Fifty Years Later, English Prof Hears Echoes of Henry V in Joe Namath’s Super Bowl Guarantee

Cynthia Lewis, Charles A. Dana Professor English and Shakespeare scholar, published an op-ed in the Charlotte Observer that sheds new light on Super Bowl III.

Fifty years ago, the game enshrined Joe Namath in pro football history and cemented his celebrity status. The shaggy, brash quarterback shocked fans when he guaranteed that his New York Jets -- distant underdogs -- would beat the Baltimore Colts.

Namath's vow continues to remind Lewis of Henry V, in Shakespeare's play of the same name.

"While his bravado may not instantly recall that of Shakespeare's Henry V for most sports fans, that king's victory at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 shared key elements with Super Bowl III," Lewis writes.

The op-ed is adapted from Lewis's most recent book, The Game's Afoot: A Sport's Lovers Introduction to Shakespeare, in which she explores the parallels between the Bard's plays and famous events in the world of sports.

Read the full story.


  • February 1, 2019