Namath likes Jets' confidence

Updated: January 21, 2010, 5:42 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Joe Namath is excited by the New York Jets' playoff run -- and sees more than a few similarities between his old team's current success and the team he led to a shocking Super Bowl victory 41 years ago.

There's the matter of Namath's famous guarantee prior to Super Bowl III -- and coach Rex Ryan's comments about the Jets being "favorites" to win Super Bowl XLIV and his team itinerary, which accounted for a trip to the Super Bowl and a parade in New York afterward.

[+] EnlargeJoe Namath
Herb Scharfman/Sports Imagery/Getty ImagesJoe Namath, seen leading the Jets past the Colts in Super Bowl III, likes the confidence the current Jets are showing.

"The team has bought into it," Namath said, according to The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. "Whether [Ryan] said it in jest or whether he was sincere, we all listen and enjoy. Some people want to see him fall flat, but the bottom line is winning and losing and right now he has those guys in the championship game."

And then there's the fact the Jets are playing the Colts, the franchise they upset 16-7 in Super Bowl III despite being 18-point underdogs.

The Colts infamously left Baltimore in 1984. The Orange Bowl, where Super Bowl III was held, has been demolished. New York's Shea Stadium and Baltimore's Memorial Stadium are memories as well. But the Colts' uniforms are practically unchanged since that game was played in 1969. They're still favored -- and the Jets are still confident underdogs.

"Hell yeah, it's interesting," Namath said, according to The Star-Ledger. It was Namath who, three days before Super Bowl III, guaranteed the Jets would upset the Colts, thus creating his legacy.

"It's a whole lot of history with the Jets and Colts," Namath told The Star-Ledger. "[Former Jets coach] Weeb Ewbank was their coach before coming to the Jets and we beat the Colts.

"Rex Ryan was down there in Baltimore with the new franchise [the Ravens]. This is the first time the teams have met in a championship game since the Super Bowl win."

What will it take to beat the Colts this time? Namath says putting pressure on Colts quarterback Peyton Manning -- who Namath says is "the best I've ever seen" -- will be crucial to the Jets' chances, according to the report.

"If our defensive line gets pressure, I don't think the Colts offensive line has been tested like this. It's organized chaos with that defense," Namath said, according to the report. "There's no guarantee the Colts are going to play their best because the Jets' defense isn't going to let them."