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Super Bowl XXVII : THROUGH THE YEARS : Footnotes To History : III : TOM MATTE : BALTIMORE COLTS

January 27, 1993|BILL PLASCHKE

The only thing that has endured longer than running back Tom Matte's record 10.5 yards a carry in Super Bowl III is his belief that the best team didn't win.

More than 20 years later, he still maintains that the Colts should not have been upset by the New York Jets, who became the first AFL team to win a Super Bowl with a 16-7 victory.

"I would have liked to have played them the next day," said Matte, a Baltimore-area businessman. "I would have liked to get them in a best two out of three. They got every break in the world."

Matte said that the Jets won only because his team committed five turnovers, Joe Namath completed 60% of his passes, and Weeb Ewbank coached out of his mind.

"Ewbank was a great coach during the week, but during the game you might as well wrap him up and throw him away," Matte said. "But for this one game, he made all the right moves."

Matte, who gained 116 yards in 11 carries, typified the Colts' problems during his 58-yard run in the first half. He lost a race with cornerback Randy Beverly deep in Jet territory, then Earl Morrall threw an interception to end the drive.

"After the game, it was devastating," Matte said. "Everybody was so emotional. It was not much fun walking into the Pro Bowl clubhouse the next day and listening to other teams talk about us."

The only thing more difficult, Matte said, was watching the Colt franchise leave Baltimore after the 1983 season. The Super Bowl loss may have damaged the Colts' reputation, but the move ended their legacy.

Matte said he has never seen an Indianapolis Colt game, and wishes they would erase his name from their record books.

"I would rather have our legacy lost than have it under the umbrella of (owner) Bob Irsay," Matte said. "Johnny Unitas and myself and others feel the same way. We don't want anything to do with that Indianapolis franchise.

"We were the Baltimore Colts, and the Baltimore Colts are dead."

* 1969 AT MIAMI

N.Y. Jets 0 7 6 3 -- 16 Baltimore 0 0 0 7 -- 7

NYJ--Snell 4 run (Turner kick)

NYJ--FG Turner 32

NYJ--FG Turner 30

NYJ--FG Turner 9

Bal--Hill 1 run (Michaels kick)

A--75,389

Winning Coach--Weeb Ewbank

MVP--Joe Namath

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