With Super Bowl 49 just under one week away, let’s take a trip through history, and remember the Jets only Super Bowl title. We all know that it was quite some time ago, so this one is for our older readers to reminisce, and hopefully be a little bit informational for the younger readers.
The Jets had been steadily climbing the AFL ladder over the previous couple of seasons leading up to the big one. In 1966, the Jets finished third with a 6-6-2 record (only 14 game seasons at the time), and in 1967 the Jets finished in second with an 8-5-1 record. The Jets hadn’t done it yet, but it was coming.
Then came the great season of 1968. The season started like many others for the Jets, going 3-2 out of the gate. Then, the Jets caught fire, winning eight out of their final nine games to finish the 1968 season with at 11-3. They won their division and went on to the AFL championship game.
The Jets hosted the Oakland Raiders in the championship game, and it was a close one. The Jets led for most of the game but in the fourth quarter, the Raiders scored on a Pete Banaszak five yard run to take a 23-20 lead. But Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath took the Jets down the field, and connected with fellow Hall of Famer Don Maynard on a six yard touchdown pass to give the Jets the 27-23 win, and sending them on to the AFL-NFL Championship game, later to be known as Super Bowl III.
Super Bowl III took place at the Orange Bowl in Miami. The Baltimore Colts were the opponents, and entered the game as 18 point favorites, after winning the NFL Championship game over the Browns by a 34-0 margin. The AFL teams got very little respect, which added to the one-sided betting line. However, three days before, Joe Namath had enough of hearing about the Colts. He made a public appearance and said that the Jets weren’t only going to win the game, he was going to “guarantee” it.
And Namath made it happen. The Jets controlled the game, much to the surprise of everyone. In the second quarter, running back Matt Snell took it in from four yards out to give the Jets the lead 7-0, and it was a lead they never gave up. Three Jim Turner field goals gave the Jets a 16-0 lead, before the Colts scored a touchdown late after the game was out of reach. Quarterback Earl Morrall started the game for the Colts, but he was relieved by legend Johnny Unitas, but it was too late.
The Jets beat the Colts 16-7, what we now know as their only championship in franchise history, and gave a legitimacy to the AFL teams that loomed large when the two leagues merged into the league we know as the NFL.
Check out the boxscore:
The Jets have had their glory moment, folks. The Seahawks and Patriots are in the sun this week, but we will get there someday. I hope.