Michael MacCambridge's 2004 America's Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured a Nation:
Al Davis was still an assistant with the Chargers in 1962. After an in-season scouting trip to watch an Alabama game in 1962, he came back sporting a sly, knowing grin.
"What'd you see?" asked Gillman.
"I saw a guy who tips the field," said Davis, a dose of portent added to his typical air of certitude.
"What do you mean?"
"This sonofabitch plays like he's going downhill," said Davis.
"Who is it?" asked Gillman.
"A kid, Namath, out of Pennsylvania."
. . .
What set the young Joe Namath apart was a strong arm and one of the quickest releases in the history of the sport. The steelworker's son from Beaver Falls, Pennyslvania, also possessed an intuitive ability to read the defenses and "see" the field, combined with -- at the time, before a litany of knee operations -- uncommon mobility that made him a dangerous running threat.
Sonny Werblin divined something that had eluded the scouts and the computers. He realized that Namath had not only talent, but some ineffable added component of charisma and glamour that could make him something much more than just a skilled rookie quarterback with a big contract. "No one actually knows what it is," Werblin once said to a friend. "But it's people like, when Joe DiMaggio walks into a room. I don't think anyone can put their finger on what exactly it is, but there's no doubt that this guy's got it."
Tags: Michael MacCambridge, America's Game