January 12th is an important date in the image and reputation wars

There are a number of reasons why today, January 12th, is an important date for me. One reason, in particular, pertains specifically to image and reputation.

January 12 - superbowliii-19692 It was January 12, 1969, that the New York Jets defeated the Baltimore Colts to win their first, and only, Super Bowl victory (stay tuned on the latter, though).

It's an important image and reputation milestone because, up until January 12, 1969, the mainstream sports/business establishment hadn't taken the upstart American Football League seriously. Created in 1960, the AFL had been seen by most as little more than a circus.

But, by 1965, the tides had turned. Fueled by the signing of Joe Willie Namath and other top college players, the AFL began earning a modicum of respect. In fact, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle was forced to concede that his league's championship was no longer a 'world's' title, and agreed to a match of each group's best team.

The first two contests were blowouts, with Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers humiliating the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders, respectively.

Ah, but then came January 12, 1969, and Joe Willie's Super Jets. The Jets win wasn't just a sports victory but, in fact, a seismic sea change for the AFL's image and reputation. Within a few years, the two leagues merged to create the NFL as we now know it.

It's nice to reflect on past glories while reveling in the knowledge that today's Jets are in the thick of the playoffs (while the hated Giants are cooling their heels on the sidelines).

Considering the fact that the reverse is almost always the case, I'm reminded of a quote from the Ken Burns documentary about the Civil War.

At the very end of the war, a Union soldier who happened to be black, was watching a column of captured Rebel prisoners pass by. Suddenly, he spotted his former master. The black soldier smiled and said, 'Bottom rail on top now, massa.'

I think I speak for Jets fans everywhere when I say to our Giants counterparts: 'Bottom rail on top now.'

7 thoughts on “January 12th is an important date in the image and reputation wars

  1. As intriguing as a New Milford/Jets party sounds, Med Guy, I’m already committed to a local event on Sunday. Thanks for the invite, though.

  2. The Jets are red hot while the Chargers have been cooling their heels for a few weeks. Advantage: Jets. And, I agree the 1970 Super Bowl Champion Chiefs also helped legitimize the old AFL. But, no one can ever take that first-ever AFL Super Bowl win away from the Jets. It was a game breaker. Literally.

  3. I like the Jets this weekend. The Chargers are really good, but they usually crumble when the games matter/you play for next week’s game. Plus, I think the DBs will give Rivers fits.
    And, as a huge fan of Buddy Ryan, I will agree that I like his son, Rex as a motivator. He is a breath of fresh air and actually offer quotes to reporters and cameras that haven’t been said a million times over by his coaching brethren. He actually says what he feels!!!

  4. Yes, they won the game but I still have to wonder. I saw the first half and part of the third quarter before going out. I think the playoff games — as a whole — this weekend were wild. Dallas blew out Philadelphia, Baltimore shocked New England and Green Bay-Arizona was a shootout reminding me of the old Chargers-Bengals with Air Coryell against Kenny Anderson and Co.
    Rex Ryan is a master motivator. But are the Jets really all that good? After all, Cedric Benson from Cincy ran for 169 yards. It was the couple of turnovers and QB Carson Palmer couldn’t complete a pass. Frankly, though, the Jets can be sitting in a good position. San Diego is not a running team and becomes one-dimensional and while Ryan wasn’t there, the Jets have played San Diego tough in the past. But the Chargers have one of the best punters in the league (who would think talking about punters) and let’s face it — Phillip Rivers is Phillip Rivers.
    It will be same game plan for Jets. Run the ball, play defense and limit mistakes. Sounds like the old Bill Parcells way of playing football, huh?
    And while the Jets became the first AFC team to win a Super Bowl, I think Kansas City’s 23-7 win over Minnesota in Super Bowl 4 really added credibility.