The time period was 1968 and 1969, and newness and upheaval were all around. Richard Nixon had just become president after a tumultuous campaign. The Vietnam War was still raging, as were protests back home. Apollo missions were circling the Earth and then the Moon. Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In and 60 Minutes made their TV debuts. 2001: A Spacy Odyssey dominated the big screen.
Stability? Well, in sports there was always the NFL, which had become a media and cultural monolith. And the league's teams were expected to continue their domination of the recently created AFL-NFL World Championship Game — the Super Bowl — far into the future.
Except that on Jan. 12, 1969, at Miami's Orange Bowl, upheaval visited the football world as well, embodied by the green-and-white-clad upstarts from the American Football League.
Joe Namath "guaranteed" victory, then he and the New York Jets went out and rocked the sports world and the country with their 16-7 triumph over the Baltimore Colts. The win still stands today as an icon of underdog over favorite, new school over old guard, can-do over don't-even-try.
The spirit and the memories of that game will be front and center this weekend as the New York Jets honor the 1968 Championship team with a 50th anniversary celebration presented by BankUnited, Pepsi and ShopRite.
One of the centerpieces of the celebration will take place Saturday evening when the Jets host an anniversary dinner. The night will feature legends from the 1968 team walking the Green Carpet into MetLife Stadium, special guests and a Q&A session with members of the team and event host Chris Berman.
The next morning, the Jets Legends will sit down for a pregame breakfast for Jets Rewards Members at the stadium. Then the Jets will tackle their Week 6 opponents, appropriately enough the Indianapolis Colts (kickoff 1 p.m. ET), and at halftime the Championship team will be honored during a ceremony as 1968 team members, their families and select fans will take the field. There will also be a special unveiling to commemorate the historic game.
And through their partnership, the Jets and Marvel are releasing a digital comic book with the primary storyline following Super Bowl III to the present-day team. The first of four chapters will be made available Wednesday through newyorkjets.com, through the @nyjets Twitter page, and the Official New York Jets App, and Jets social channels. The next three chapters will be available on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this week with the complete book posting on Sunday prior to kickoff.