NFL 2008 RSS
"I never get tired of talking about it. It's a memory that never gets old."
The Jets, AFL champions with an 11-3 regular-season record, were 19-point underdogs to Baltimore. The Colts, coached by
DON SHULA, dominated the NFL with a 13-1 regular-season record and defeated Cleveland 34-0 in the NFL title game. The
Colts had the top-ranked defense in the league and were considered one of the greatest teams of all-time.
At that time, most people felt the NFL was vastly superior to the AFL. Easy victories over the Chiefs and Oakland Raiders in
Super Bowls I and II by the vaunted Green Bay Packers only reinforced that belief. The NFL, with roots tracing back to 1920,
was seen as the one true professional league. The AFL, born in 1960, was regarded as upstart newcomers.
The brash Namath was honored by the Miami Touchdown Club as its player of the year on the Thursday night
before the game. As he stepped to the microphone, a voice in the crowd-belonging to a Colts' fan began
heckling him and predicting a lopsided Baltimore victory.
"I said, 'Whoa, wait a minute. You guys have been talking for two weeks now (meaning the Colts' fans
and the media) and I'm tired of hearing it,'" remembers Namath. "I said, 'I've got news for you. We're
gonna win the game. I guarantee it.'”
Namath's supporters happily applauded his bravado. One thing was certain: come Super Bowl Sunday, they
all would be watching. When Namath returned to the hotel, he called cornerback JOHNNY SAMPLE, the Jets'
defensive captain, in his room.
"Joe told me, 'I said something tonight that's gonna be all over the news tomorrow,'" said Sample. "I asked
him: 'What the heck did you say?' He told me he guaranteed we'd win the game. I said, 'Man, you didn't say that.'
He said yeah, he did."
Jets coach WEEB EWBANK knew nothing of Namath's comments until the next day when he awoke to find the
"guarantee" plastered across the front page of the morning paper. Having instructed his players to
generously praise the Colts and, if possible, make them even more overconfident, Ewbank was furious.
Namath's outburst, he feared, jeopardized everything.
Playing before a capacity crowd at the Orange Bowl, with millions more watching on television, Namath
(completing 17 of 28 passes for 206 yards) coolly picked apart the potent Colts. With his quick release,
Namath beat the Colts' blitz with quick passes to split end GEORGE SAUER (eight receptions, 133 yards).
The brash 25-year-old quarterback proved to be every bit as good as advertised -- and much better than
the Colts bargained for.
Namath directed the Jets' offense with patience and precision. He mixed his passes with the powerful runs
of fullback MATT SNELL (30 rushes, 121 yards) as the AFL upstarts took control of the game.
The Colts could not generate any points with quarterback EARL MORRALL. By the time Shula brought
sore-armed JOHNNY UNITAS off the bench in the third quarter, the Colts trailed 13-0. The Jets were in
such complete command, Namath did not have to throw a single pass in the fourth quarter. The Jets simply ran out the clock.
Forty years ago, the Jets brought the AFL its first Super Bowl victory and the stature needed to validate the merger of the two
leagues, which was agreed upon in 1966 with the actual merger taking place in 1970. It was a watershed moment in the history of
pro football, and Broadway Joe's star power put the Super Bowl at the top of the American sports marquee.
The 41 living players of the 1968 Jets and their two surviving coaches have been invited to anniversary ceremonies that
will be conducted this season on October 26 when the Jets host their old AFL rival, the Kansas City Chiefs. The night
before, the players and coaches will be treated to a gala dinner in New York City.
SUPER BOWL III MVP : QB JOE NAMATH, New York Jets
Jets Quarterback Joe Namath might have won the Most Valuable Player award without even throwing a pass. His
"guarantee" of victory -- and his determined leadership to back up his boast -- cemented the reputation of the
AFL and excited football fans around the country. The upstart Jets defeated the Baltimore Colts of the NFL 16-7
in one of the biggest upsets in sports history.
Completing 17-of-28 passes for 206 yards, Namath directed a Jets attack that rolled up 337 yards of total
offense. The New York Jets defense did its part by forcing 5 turnovers.
Namath's famous run off the field after the game, his index finger waving to let the world know who was
"No. 1," is one of the enduring images of the Super Bowl.
SUPER BOWL III SCORING
New York Jets (AFL)
Baltimore Colts (NFL)
NYJ Snell 4 run (J. Turner kick), 5:57
NYJ FG J. Turner 32, 4:52
NYJ FG J. Turner 30, 11:02
FG J. Turner 9, 1:34
BAL Hill 1 run (Michaels kick), 11:41
January 12, 1969
Orange Bowl (Miami, FL)
Super Bowl III Recap
New York Jets 16 Baltimore Colts 7