When football fans outside of New York think about success stories in the League, the New York Jets rarely get attention. In fact, about the only thing that they have done worthy of serious mention in the last several years was trading for Brett Favre – though even that proved to be a train wreck. Postseason appearances have been a rarity, and there have been but two occasions in which they won their division in the modern era of the game. Most of the professional success for New York football has taken place with the Giants. There is Jets history worthy of pride, though, if you are willing to look back into the early days of the franchise’s history. That was the period in which the New York Jets won their only Super Bowl trophy.
Building a team in the AFL
It seems in hindsight as though the Jets had an imaginary five year plan in place when their franchise was founded in 1960: suffer through five straight years of miserable football and then find a great quarterback. The AFL was never taken seriously back then, and the Jets fit right into that mold for those five years. The 1965 selection of Joe Namath out of Alabama would change all of that. The man who would later come to be known as “Broadway Joe” for his gregarious ways would quickly right the Jets’ ship and place them in contention for a title. After throwing for 4,000 yards in 1967, it was clear that he was one of the best in the League. The number was even more incredible than it would be today, as the Leagues were best known for their running attacks in those days. That record performance happened to result in the Jets achieving the best record in their franchise history at eight wins and five losses.
1968 and the march to the Super Bowl
1968 might have been a tumultuous year for the nation as a whole, but it was a banner year for the Jets. With Namath at the helm, the team won 13 of their 16 games. In the AFC Championship matchup with the Raiders, the Jets won an incredibly close contest and secured an appearance in the AFL-NFL title game that would later be known as Super Bowl III. The AFL’s reputation was so far below that of the NFL that few people gave the Jets even the remotest chance of winning the game. After listening to the critics continually disregard his team’s chances, Namath finally decided that he had enough while at a Player of the Year ceremony. In response to a Colts fan’s belittling of his chances, Namath boastfully guaranteed that his Jets would prevail in the game that was to be played only a few days in the future. Though he later swore that he had no intentions of making such a declaration, it has become part of NFL lore.
The Boast made real
Days later, with more than 75,000 fans watching Super Bowl III, the Jets took the field against Johnny Unitas and his Baltimore Colts. What happened next was a stunner for every fan of the game, as the Jets thoroughly dominated the favored Colts for the entirety of the game, allowing them to score with only minutes remaining in the fourth. The final score was 16 to 7, in a game in which Broadway Joe Namath never connected on a touchdown pass, and threw no passes in the fourth quarter.
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APA Style Citation:
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