's not the first one that hasn't listened. One thing I know, they spend their lives studying it. They're trying to get it right.

"Mark made some mistakes this year, no doubt," Namath continued. "But he can play. It's his third year, man. He's gonna learn. Sometimes he wants to do things because he's expected to. He's tired of being the kid, he's a man. He's gonna be fine. How about our man Eli [Manning]? He wasn't exactly getting nothing but standing ovations his first few years.  He's tough and he's improved, and he's already won a Super Bowl. Life, football, you learn through the experiences. You can watch all the film you want, read all the books you want, but you got to get out there and do it at full speed. Eli's better than he was two, three years ago; Mark Sanchez is gonna be better than he is now."

Namath is still a Jet at his core, but that doesn't preclude him for rooting for their stadium-mates in next week's Super Bowl. "I want a winner here [in New York] and I'm not talking about the Blue. This week I want the Blue. I know people on practically every team, so I don't pull against people, I pull for people. And I'm pulling for the Giants."

012612 Namath premiere


HBO Sports Documentary