On a beautiful crisp perfect October day, before a sellout crowd at Metlife Stadium, Joe Namath proved once again why the man is a true champion in so many ways. In honor of the 1968 Jets Super Bowl Championship team, the New York Jets brought back the majority of that team to be honored at half time at yesterday’s game. Current Jet management picked the perfect game opponent to schedule the ceremony up against. The Colts may have moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis, but that same horseshoe on that helmet still appears on the uniform. The Colts still wear those blue and white uniforms. Fortunately the NFL Gods were in a Jets mood yesterday as the outcome of yesterday’s game was the same as the outcome 50 years ago. The Jets beat the Colts yesterday. It would have been sad to lose to them since it was the 50th anniversary of the Jets only Super Bowl victory that came at the expense of the Baltimore Colts in 1969. The victory against the Colts that stood in the shadows of Joe Namath’s brilliant halftime speech almost seemed hollywood scripted.
Before the first half ended, the Jets asked everyone to stay in their seats for the halftime show. While a small majority of the fans ignored the scoreboard message, most of the old timers and long time fans stayed in their seats fully aware of what the halftime show was about to bring. The New York Jets from the 1968 season entered the field from the Jets tunnel walking slowly together. Many of them showed their age. But not all of them,and of course not Joe Willie Namath. Just like Namath had stolen the show in 1969, once again Namath was the star player on a football field filled with New York Jet star players.
If anyone understand the importance of team play, its Namath. Furthermore, if anyone understand the importance of a team leader its Namath. On a day in which Namath stood on a football field that now serves as the home of possibly the best quarterback the Jets have had since Namath, Joe spent most of his speech talking about the bright future the Jets have with Sam Darnold.
Joe Namath understands the Jets fan’s pain. Namath referenced how 50 years is too long to have been waiting for another championships. He thanked the fans for hanging in there. He spoke clearly to the Jets fans who have been following the team since 1963. New York Jets management as well as the management of many other NFL teams have really tested fans patience with installing PSL licenses, high ticket prices, flex scheduling and charging outrageous food prices. The NFL has not treated their fans well. Its starting to have an effect as teams are not selling tickets as easily as they once did. Namath understands that. Namath has always been in touch with the game and the present day. The guy seems to never really get old. So when Namath thanked the fans for hanging in there, his words really resonated with those who have endured all the losing seasons. Namath spoke to the present and the future with hope. The only other New York Jet that I have seen speak at halftime with such hope and spirit was Marty Lyons. If there are two New York Jets that have represented all that is great about the New York Jets, its Joe Namath and Marty Lyons. In many ways, those two are still the face of the New York Jets.
While Joe Namath spent a great deal of his time speaking about the future, he did not neglect his championship team. It’s the reason he was there. Namath made sure to mention those champion New York Jets who are no longer with us. The words he used were heartfelt when describing his teammates. As the true champion he has always been Joe Namath spoke about everyone but himself. His words were all about the Jets of the past, the present and the future.
It was wonderful to see so many members of that 1968 Super Bowl Championship team on the field. The New York Jets have had some memorable halftime shows in recent years, but this one was the most special. Joe Namath made it the most special.