Tuesday, July 3, 2012

APR's top 25 regular season upsets: #7

# 7: 1970 Week 11: Vikings 10, Jets 20 (ρ=1.3188)
Vikings' season: finished 12-2, won the NFC Central, and lost to the 49ers in the Divisional round of the playoffs.
Jets' season: finished 4-10. Long-time coach Weeb Ewbank would coach the Jets through the 1973 season.
What happened: in 1969, the Vikings were NFL champions, ultimately losing to the AFL champion Chiefs in Super Bowl IV. The Jets also had a very good season in 1969, going 10-4, and losing to the same Chiefs team in the final AFL Championship game. The Vikings were at the start of a period of strength that would last through most of the 1970s. While the Jets had fallen into a long-term slump—they would not return to the playoffs until 1981.
A big part of the problem for the Jets in 1970 was their defense—they held their opponents under 20 in just 5 games that season (compared to 9 times in 1969). Especially once Joe Namath got hurt, this wasn't something their offense could keep up with.
But the Vikings had problems of their own, at least in this game. Gary Cunzzo, their starting quarterback, got knocked out of the game after just 3 pass attempts, and back-up Bob Lee did not have a good game (9 completions on 24 attempts for 126 yards and 4 interceptions). The Jets were also able to hold the Vikings to 59 yards rushing, and the Vikings just weren't able to overcome their problems.
Also of note: In spite of his awful outing in this game (and generally unimpressive career numbers), quarterback Bob Lee was in the NFL through the 1980 season, and is credited for throwing at least one pass every season until his last.

Next week: the next installment of "a good offense can't always get by with a bad defense".