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One Brady Bunch actress ''felt sorry for'' Joe Namath when he visited the set

The Brady Bunch succeeded because of its core cast of eight. A domestic comedy only works if its family is believable. If Cindy and Jan don't feel like actual sisters, then the whole conceit of the show crumbles. We have to accept the fictional family dynamic as quickly as possible. It's the actors' natural chemistry that allows us to suspend our disbelief.

While the Brady family was inarguably the most crucial part of the show, viewers also responded strongly to the episodes which featured guest stars. In fact, according to Barry Williams' book Growing Up Brady: I Was a Teenage Greg, the guest stars are a constant point of conversation with fans. Many of the best-remembered episodes featured guest stars, like Davy Jones and Don Ho. However, Williams most fondly recalls the episode featuring the NY Jets' star quarterback, Joe Namath.

"In 1972, 'Broadway Joe' was something much larger than just a football hero. With his awards, personal mystique, mountains of press, and high-profile luxury lifestyle, he had become a bona fide superstar. The anticipation of his visit to our set had all of us really excited. We expected an entourage' we expected babes draped on each arm with spares following behind; we expected cheerleaders to do cartwheels over his every move. But none of that happened."

Williams laments the fact that there was such little time to spend with the guest stars. Hectic shooting schedules and a lack of free time on set meant that the cast rarely mingled with the one-off features. However, while they didn't get time to play ball together, Namath had just enough time to leave quite the impression on the young Greg Brady.

"What we did get," wrote Williams, "was a genuinely nice, genuinely down-to-earth guy, who wasn't at all flash, wasn't nearly as slick as we'd assumed, and wasn't nearly the invincible superjock we'd envisioned. Clobbered through season after season of abuse and injury, Joe's legendarily wobbly knees were obviously causing him an incredible amount of pain."

It seems Namath's knees weren't only an issue on the field.

"Ann B. Davis remembers that she was 'crazy about the guy and had a bit of a crush on him too' but that when he actually showed up, she just 'felt sorry for the man because he could barely walk.'"

Those injuries didn't stop Florence Henderson from mercilessly flirting with the football star, though, according to her onscreen son. 

Do you remember seeing Broadway Joe on The Brady Bunch? Were you a Jets fan, or did he clobber your favorite team? Let us know in the comments section below!

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