Super Bowl III
Super Bowl III is one of the more memorable ones to date, and while it is considered the third AFL vs. NFL Championship game, this was actually the first time that it was ever referred to as the “Super Bowl”. This game was played on January 12, 1969 at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida, and featured one team who was a heavy favorite in the Baltimore Colts against the underdog, the New York Jets. The Colts finished the season with an incredible 13-1 record, while the Jets finished at a solid 11-3. This game ended up being considered as one of the biggest upsets in history, as the Jets went on to hold off the Colts 16-7 in the end.
This game came with “the guarantee” from Jets quarterback Joe Namath, when he stated that “we’re going to win the game, I guarantee it” at the Miami Touchdown Club three days before the big game. Namath went on to back-up that guarantee with a 17 of 28 for 206 yard performance and was named the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player, although he did not throw a touchdown, nor a single pass in the fourth quarter. Namath had an interesting season, as he finished with a 49.2 completion percentage, and actually threw more interceptions with 17, than he did touchdowns, with 15.
This 1968-1969 season actually started off a bit strange for the Colts, and this is why it was shocking that they finished with a 13-1 record. They lost starting quarterback Johnny Unitas to a pre-season injury on his throwing arm, forcing the team to replace him with quarterback Earl Morrall. Morrall was a starter with four different teams over 12 seasons, but never seemed to be able to get to the next level, until this season. He went on to lead the league with a 93.2 passer rating, and played so well that head coach Don Shula decided to stick with Morrall as the starter after Unitas was healed from his injury. The Colts won ten games straight, with four shutouts as well, and they also beat the only team who took them down during the regular season, the Cleveland Browns, in the postseason; by knocking them off 34-0 in the NFL Championship game.
This Colts team was one of the most impressive teams to ever play in NFL history, especially during that ten game winning streak. Their offense ranked second in the NFL in points scored, and they consistently played a zone defense; making them the only team in the NFL to do so.