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Underdog Jets Overcome the Odds with Swagger
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Underdog Jets Overcome the Odds with Swagger
By
Alex Crawford

In 1969 there was no Super Bowl.  The game that we now call the Super Bowl was called the world championship game and it was played between the winner of the NFL and the AFL.  It was nowhere near as big of a deal as it is today and until the Third World Championship game on January 12, 1969, the games had not even been competitive.  The NFL had crushed their AFL opponents in the previous two championship games and the current NFL champions, the Baltimore Colts, were 18 point favorites going into this game against the New York Jets.

Led by hotshot young quarterback Joe Namath the Jets did not care that they were just expected to roll over for the Colts and allow the dominance of the NFL to continue.  The Jets had confidence, swagger, and a little bit of luck on their side.  Three days before the game Joe Namath was heckled by a fan at an awards ceremony in Miami and he was fed up.  Namath gave the heckler a piece of his mind, “I’ve got news for you. We’re going to win this game. I guarantee it.”  The media ate this up and soon everyone knew that Namath had guaranteed victory for his team from an inferior league facing a team that seemed unbeatable.

Fearless Joe Namath had just given his team a reason to believe and it paid off.  Championship teams often feed off of the “nobody believes in us” mantra and more often than not it works.  Teams need a reason to win, something to rally around.  The Colts were supposed to win that championship game and probably should have but they did not have to motivation that the underdog Jets had.  The Jets beat the Colts 16-7 and finally gave the AFL some legitimacy and showed they could hang with the big dogs.

If a team is told by everyone else that they can’t win, they shouldn’t believe it.  More often than not all they need is that little extra bit of motivation to overcome great odds.  That and a little bit of luck.

Newport Beach, California born and raised, Alex Crawford currently attends Oregon State University where he is majoring in New Media Communications.  Alex is the host of a sports talk radio show on the OSU radio station KBVR and someday hopes to have a career in film or television.

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