Joe Namath and Leroy Neiman in front of Neiman's original painting. Photo by Matt Peyton.
Joe Namath and artist LeRoy Neiman entered Neiman's light filled studio Thursday morning amid a sea of photographers and news cameras eager to capture the two legends once again standing side-by-side.
The two reunited to unveil a limited edition serigraph of Neiman's bold and powerful painting titled Handoff - Super Bowl III which he painted shortly after the Jets' improbable victory over the Baltimore Colts on January 12, 1969. The painting, which features bright colors and strong strokes, depicts Namath's handoff to Matt Snell before the back's four-yard second quarter touchdown.
The original painting was transferred from Hofstra University, where it is prominently displayed at the Jets Training Complex, to the artist's studio for Thursday's festivities.
Namath and Neiman spent several hours signing 350 copies of the serigraph which are now available for sale at Hammer Galleries in New York City. Throughout the morning, they took breaks to catch up with one another, pose for plenty of photos, and toss a football around.
With Namath in the room, no one seemed too worried that Neiman's most prized works such as paintings of Muhammad Ali and Wynton Marsalis were in harm's way.
The remarkably accomplished men reflected on their long friendship, careers and life experiences. Clutching the football, Namath remarked, "It is incredible how much a ball like this can change one's life."
Though the Jets will not travel back to Miami as Super Bowl participants this year, Namath was proud of his former team's performance this past season – and hopes the Jets will win another championship for their fans sometime soon.