By Gilbert Cruz
Updated September 03, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

Yes, there’s the drinking and the women, but did you know about the sensitive side of Joe Namath? Kriegel’s biography of the New York Jets quarterback gives us a bit of that — see Broadway Joe’s 1997 performance in Chekhov’s ”The Seagull” — but it’s the juicy tidbits of Namath’s early years that carry the book. His boasts of bedding 300 women while at college in Alabama, spilling drinks on Sinatra, guaranteeing wins, and quelling Harlem riots — the kinds of things legends are made of. Unfortunately, such riveting incidents are long coming, as the book follows an all-too-familiar course, from cocky young phenom to broken-down shiller of topical analgesic to divorcé spinning into alcoholic solace. Thick on football minutiae, Namath should appeal to sports fans of a certain age and to all those older women who once fell in love with Joe. Look at that cover photo — how could they not?