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Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Or Your Money Back

On January 9, 1969, during a ceremony in which he received the Miami Touchdown Club's F.A.M.E. (Football Awards Miami Edition) Award for the Most Outstanding Professional Football Player of 1968, quarterback Joe Namath of the New York Jets was confronted by an aggressive Baltimore Colts fan. In response to the taunting, Namath guaranteed a Jets victory in the upcoming Super Bowl III.

It became the guarantee heard around the world.

Smart money at the time was that the Colts, representing the established National Football League (whose teams had won the previous two Super Bowls decisively), would handily beat the Jets of the upstart American Football League. No less than famous oddsmaker Jimmy the Greek had predicted the Colts would win by more than two touchdowns.

Therefore, Namath's guarantee, widely reported by the Miami Herald, was generally ignored or ridiculed.

As you may have heard, when the game was played on January 12, the Jets not only covered the 17-point spread, they won outright, proving that the AFL was legitimate football and paving the way for the Super Bowl to become America's biggest sports spectacle. As Namath left the field that day, "The Guarantee" became legend...

© DC Comics

...the sort of legend that time-traveling, 20th-century hero-worshiping, former-football-players (with problematic gambling histories) probably find irresistible.

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