The recent AFC Championship game between the Colts and Jets brought back memories of the famous Joe Namath "guarantee" of Jet victory in Super Bowl III in 1969, and gave Jets fans today cause to wonder if Rex Ryan's supposed "guarantee" of sorts of a New York victory into Super Bowl 44 was another miracle waiting to happen.
But, what if the Colts and not the Jets would have won Supe 3?
Would the Jets, not the Colts, be in Supe 44?
But never mind that speculation. Because two more weightier matters could have occurred had Johnny Unitas, Bubba Smith, and John Mackey and their fellows won what would turn out in reality to have been the greatest sports upset ever (okay, not counting the Mets beating the Orioles that same year in the World Series).
Had the Colts won over the Jets, that would have meant that the NFL would have beaten the AFL for the third straight time in the Super Bowl, which would have caused professional football higher-ups, especially in the NFL, to question the validity of an NFL-AFL merger that was set up in 1967. That is, if the AFL team would have lost, folks would be questioning the merger of a supposedly "superior" league with an "inferior" one, which was what most thought of the AFL BEFORE Namath's victory.
That scenario might have temporarily derailed the merger, even if the Chiefs victory over the Vikings a Super Bowl later had still happened.
That is the weightiest possible scenario had the Colts won, but there are two more scenarios that could have occurred.
First, had the Jets lost the Super Bowl, would Sonny Werblin had "quit" the Jets? Or would he have stayed, trying to get another and then another opportunity to give his team the win over an NFL-NFC that he supposedly hated? Even though most Jets fans today believe Rex Ryan is the next best hope to deliver the Lombardi trophy back to New York, some old time Jets fans think that if Werblin had stayed, the Jets could have been a team that might have developed into what the Miami Dolphins developed into in the early 70s.
Which brings up the second "what if" scenario: if the Colts would have won Super Bowl III, many claim that Don Shula would have stayed in Baltimore (where the Colts played until Robert Irsay moved them clandestinely to Indianapolis in the early 80s). Had Shula stayed in Baltimore, then the Dolphins would not have become the winner they did become in the early 70s, and the Jets, not the Fins, might have been the dominant team in the AFC East in those years. And certainly the Dolphins would never have gone undefeated.
Which means that had the Colts won Supe 3, we wouldn't have to put up with Mercury Morris' nonsense everytime some NFL team looks like they might go undefeated in a season.
Like the Colts might have done, had they not rested their starters in the second half of their week 16 game.
Against the Jets.