1969 Broadway Joe delivers On January 12, 1969, in the most celebrated performance of his prolific career, quarterback Joe Namath leads the New York Jets to a stunning 16-7 victory over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, held in Miami, Florida. Born in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, in 1943, Namath starred on his high school football team and at one point was offered $50,000 to play baseball for the Chicago Cubs. He chose to play football for Coach Paul (Bear) Bryant at the University of Alabama, where he was an All-American. Drafted by both the St. Louis Cardinals of the National Football League (NFL) and the Jets of the upstart American Football League (AFL), Namath chose the Jets, who paid him a signing bonus of close to $400,000. Three games into his first season, he earned the starting quarterback job; he was later voted the AFL Rookie of the Year. With a notoriously lavish Upper East Side penthouse apartment and an active social schedule, the handsome Namath became known as Broadway Joe. He also distinguished himself on the field, becoming the first pro quarterback to pass for 4,000 yards in a single season in 1967. Namath’s brash confidence was never more on display than in a public appearance in the days leading up to Super Bowl III, when he assured a heckler that the Jets (19-point underdogs) would beat the Colts (reputedly the best team in NFL history), even going so far as to say “I guarantee it.” Namath’s trash-talking drew criticism from many in the NFL, who doubted his ability and insisted the AFL could not really compete with the older, more established NFL. Namath proved to be as good as his word, however, as the Jets drove 80 yards in the first quarter and grabbed a 7-0 lead in the second with a four-yard touchdown run by fullback Matt Snell. The defense intercepted Colts quarterback Earl Morrall three times to prevent Baltimore from scoring. Two Jets field goals by Jim Turner in the third quarter and another at the start of the fourth put New York up 16-0. Though Baltimore was able to score a single touchdown in the fourth, it would not be enough. Namath completed 17 of 28 passes, for a total of 206 yards, while wide receiver George Sauer caught eight of those for 133 yards, and Snell ran for a Super Bowl record 121 yards. Apart from ensuring the legacy of Broadway Joe, a future Hall of Famer, the victory gave legitimacy to the AFL and assured the competitive viability of the AFL-NFL rivalry. 1888 Blizzard brings tragedy to Northwest Plains On this day in 1888, the so-called “Schoolchildren’s Blizzard” kills 235 people, many of whom were children on their way home from school, across the Northwest Plains region of the United States. The storm came with no warning, and some accounts say that the temperature fell nearly 100 degrees in just 24 hours. It was a Thursday afternoon and there had been unseasonably warm weather the previous day from Montana east to the Dakotas and south to Texas. Suddenly, within a matter of hours, Arctic air from Canada rapidly pushed south. Temperatures plunged to 40 below zero in much of North Dakota. Along with the cool air, the storm brought high winds and heavy snows. The combination created blinding conditions. Most victims of the blizzard were children making their way home from school in rural areas and adults working on large farms. Both had difficulty reaching their destinations in the awful conditions. In some places, though, caution prevailed. Schoolteacher Seymour Dopp in Pawnee City, Nebraska, kept his 17 students at school when the storm began at 2 p.m. They stayed overnight, burning stockpiled wood to keep warm. The next day, parents made their way over five-foot snow drifts to rescue their children. In Great Plains, South Dakota, two men rescued the children in a schoolhouse by tying a rope from the school to the nearest shelter to lead them to safety. Minnie Freeman, a teacher in Nebraska, successfully led her children to shelter after the storm tore the roof off of her one-room schoolhouse. In other cases, though, people were less lucky. Teacher Loie Royce tried to lead three children to the safety of her home, less than 90 yards from their school in Plainfield, Nebraska. They became lost, and the children died of hypothermia. Royce lost her feet to frostbite. In total, an estimated 235 people across the plains died on January 12. The storm is still considered one of the worst blizzards in the history of the area. 1984 Pyramid mystery unearthed On this day, an international panel overseeing the restoration of the Great Pyramids in Egypt overcomes years of frustration when it abandons modern construction techniques in favor of the method employed by the ancient Egyptians. Located at Giza outside Cairo, some of the oldest manmade structures on earth were showing severe signs of decay by the early 1980s. Successful repair work began on the 4,600-year-old Sphinx in 1981, but restoration of the pyramids proved destructive when water in modern cement caused adjacent limestone stones to split. On January 12, 1984, restorers stopped using mortar and adopted the system of interlocking blocks practiced by the original pyramid builders. From thereon, the project proceeded smoothly. The ancient Egyptians built nearly 100 pyramids over a millennium to serve as burial chambers for their royalty. They believed that the pyramids eased the monarchs’ passage into the afterlife, and the sites served as centers of religious activity. During the Old Kingdom, a period of Egyptian history that lasted from the late 26th century B.C. to the mid-22nd century B.C., the Egyptians built their largest and most ambitious pyramids. The three enormous pyramids situated at Giza outside of Cairo were built by King Khufu, his son, and his grandson in the Fourth Dynasty. The largest, known as the Great Pyramid, was built by Khufu and is the only one of the “Seven Wonders of the World” from antiquity that still survives. The Great Pyramid was built of approximately 2.3 million blocks of stone and stood nearly 50 stories high upon completion. Its base forms a nearly perfect and level square, with sides aligned to the four cardinal points of the compass. The Great Pyramid is composed primarily of yellowish limestone blocks and was originally covered in an outer casing of smooth light-colored limestone. This finer limestone eroded and was carried away in later centuries, but the material can still be found in the inner passages. The interior burial chamber was built of huge blocks of granite. It is believed that construction of the pyramid took 20 years and involved over 20,000 workers, bakers, carpenters, and water carriers. The exact method in which this architectural masterpiece was built is not definitively known, but the leading theory is that the Egyptians employed an encircling embankment of sand, brick, and earth that was increased in height as the pyramid rose. In addition to Khufu’s mummy, interior rooms of the pyramid held objects for the deceased to use in the afterlife. Many of these items were valuable, and tomb robbers had long ago robbed the pyramids of their treasures before modern archeologists began studying the structures in the 17th century. King Khafre, the grandson of Khufu, built the Great Sphinx, which was carved from a single block of limestone left over in a quarry used to build the pyramids. The Sphinx has the body of a recumbent lion and a human face meant to represent Khafre. There are no known inner chambers in the structure.