The snow was just beginning to fall heavily Sunday morning when a large male coyote strolled by not 20 yards from my back door. He was a handsome fellow to be sure. He was stunning in that wintry scene.
And when Joe Namath took the field at the Super Bowl a few hours later I saw that look again. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Joe Willie was stunning – he’s just Joe and he’s always been cool – but I certainly recognized the fur.
Social media pounced as the world went nuts taking sides and generally misidentifying his coat. If Twitter showed us one thing Sunday it was that people love fur or hate it, but the great majority don’t really know what they’re talking about.
That was not a mink coat (USA Today and others). It was not a chinchilla coat. It sure as heck wasn’t the same coat he wore 40 years ago. It wasn’t even over-sized or full-length – and those were the polite inaccurate descriptions.
Joe was wearing a zippered parker stroller, a coat of a length to just above the knee. The fur was coyote with Norwegian fox trim. That’s a Norwegian white fox from Denmark, a farm-raised species – not to be confused with the Norwegian band Ylvis famous for the viral video and song “What Does The Fox Say?”
Namath’s daughter sported fur coat as well. She wore a standard bomber jacket in American gray fox with a red fox collar.
This is according to Marc Kaufman of Marc Kaufman furs in New York. He should know. He’s the one who made the coats. Check his web site at kaufmanfurs.com and you’ll see a photo of him with Broadway Joe on the home page.
The coat was not over-sized but, as Kaufman put it, “coyote is a bulky fur so that’s how it’s going to look, and it’s going to keep you warm.” While the coat was overkill at 50 degrees, "it would have kept him warm if it was 5," Kaufman said.
The coat was requested for the event, Kaufman said. Namath clearly wanted to make a statement and bring back a little of that flash and tradition of his heyday. We should all be so cool when we’re in our 70s.
“He just wanted to have something new that looked bright and sharp,” Kaufman said. “I think the white made the statement.”
The publicity hasn’t hurt Kaufman's business. He said he’s had at least 30 media calls, made some sales Monday morning, and Inside Edition was on its way to his shop when he ended the call with me. “It was very strong for fur,” he said of Namath’s appearance. “In life you have opposition to everything. There are people who want to wear fur and there are those who don’t.”
The first edition of the trade publication Fur Age Weekly in 1920 addressed the issue, he said. “That was the first question asked, ‘what do we do about the animal protestors,’” he said. “Things don’t change, names, dates and locations, that’s all.”