1969 Jets Give Reason To Believe
By: Jenna Uveges
Football as we know it now was still in the process of being formed back in 1969. Things were different. Uniforms, team names, leagues and ticket prices. However, one thing that has always been the same is the fans. They watch their teams suffer and rejoice when they do well. No one knows that quite as well as New Yorkers. They’re impatient and demand perfection, yet will fight to the death for their teams, especially if they’re the underdog.
Underdogs were more or less not a big deal when the AFL and NFL were in existence because people generally didn’t have faith in the team that was not favored to win. The classic stories about the underdog didn’t start being talked about until after Super Bowl III, the ‘69 Jets.
“Broadway” Joe Namath was a hero in New York. He was a playboy and an occasional actor- a real superstar. He brought electric to an already stimulated city, and he brought it on the field as well. The moment he guaranteed victory over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts is a moment that has lived on in sports, and New York, history and will never be forgotten.
Namath, Matt Snell, Emerson Boozer and the rest of the Jets fought against the legendary Johhny Unitas and the Colts to gain the respect of the country after being 18-point underdogs. Namath played a memorable game by completing 17 of his 28 attempts with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He patiently handed the ball off to Snell and Boozer and wore down the Colts to a 16 to 7 victory. The improbable win gave the sports world one of its greatest upsets of all time, and Jet fans their only Super Bowl ring in franchise history.
Rarely does someone as iconic make such a bold statement as Namath did, and actually deliver on his word. However, with his statement, “We’re going to win. I guarantee it,” he unintentionally changed the way the sports fans around the country view the underdog and left room for fans to always believe. The caliber of that game is still recognized among New York fans today. They respect and appreciate the life that Namath and his guarantee breathed into a city that needed a reason to keep the faith. No matter what Jet fans have to endure- and they’ve endured a lot- they always have the image of Broadway Joe and his victorious run with his finger pointed in the air, to give them reason to believe it’s always possible.
As a Jet fan it is exciting to see the lasting respect Namath and the rest of the Super Bowl III winning Jets earned for the franchise and the league. The upset was one of the first greatest underdog tales and will always be one for the ages. They defined what a "greatest upset" means, which is something that teams try to recreate every year. Some are successful like the 2008 New York Giants, but regardless of who comes after, the original underdog title will always belong to the '69 Jets.