Joe Namath Drunk Video with Suzy Kolber Hits 10-Year Anniversary: 'I Want To Kiss You' Interview Showed Broadway Joe of an Alcohol Problem
Friday was the 10-year anniversary of Suzy Kolber saving Joe Namath's life. Twice.
Deadspin.com reported on Dec. 20, 2003, Namath conducted his infamous "I wanna kiss you" interview with Kolber during a New York Jets Saturday night football game against the New England Patriots.
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Namath was among the Jets greats being honored at the game. He led New York to the shocking Super Bowl III upset of the Baltimore Colts.
He was also drunk at the game.
Kolber was a sideline reporter for ESPN who secured an in-game interview with Namath. USA TODAY sports reported that nine years after the incident, Kolber revealed in an HBO documentary on Namath that she was unable to talk to him before they went on camera. She said Namath "wouldn't stand still," according to profootballtalk.nbcsports.com.
The USA TODAY Sports report quoted Kolber as saying, "When we first started talking and he was slow and deliberate and in his speech, what was going through my head was, 'Maybe it's just really cold.' And none of the executives in the truck were alarmed either because nobody said (to) stop. ... The direction in my earpiece was, 'keep going.' "
That's when Namath blurted out the now-memorable "I wanna kiss you. I couldn't care less about the Jets strug-a-ling."
Kolber first saved Namath with her professionalism. After he said he wanted to kiss her a second time, she glossed over the comment, saying, "Thanks, Joe!" Though the incident did considerable damage to Namath's public persona, Kolber could've made life a whole lot tougher on Namath if she would've responded in anger then or afterward.
"I felt like, 'uh-oh,' Joe is in trouble here and let's get him out of it," Kolber said in 2012. "Get him off the air as quickly as possible." USA TODAY Sports reported that Kolber said she hadn't spoken about the incident "because I knew he wanted it to go away."
Namath called Kolber to apologize a couple days later. The conversation itself turned out to be a wakeup call to Namath that he had a drinking problem. In 2006, Deadspin.com reported Namath as saying, "It was that incident that brought to light that I needed to do something, absolutely. And I'm glad. I hated having to deal with that incident, the family, the friends ... the fans. I mean, that really hurt."