What if the Jets had not defeated the Colts in Super Bowl III?
The Colts are the toast of the football world, but the magnitude of their victory can be traced back to the franchise's most famous defeat. When the heavily favored (in some books, by more than 20 points) NFL champion Baltimore Colts met the upstart AFL champion New York Jets on Jan. 12, 1969, few could have predicted the outcome, or impact, of the game.
Although the AFL had forced the long-established NFL into a merger agreement three years earlier, the AFL still was regarded as an inferior league, especially after its representatives were crushed in the first two AFL-NFL Championship Games. But the third time (the first to officially bear the name Super Bowl) was to be the charm, as the Jets knocked off the Colts, 16-7.
One man who did predict the outcome was New York quarterback Joe Namath, who completed 17 of 28 passes for 206 yards and was named the game's most valuable player. Yet it was Baltimore quarterback Earl Morall who pretty much "guaranteed" the Jets' victory, completing just 6 of 17 passes for 71 yards, with no touchdowns compared to three interceptions.
One of the biggest upsets in American sports history, the game also is regarded as the most important Super Bowl ever played. But what if the Colts had taken care of business against a seemingly overmatched opponent? Would the Super Bowl be as big today? And would a quarterback who tossed 47 more interceptions than touchdowns over his career be a household name?
-- David Mosse
Mailbag: What if the Jets had lost to the Colts? Send in your comments and we will post some of the best responses.
MORE NFL HEADLINES
- Rodgers tops Watt, collects 2nd MVP award
- Seau, Bettis, Shields among 8 in HOF class
- Cardinals' Arians wins 2nd coach of year honor
- Watt 1st unanimous DPOY; Murray honored
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
The NFL staff has identified plays or events that may have altered the course of history.
Saturday, April 21
What if the Falcons didn't trade up for Michael Vick?
Saturday, April 14
What if Monday Night Football did not exist?
Saturday, April 7
What if Mo Lewis had not injured Drew Bledsoe?
Saturday, Mar. 31
What if Trent Green did not get injured in 1999?
Saturday, Mar. 20
What if Bill Belichick had become the coach of the Jets?
Saturday, Mar. 17
What if the NFL had not adopted a system of free agency?
Tuesday, Mar. 13
What if the Jets had selected Dan Marino in the 1983 draft?
Saturday, Mar. 10
What if the Colts-Giants game had not been such a classic?
Saturday, Mar. 3
What if Bo Jackson had devoted himself to football fulltime?
Tuesday, Feb. 27
What if the NFL didn't employ revenue sharing?
Saturday, Feb. 24
What if the Colts had called John Elway's bluff?
Tuesday, Feb. 20
What if the Falcons had not traded Brett Favre?
Friday, Feb. 16
What if Leonard Marshall had not drilled Joe Montana
Tuesday, Feb. 13
What if the NFL had not employed instant replay?
Saturday, Feb. 10
What if Jimmy Johnson had not left the Cowboys?
Thursday, Feb. 1
What if the Colts had selected Ryan Leaf in the draft?
Saturday, Jan. 27
What if Scott Norwood's kick had split the uprights?