August 21, 1965 -- Say, who is the guy with the white shoes? The Buffalo Bills might have been asking that question during a preseason game in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Then again, maybe Joe Namath was reasonably well-known -- even at that point in his career.
Namath was the heralded first-round draft pick who signed with the Jets during the AFL-NFL war. His contract was for more than $400,000 when the numbers were added up. That was an incredible package for that day and age, particularly for a rookie. But the Jets were trying to gain traction in their battle with the Giants for New York's football fans, and Namath was loaded with talent and charisma.
The rookie suited up against the Bills in a preseason game played at Rutgers. Namath was 6 for 24 for 72 yards and two interceptions that day, which was hardly a sign that a Hall of Fame career was about to start.
Meanwhile, Darryl Lamonica threw two touchdown passes to Charley Ferguson, while Pete Gogolak had three field goals for the Bills in a 30-14 win. If Namath needed a small reminder about the identity of the defending champions in the American Football League, this served its purpose.
--- Budd Bailey