Joe Namath and the New York Jets won Super Bowl 3 on this day in 1969. It remains the greatest upset in sports history.
On this day in 1969 (January 12), Joe Namath stole the headlines. His guarantee and subsequent performance helped transform an entire sport.
Prior to Super Bowl 3, the AFL was looked upon as a near-laughable league not worthy of the NFL’s attention. Once it was all said and done, and the Kansas City Chiefs backed it up the following year, today’s modern football era was born.
Namath deserved the accolades he received over the course of his career, if only for that one gigantic moment. He deserved the headlines.
But the New York Jets defense deserved the standing ovation.
The Jets shutout of Earl Morrall and the Baltimore Colts through most of the game is a Super Bowl 3 element some youngsters might not realize.
Matt Snell‘s second-quarter touchdown and three Jim Turner field goals were enough for the Jets to come away with the 16-7 victory and the greatest upset in sports history (apologies to Team USA at Lake Placid, NY, 1980).
On this day in 1969, Johnny Unitas's valiant comeback attempt in relief fell short, as Joe Namath and the New York #Jets pulled off the greatest upset in sports history (apologies to Team USA, 1980) in Super Bowl 3. (NFL Films)
— Jets X-Factor (@jetsxfactor) January 13, 2021
52 years ago today: the greatest upset in NFL history.
📸 Tony Tomsic / AP pic.twitter.com/kyovX6llvk
— New York Jets (@nyjets) January 12, 2021
Namath finished with just 206 yards and no touchdowns to no interceptions on 17 of 28 passing. Calling every play himself, Namath featured his new-found maturity in the way he called the game. He understood there was no reason to force the issue, as his rushing attack and defense would take care of the rest.
Snell finished with 121 yards and the team’s only touchdown on 30 carries, while Emerson Boozer went for 19 yards on 10 attempts. Interestingly, the receiving star of the game wasn’t Hall of Famer Don Maynard, who didn’t catch a pass. It was George Sauer, who went for a cool 133 yards on eight grabs.
It’s now been 52 years since the Jets experienced a championship victory. Joe Douglas and company are aiming to change that over at some point over the next several years.