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Joe Namath's Fur Coat: Nothing New, But It's A Talker

Former New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath in 1971, left, and at Sunday's Super Bowl in New Jersey.
Former New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath in 1971, left, and at Sunday's Super Bowl in New Jersey.

The Seattle Seahawks' "Legion of Boom" defense delivered on its promise. Peyton Manning and his Denver Broncos couldn't do anything right. Bruno Mars came through with a "red-hot" halftime performance.

But one of the most-tweeted-about topics before, during and after Super Bowl Sunday was about something that happened prior to Seattle's 43-8 dismantling of Denver.

Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath's appearance on the field for the coin toss got lots of attention not only because the referee had to intercept Broadway Joe's first flip, but because of the fur coat that the Jets legend was wearing.

As NPR's Julie Rovner tweeted at the sight of it: "Joe Namath's coat needs a twitter account, stat." It got one.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals weighed in quickly with a message to Namath:

"The fur on your massive coat was meant for ANIMALS :(

"Please consider FAUX!"

Many others found humor. The Muppets tweeted that:

"For the record: We had nothing to do with @RealJoeNamath's jacket."

Some just reveled in the moment:

"I think it's clear to everyone that Joe Namath's coat won the Super Bowl."

Maybe we're just old, but we want to note that it might have been more surprising if Namath had not worn a fur. Older football fans will remember he often showed up in similar coats back in the '60s and '70s.

So as we say in the headline, this isn't a new thing. But it does seem to have gotten folks talking.

As for the intercepted coin flip, has posted a clip of it here. Basically, Namath tossed the coin in the air before Seattle had a chance to call heads or tails. Referee Terry McAulay, showing off some good hands, grabbed the coin in the air and gave the Seahawks a chance to make their choice. Then Namath tossed the coin again.

Seattle won the toss, and 12 seconds into the game was already ahead — a lead the Seahawks wouldn't give up.

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Mark Memmott
Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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