When Pro Football was Played in Alexandria’s Del Ray #TBT

George Washington Middle School in Alexandria, Virginia (Photo: Craig Pennington in the Flickr Pool)
(Photo: Craig Pennington in the Flickr Pool)

On this Throwback Thursday, in honor of the NFL football 2017 season kicking off TONIGHT with the Hall of Fame game, here’s an interesting NFL-related story involving Alexandria, Virginia.

As longtime football fans may remember, Alabama star Quarterback Joe Namath spurned the NFL when he came out of college in 1965 and signed with the New York Jets in the American Football League.

Did you know he made his pro debut in Alexandria, Virginia in the summer of ’65?

Via WETA’s Boundary Stones

So where do you think Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath made his professional football debut? Shea Stadium in New York? Wrong. Fenway Park in Boston? Wrong again. D.C. Stadium in Washington? Nice try, but no.

The correct answer is… George Washington High School in Alexandria, Virginia. Say what? Yes, it’s true.

On August 7, 1965 Namath and the New York Jets played the Houston Oilers at GWHS in their first preseason game of the 1965 AFL season. (Namath had participated in the Jets’ rookie game vs. the Boston Patriots a few days prior, but this was his first taste of the “varsity.”) The game was a charity benefit sponsored by Kena Temple, the local Shriners organization, and was wrapped into the city’s annual “Alexandria Days” summer festival.