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How Could I Forget!?!

Sunday Night Football crew ESPN
Getty Images/NY Daily News Archive

Saturday, December 20th, 2003. 10 years ago. The New England Patriots were at the midway point of a truly impressive dynasty. During a rare Saturday night football game they were playing the NY Jets. The game was being broadcast on ESPN’s Sunday Night Football with Mike Patrick, Joe Theismann and Paul Maguire and sideline reporter Suzy Kolber. Ms. Kolber interviewed a champagne-infused Joe Namath and hilarity ensued.

In 2 quick clicks I could post the video that you’ve no doubt seen a dozen times but I will not for 2 long-winded reasons. First, I prefer to remember it my way which I’m sure is not accurate at all. And secondly, it’s out of respect, because I really like both of them. And I’m pretty sure both Suzy and Joe wish that video would disappear forever.

The thing that boggles my mind the most about that interview was how it was directed. Anyone watching could tell instantly that Joe was out of his mind hammered and hammered out of his mind. Then they went quickly back to the broadcast team in the booth and comments were made…

Joe Theismann: “Wow, Joe is happy tonight”

entire broadcast team laughs

Paul Maguire: “Hey, Joe’s a happy guy!”

… then they went BACK to the interview! The only other comment I have is that Mr. Namath’s pronunciation of “SSSSTRUGGGUGGLING” may be in the top twenty all time funniest things I’ve ever heard.

Joe Namath
Getty Images/Charles Eshelman

I can’t stand athletes from other teams and if that athlete is on a New York team, that hatred is multiplied exponentially. But Broadway Joe is the exception, he was buddies with Derek Sanderson, he was on the Brady Bunch, he genuinely seems like the coolest guy in the room AND on January 12, 1969 the Mighty NFC felt his wrath as he defeated the 18 point favorite Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. AFC FOR LIFE!

Suzy Kolber
Getty Images/Michael Zagaris

I can’t stand sideline reporters. Why do I have to stop watching the game to see a 3 minute interview of uninteresting questions being answered with an endless barrage of clichés or even worse, a 5 minute piece about the “reporter” ‘s trip to the Seattle public market in which he or she catches a freshly flung flounder?! But I’ve always liked Suzy, relevant and amiable, very passionate about all sports and I’ve always thought she knew WAY more about football than I ever did.

Shortly after this incident, Joe went into rehab, it worked wonders for him and at age 70, he looks better than ever. Suzy is still at ESPN, is still great and hosts NFL Live and other Bristol, CT programs. So, I guess by completely forgetting about the 10th anniversary of what I think is the funniest interview of all time … is the nicest gift I could give to them both.


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