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Posts Tagged ‘Super Bowl 3’

As last week’s statistics prove, American football is bigger than ever. The ‘world’ championship (even though it is only played by American teams) Super Bowl contest drew a record 108,000,000 viewers. American football is very popular. As such, it is not surprising to learn that there have been than a few Hungarians who have made a living tossing around the pigskin. But we are here to tell you that two of the most legendary names in the game, Joe Namath and Don Shula – both of Hungarian decent – played against each other in one of the epic American football matches of all time.

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The Players: ‘Broadway’ Joe Namath is an American Hall of Fame quarterback, who spent most of his career with the New York Jets. The name Namath is a permutation of the name Német, which means ‘German’ in the Hungarian language. Namath’s grandfather was an immigrant from Hungary, who spent his life working in the gritty Pittsburgh steel mills. The younger Namath was so talented at American sports that he was actually offered a career in baseball before he decided to settle on football. He is one of the most winning QB’s of all time and was named one of the top 100 footballers of all time by Sports Illustrated magazine.

Don Shula: Like Namath, Shula’s parents were Hungarians who found a new life in the Midwest of the United States. As a player, Shula had a brief, unspectacular career, playing for the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Colts, and Washington Redskins in defensive positions. It wasn’t until he started coaching that he came into his own. Ultimately, Shula found his way to the head coach job with the Miami Dolphins, where he coached the team to the only unbeaten season and post season in NFL history.

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The Game: 1969’s Super Bowl III is actually the first championship to bear the name ‘Super Bowl’. Sula’s Colts were heavily favored to win. Perhaps it was prophetic, but a young, cocky (and drunk) Namath was quoted as bragging to the press, “We’re going to win the game. I guarantee it.” It was also very bold, as the Colts were favored to win by 18 points. The result would be lopsided, but in favor of Namath’s Jets, who won 16 to 7. Football enthusiasts consider Super Bowl III to be the first real Super Bowl, and of great historical significance to the game. It was certainly significant to Hungarian Americans, though there was no way they could lose with Shula versus Namath.

Below find some highlights from the game, including a very artistic (Hungarian?) moustache on Joe Namath.

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