January 12 is a red letter day on the calendar in football. On January 12, 1969, Joe Namath and the New York Jets of the American Football League beat Baltimore of the National Football League in Super Bowl III, the first named Super Bowl after two years of being known as the American Football League-National Football League World Championship Game.
I’m Evan Weiner with the Politics of Sports Business.
College football is hoping that January 12, 2015 will be a springboard that will propel the College Football Playoff into the event category like the Super Bowl. It took the Super Bowl a while to achieve national holiday status. The first championship game doesn’t need much of a boost. There has been a debate about college football championship titles for decades. The first ever championship game has cable TV money, a large roster of marketing partners and will be played in a facility that hosted the Super Bowl, the Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington, Texas. The game has sports media and sports fans credibility and a betting line.
Back on January 12, 1969, the American Football League was still considered an inferior product by many sportswriters and fans. Namath guaranteed that his Jets, a 17 point underdog, would win a few days earlier during a confrontation with Baltimore’s Lou Michaels in a bar and then before a small number of football writers. That sparked an interest in a game that was being somewhat diminished back in 1969.
Eventually Super Bowl parties would spring up, the Super Bowl commercials would become big business and must watch television and the NFL would use the game as a political force whether it was to get a new stadium built for an owner or push Arizona into passing a referendum creating Martin Luther King Day as a holiday.
College football’s big game is starting on a Monday night not Sunday. In time, the game will become college sports’ crown jewel eclipsing the Men’s Final Four Basketball Championship Game. January 12 is a big day in pro football’s history. The college football business is hoping January 12 will also be remembered as a big date.
This article was republished with permission by the original author, Evan Weiner.