Letters

Letters 09-22-2014

Lame Duck Move

Twenty three states are controlled by Republican state legislatures and governors including Michigan. It is reported that Michigan Republicans are planning a sneak attack during the lame duck session to change the way electoral votes are allocated in presidential elections...

Lessons From The Middle East

“My enemy’s enemy is my friend.” That statement applies in the Middle East....

Student Athletes, Coaches Worth It

Are coaches at major universities overpaid? A simple Google search will show quite the opposite. These coaches do not get paid with taxpayer money. The coaches get paid by media companies, equipment companies, alumni groups, as well as revenue from ticket sales and merchandise...

Mute The Political Ads

Mark Sunday, September 14th as the opening of the flood gates, with TV political attack advertising. Fasten your seat belts until November 4th...

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Joe Nameth and the most...
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Joe Nameth and the most super, Super Bowl

George Foster - February 1st, 2010
Joe Namath and the most super, Super Bowl
When the underdog New York Jets were eliminated from Super Bowl
contention recently, it was a reminder of another underdog Jets team a
little over 40 years ago. In the 1969 Super Bowl, Jets quarterback Joe
Willie Namath changed, not just football, but the world of sports
forever.
You had to be there. Only football fans of that era can appreciate the
magnitude of the game. When the American Football League’s (AFL) New
York Jets beat the Baltimore Colts of the National Football League
(NFL), it was considered the biggest upset in American sports history.
It still is - the mighty Colts were an 18-point favorite and
considered by some as the greatest football team ever assembled.
Unlike now, there was an intense rivalry between NFL and AFL – players
and fans alike. The AFL was a rebel league, relatively new,
challenging the NFL for the third straight year in a championship
game. The NFL’s Green Bay Packers had whipped the AFL’s representative
badly in the previous two years.
Joe Namath was the most notorious outlaw in the rebel league. He wore
a sinister Fu Manchu mustache in a time when wearing any facial hair
at all was controversial. His party-animal, bachelor image spit in the
face of the sports establishment. He stayed out late Saturday nights,
reportedly taking in the alluring sights of Manhattan, but always
showed up on Sundays to lead the Jets to their most successful seasons
ever. His teammates and Jets fans loved him.
Probably not the best quarterback in the AFL, what Namath had was a
stadium full of confidence... okay arrogance. When he guaranteed a
victory for New York over Baltimore a few days before the 1969 game,
football fans backing the NFL were incensed. I can’t tell you how many
times I heard to the effect, “How dare he brag about beating the
Colts. Baltimore will make him eat those words.”
Many people were compelled to tune in to a Super Bowl game that they
might not have watched otherwise to see that bigmouth Namath and the
upstart Jets massacred by the now-angry Colts. In the spirit of
Namath, guarantees to win made by athletes today are fairly common. In
Michigan, sports fans are most familiar with former Piston Rashead
Wallace’s guarantees before playoff games. Wallace’s promises had
mixed results at best, but they are no longer a big deal – a cliché at
best.
Few of us knew at the time that the proposed merger of the leagues
from 1966 began to unravel after AFL teams were trounced in the first
two Super Bowls. It appeared that the AFL couldn’t compete with the
NFL–why should the NFL bring in rinky-dink AFL teams that would dilute
the quality of play?
Of course, the AFL’s Jets delivered on Joe Namath’s guarantee by
humbling the NFL’s Colts 16-7. Namath was the MVP of the 1969 Super
Bowl, the NFL and AFL merged leagues in 1970, and the rest is history.
The outlaw image of athletes is more the norm in sports, today.
The intense rivalry between the leagues has since all but disappeared,
but the merged NFL has prospered to become the most popular and
powerful sport in the United States. Pro football is now the model
sport for success. Its teams earn billion of dollars for relatively
few games each season. Players’ salaries average near $1 million per
season, often earning much more for endorsements from advertisers.
Pro football and sports has Joe Namath and the 1969 New York Jets
to thank for much of their popularity and wealth. And there will never
be another NFL championship game more memorable than Super Bowl III.

 
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