Super Bowl III reincarnated this week in Indy

After a weekend of mostly lopsided football games, the NFL's version of the final four is set.  The first game will match the New York Jets and the Indianapolis Colts in America's heartland. 

The melodrama surrounding the AFC Championship Game involves the very unique "big game" history shared by the Jets and Colts. Way back in 1969, these two teams locked up in Super Bowl III, a game that proved to be one of the most significant events in NFL history.

The upstart Jets were led by a young, matinee idol quarterback named Joe Namath. The "old school" Baltimore Colts had long been one of the NFL's top teams, due in large measure to the play of four-time league MVP, QB Johnny Unitas. "Broadway Joe" and the Jets defeated the Colts 16-7 at the Orange Bowl in Miami.  This outcome led to the ultra successful merger between the establishment NFL and the brash, young American Football League in 1970. 

Sunday, USC rookie QB Mark Sanchez, the Jets new matinee idol, will face four-time NFL MVP, Peyton Manning of the Colts. The Jets existence in the title game represents the greatest shocker of the 2009 season.  The Colts, on the other hand, finished the season 14-2 and have been one of the NFL's standard-bearers over the last several years.

Clearly, there is zero connection between a game that was played 41 years ago and one from present day.  But, it is always fun to highlight the unique historical parallels that often occur in sports.