Joe Namath known as Broadway Joe or Joe Willie, is a former quarterback
for the New York Jets. He played college football for the University of
from 1962–1964, and in the American and National Football League and
during the 1960s and 1970s. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1985.
(Edited from From Wikipedia)
The apex of Namath’s career was his performance in the Jets' January
1969 win over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. This win would make
him the only quarterback to ever start and win a national championship
in college and start and win the Super Bowl. The Colts were touted as
"the greatest football team in history". Former NFL star and coach Norm
Van Brocklin ridiculed the AFL before the game, saying "This will be
Namath's first professional football game." Writers from NFL cities
insisted it would take the AFL several more years to be truly
competitive with the NFL. Much of the hype surrounding the game was
related to how it would either prove or disprove the proposition that
the AFL teams were truly worthy of being allowed to merge with the NFL;
the first two such games had resulted in blowout victories for the NFL
champion in the two previous years, the Green Bay Packers, and the Colts
were even more favored by media figures and handicappers than the
Packers had been.
Three days before the game, Namath responded to a heckler with the
now-famous line: "We're gonna win the game. I guarantee it." His words
eventually made headlines across the country, but were dismissed as mere
bravado by most observers.
In the game, however, Namath backed up his boast and showed that his
success against tough American Football League competition had more than
prepared him to take on the NFL. The Colts' vaunted defense was unable
to contain the Jets' running or passing game, while their ineffective
offense gave up four interceptions to the Jets. Namath was the game's
MVP, completing eight passes to George Sauer alone, for 133 yards.
Namath acquired legendary status for American Football League fans as
the symbol of their league's legitimacy. When he was asked by reporters
after the game whether the Colts' defense was the "toughest he had ever
faced", Namath responded "That would be the Buffalo Bills' defense." The
American Football League's Bills had intercepted Namath five times,
three for touchdowns, in the Bills' only win that 1968 AFL season.