Super Bowl – Broadway Joe’s Guarantee Saves the Super Bowl


Following the first two Super Bowl blowouts by the Green Bay Packers was a serious evaluation of the event. It was believed that the National Football League teams would continue to rout the American Football League teams into perpetuity. Thus, NFL officials feared that interest in the game would fade. There was talk of a new format to ensure that “superior” NFL teams would make the Super Bowl.

And when Super Bowl III ended up with the matchup of the Baltimore Colts and New York Jets, those fears of a mismatch were exacerbated. Baltimore was considered the unbeatable NFL champion for 1968. While all the New York Jets had was a brash, loudmouthed playboy quarterback.

On January 12, 1969, Super Bowl III was played at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. It was the first Super Bowl to be called the Super Bowl officially. NBC would televise the game with the legendary team of Curt Gowdy and Al DeRogatis, along with Kyle Rote. Baltimore was an 18-point-betting favorite.


Super Bowl Futures – The Unbeatable Colts

Unlike the aging Green Bay Packers of the first two Super Bowls, the Baltimore Colts were a more dynamic team on both sides of the line. Baltimore rampaged to a 13-1 record, scored the second-most points, and allowed the fewest in the NFL. In the NFL Championship Game, the Colts destroyed the Browns in Cleveland 34-0. This demolition led to the theory of the AFL not standing a chance against such a juggernaut. Colts head coach Don Shula was tabbed the next NFL genius.


Super Bowl Predictions – The Weak Link MVP

Baltimore rolled to the NFL championship without its star quarterback Johnny Unitas. The future Hall of Famer had a bad throwing arm and missed the season. Backup journeyman Earl Morrall took over and won NFL Most Valuable Player honors. But not everyone was sold. In fact, some astute football men saw Morrall as a potential liability, especially against Namath.


Super Bowl Lines – Broadway Joe Ignites the Jets

Under the leadership of former Colts coach Weeb Ewbank, the Jets became a sound football team that went 11-3 and defeated the powerful Oakland Raiders in the AFL Championship Game 27-23.

Although Namath got the headlines, the Jets played solid defense and responsible ball control offense when necessary. In this way, Namath acted as a mask. Broadway Joe stole the attention and bright lights, allowing a talented team to play with professionalism.


Super Bowl Bets – The Guarantee

At a pregame banquet, the Colts were lavished with praise. Joe Namath finally heard enough. He swaggered up to the podium and said, “We are the better team. We’ll beat the Colts on Sunday, I guarantee it.”

While the press and NFL partisans screamed, Joe Namath, Weeb Ewbank, and the Jets started to believe their quarterback. The Jets detected several weaknesses in the Colts on both sides of the line. Ewbank knew the Colts well as their former coach. It proved to be a tremendous New York advantage.

There was one passionate NFL partisan that saw it Namath’s way. When asked how bad the Colts would beat the Jets, Vince Lombardi warned that the opposite would happen. Lombardi was terrified of Namath.


Odds to win the Super Bowl – Football’s Greatest Upset

Sure enough, the Colts came out sloppy and blew a 27-yard field goal on their opening drive. The Jets became the first AFL team to ever lead the NFL in the Super Bowl with a second quarter touchdown run by Matt Snell. Namath called the plays and kept attacking the soft right side of the Colts defense with the run. Jim Turner booted three field goals for New York. And Earl Morrall was pulled after a miserable performance. But Johnny Unitas’ rag arm was no match for the Jets.

Joe Namath’s biggest play of the game was an incomplete bomb intended for Don Maynard. The deep pass threat freaked out the Colts, who honored the long-ball possibility for the rest of the day. And that cleared the path for the Jets' powerful ground game.

Baltimore committed five turnovers and was rendered helpless by the Jets 36:10 time of possession. Matt Snell ran for 121 yards to pace the Jets. New York prevailed 16-7. The “unbeatable” Colts needed a late TD to avoid the shutout.

The American Football League could claim its legitimacy. And the Super Bowl was saved.

When a sportswriter glanced over at commissioner Pete Rozelle, he noticed Rozelle was beaming. The former NFL partisan realized this was the best thing that could happen to pro football.


Online Betting Super Bowl – It’s My Party, and I’ll Cry If I Want To

Colts’ owner Carroll Rosenbloom spent a small fortune to host what was supposed to be a lavish victory party after the game. Instead, it was a wake. Rosenbloom was furious and never forgave Shula. The two parted ways after the 1969 season.


A Devine Conversation

A disconsolate and humiliated Don Shula walked Miami Beach the morning after the game. He asked God why this happened to him. Shula got the answer four years later when he coached the 1972 Miami Dolphins to the only perfect season in NFL history (17-0).


History’s Verdict

The Colts were not exactly gracious after the loss. Baltimore and many NFL partisans said the Colts would beat the Jets nine out of ten games. But the Colts didn’t beat the Jets when they had to.   Baltimore was overrated based on the powerful NFL brand.

The Jets were not a great team. But they were quite good. And on their most important day, they were the worthy champion. New York was underrated as the AFL team. The Jets will forever go down as the winners of football’s greatest upset and as a transformative champion.

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