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Super Bowl III - JETS 16, Colts 7


1968 Superbowl III Season Photos

Forty years ago today, the New York Jets were crowned champions of the football world.  The underdog Jets, representing the American Football League, carried the play to the NFL's Baltimore Colts and took home a decisive 16-7 victory at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida.   

Sunday, Jan. 12, 1969

Orange Bowl, Miami (75,377)

No account of Super Bowl III can hope to be complete without a long look in at the preceding Touchdown Club of Miami's annual awards dinner, one of the several hundred such affairs held in the off-season across the country. This one took place three nights before the Jets-Colts clash, with the standard trappings: roast beef dinner, master of ceremonies, award winners.

Joe Namath was one recipient, but a previous commitment kept O.J. Simpson, the other recipient, in California. So Namath stepped into the breach to speak for 10 minutes in an attempt to give the customers their money's worth in celebrities. And his final sentence made pro football history.

"Most people don't give us a chance," he declared, in a reference to the 17½ to 20 points favoring Baltimore. "I think we have a chance. Matter of fact I think we'll win it. I'll guarantee it."

That Sunday, Namath backed up his unprecedented guarantee. He directed the Jets to a 16-0 edge into the fourth quarter, forced the Colts to switch QBs from Earl Morrall to Johnny Unitas, and finished with a 16-7 triumph, the first by an AFL standardbearer in what even then had come to be recognized as the No. 1 sports event in the nation.

Matt Snell, who set a Super Bowl mark with 121 yards rushing (and caught four passes for 40 more), scored the New Yorkers' lone TD on a 4-yard plunge in the second period, climaxing an 80-yard drive. After that, Jim Turner, the AFL's scoring champion, sprinkled three field goals. Baltimore was unable to score until the last 3½ minutes when Jerry Hill registered on a 1-yard run.

The Jets defense shared at least as much glory as the offensive unit, intercepting the Colts four times. Randy Beverly picked off two, Jim Hudson and Johnny Sample one each. Baltimore's one touchdown represented the Colts' lowest point output in 35 games.

The victory was the third in world championship competition in as many tries for Jets head coach Weeb Ewbank and thus made him the first and only man to coach league champions in both the AFL and NFL.

As in the past, a winning share was worth $15,000, a losing share $7,500. A viewing audience of 60 million was estimated for NBC's 215-station network.

Combining stories from the 1969 American Football League guide and the 1969 New York Jets media guide. 

  1 2 3 4 Tot
 JETS (13-3) 0 7 6 3 16
 Baltimore Colts (13-2) 0 0 0 7 7
Qtr Team Scoring Play
2 NYJ Matt Snell 4 run (Jim Turner kick)
3 NYJ Turner 32 FG
3 NYJ Turner 30 FG
4 NYJ Turner 9 FG
4 BAL Jerry Hill 1 run (Lou Michaels kick)

Game Trivia

*   The Jets had only two 100-yard rushing games by their RBs in 1968, both by Snell — at Buffalo in Game 3, then 13 games later when he churned out 121 yards and the Jets' TD on 30 carries at the Orange Bowl.

*  Conversely, Tom Matte's 116-yard game for Baltimore was the only 100-yard rusher the Jets' D yielded all season. Matte had 106 yards from scrimmage in the first half, 40 in the second.

*  Don Maynard, hampered by a sore ankle and Colts attention, had no catches, but Sauer concluded his hot postseason by adding eight catches for 133 yards to his 7-for-70 vs. Oakland.

*  With a plus-4 turnover margin (five takeaways, one giveaway), the Jets finished an astounding run of 11 games, beginning with Game 6 at Houston, in which they compiled a plus-25 TO margin.

Quotes Now

Namath: "I never knew we had it until that gun went off. I wouldn't dare think about having it. I can remember looking up at the clock and there were six minutes, 11 seconds left and it was the longest six minutes, 11 seconds. I never asked God to help us win a game. I always prayed for us to stay healthy and do our best. But I remember looking up there and saying, 'Please, God, please let that clock run — let that clock run!'"

RLB Larry Grantham on Colts TE John Mackey: "He was the only guy who we felt could really beat us. Our game plan consisted of putting two men on him every time he came out of the huddle. If we stopped Mackey, we felt like we were would win the ball game and that's really what happened in the end. We left our cornerbacks out there one-on-one with the wide receivers pretty well most of the ballgame, we let our linebackers take care of the running game, and we double-covered Mackey and that was a key. [Coordinator] Walt Michaels was a genius at putting together defenses that could stop people like that."

LT Winston Hill: "Weeb didn't complain a lot. We won that [AFL] championship game and they picked him up in the shower and dropped him. He broke his hip and he never complained. We never knew how serious it was until later."

RLB Larry Grantham: "Weeb did tell us right before we went on the field for the Super Bowl that after we won not to pick him up and put him on our shoulders because he didn't want to hurt his hip again. He was that confident that we were going to win the ballgame."

Quotes Then

Namath: "We didn't win on passing or running or defense. We beat the Colts in every phase of the game."

Namath on the media skeptics:"I hope they all eat their pencils and pads. We won!"

Raiders QB/K George Blanda: "Namath psyched two teams. He psyched the Jets into believing they could win and he psyched the Colts into doubting they could win."

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