15. Super Bowl III, 1969: New York Jets 16—Baltimore Colts 7
The first stone-cold shocker in Super Bowl history and the game that vouchsafed the AFL-NFL rivalry as a viable contest, Joe Namath’s Jets victory over the nails-tough Colts is one of the most shocking and pivotal moments in the second half of the 20th century. It is difficult to imagine the dominance of modern sports culture and the NFL without it.
Competitiveness: 4 out of 10. Despite being prohibitive underdogs, the Jets never trailed and were never really threatened during the game.
Star Power: 10 out of 10. On Broadway Joe alone. Titanic figures like Johnny Unitas and Don Shula were just bit players.
Controversy/Intrigue: 10 out of 10. Brash Jets QB Joe Namath effectively ushered in the era of the modern athlete by ostentatiously guaranteeing victory and casually making it happen. Nothing has ever been the same.
Aftermath: 10 out of 10. Previously considered to be an uneven exhibition between two uneven leagues. Super Bowl III consecrated the AFL-NFL rivalry and hastened the merger that brought about the current megalith.
Aggregate Score: 34 out of 40.
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