"I guarantee it."

These words may never go down with "Four score and seven years ago," "War is hell" or "Read my lips," but, remembered in proper context, they, too, will not perish from the face of the earth.

Yes, long after the particulars of the New York Jets' monumental, 16-7 upset victory over a long-ago team referred to as the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III are forgotten, quarterback Joe Namath's assurances that the 17-point favorites were going down will shine like a beacon through the ages.

"The guy is crazy," thought Namath's teammate, Jets linebacker Ralph Baker.

"We laughed. We thought it was a joke and maybe that was our problem," recalled Baltimore's all-time tight end, John Mackey.

Pete Lammons of the Jets surmised that "with the whiskey going in there a little faster, Joe decided to tell [the assembled media] what he thought about the whole deal."

"Namath talks too much," grumbled Colts defensive tackle Billy Ray Smith. "He should keep his mouth shut. He'll keep his teeth a lot longer."

This was just one of the choice, bulletin-board items that Broadway Joe unloaded on the public in the half-dozen days leading up to the NFL-AFL confrontation in the Orange Bowl on this day three decades ago.

There was a so-called run-in at a bar with Colts defensive end Lou Michaels as the hour grew late. Jets safety Jim Hudson, with Namath, remembered: "The two of them were arguing about who was the better Catholic, stuff like that. Joe ended up picking up the check and driving them [Michaels and guard Dan Sullivan] back to their hotel."

Namath said Earl Morrall, who led the Colts to a 13-1 record in the regular season in the absence of John Unitas (elbow injury) and the MVP of the NFL, would be the third-stringer behind himself and backup Babe Parilli if he were with the Jets. He ticked off the names of five AFL quarterbacks who were superior to Morrall.

Everything Broadway Joe said short of "pass the salt" made headlines.

"We were in hostile territory. It was all NFL," Lammons said. "Joe was what the writers focused on for the AFL side."

He did not disappoint.

Actually, the Jets sort of sneaked up on people during the 1968 season. They were 11-3 and had piled up the points (419), but they gave up a few (280). Oakland was favored to win the AFL crown and go against the NFL standard-bearer a second straight time, especially after crushing the Kansas City Chiefs in a conference playoff. But the Jets, with good fortune late, posted an upset over the Raiders in the AFL championship game, 27-23.

"The thing that probably got me going on the `guarantee' business and everything else on the week leading up to the game is anger," Namath said just the other day. "You get angry when told you're going to lose, and lose big, day after day. And, you know, anger can be a good thing when you're playing sports."

Also, Namath recalled his team's being favored by a couple of touchdowns against Buffalo and Denver during the season and losing both games.

Besides, Namath and his cohorts had been looking at film of the Colts' banner season, and, even though Baltimore pounded Cleveland in the NFL title game, 34-0, the Jets weren't awed by what they saw.

Lammons uttered the memorable line: "If we watch any more of these [Colts game films], we're going to get overconfident."

Defensive back Johnny Sample, a former Colt, likened the Browns to "a taxi-squad team."