Nice post, Juke.
Actually, the one positive came out of Joe's drunken display with Kolber was he sought treatment. From accounts, he never reached Pat Summerall level alcoholism, but the guy who was quoted as "liking his women blonde, and his Johnny Walker red" thirty five years ago had to have downed a lot of scotch over the years.
Joe played on knees no doctors would sanction today, and before recent medical innovations in ACL and MCL surgery. Severe arthritis had set into his knees while he was still playing - I remember reading at age 40 or so he was unable to cross the field of the football camp he runs for kids - had to use a golf cart.
Toughness, yeah, a legacy of Bear Bryant, whom Joe worshipped, and his western Pennsylvania background. Even tho he reached cultural icon status, (really, he carries a historical significance beyond Super Bowl III in how he reflected the change in pro athletes and the public perception of them - is there any more glaring example of the social cut off from the early 60's and late 60's than that between Johnny Unitas and Joe Namath? It's like Bobby Darren morphing into Jimi Hendrix
), he still was, at core, an old-school, tough guy football player.
And then there was that astonishing release...
....they just don't make em like that anymore.