Talking the Talk

In 1969 Jets QB Joe Namath guaranteed that his 17 1/2-point underdog Jets would whip the Colts in Super Bowl III (above). They did. Last week Jets DE Shaun Ellis boasted his team would beat the Steelers. Oops. Here's a look at one of the NFL's liveliest arts
January 24, 2005

1962 | PAUL HORNUNG

BRAG: Before the season Packers great Hornung, who wore a sweater emblazoned with his initials in foot-high letters, said he planned to do "something the fans haven't seen before.... I just can't help being dramatic." REALITY: The Golden Boy--who played RB, WR, QB and kicker--suffered a knee injury and played just nine games, scoring 74 points, far below the record 176 he scored in '60.

1967 | FRED WILLIAMSON

BRAG: Chiefs CB, known as the Hammer because he often tackled with a forearm to the head, said before Super Bowl I, "Green Bay Packers ... we're gonna whip their asses." He added, "I'm going to lay a few hammers on 'em, and they're going to go back into the huddle with their heads ringing." REALITY: Williamson was carried off the field after being run over by Packers RB Donny Anderson in the fourth quarter of Green Bay's 35-10 win.

1970 | TERRY BRADSHAW

BRAG: Upon being picked No. 1 in the draft by 1-13 Pittsburgh, the Louisiana native announced, "I'm going to take the Steelers to the Super Bowl!" REALITY: As late as October 1974, when he was benched, it appeared Bradshaw would eat his words. But he rebounded to lead the Steelers to a first Super Bowl title that season. Then he did it again ... and again ... and again.

1979 | THOMAS (HOLLYWOOD) HENDERSON

BRAG: Before Super Bowl XIII, Henderson, a LB, said his Cowboys would shut out Pittsburgh, adding, "Bradshaw's so dumb, he couldn't spell cat if you spotted him the c and the a." REALITY: "Empty barrels," Pittsburgh coach Chuck Noll said, "make the most noise." Steelers won 35-31, and Bradshaw passed for 318 yards. "I rated his intelligence. I didn't rate his ability," said Henderson, who later admitted to having sniffed 1 1/2 grams of liquefied cocaine during the game.

1986 | OTIS WILSON

BRAG: Chicago LB, before Super Bowl XX against Pats: "If we follow our game plan, we'll shut them out." REALITY: No blanking, but Bears scored 17 points before allowing a first down and won 46-10.

1994 | ANDRE RISON

BRAG: "What Jerry [Rice] does, he knows I can do," said the Falcons WR. "And I can do some things [he] can't." REALITY: Rison: 84 TDs; 10,205 receiving yards; and, at 33, out of the NFL. Rice: 197 TDs; 22,895 yards; and, at 42, still active.

2001 | WARREN SAPP

BRAG: Sapp said of Mark Gastineau's single-season record of 22 sacks, "I'm going to take it down." REALITY: Sapp had six sacks while the Giants' Michael Strahan broke the record with 22 1/2.

2003 | JAMAL LEWIS

BRAG: In a phone call with Browns LB Andra Davis before a Sept. 14 game against Cleveland, Ravens RB said he could have the best game of his career. Davis revealed the prediction to the press. REALITY: Lewis racked up an NFL-record 295 yards in Ravens' 33--3 rout. Said Browns LB Earl Little, "I guess the dude is Nostradamus."

2004 | CHAD JOHNSON

BRAG: Bengals receiver sent Cleveland defenders bottles of Pepto-Bismol for the intestinal distress he promised to cause them in an Oct. 17 matchup. He attached a note: "Hope this adds some color and relief to your week." REALITY: Johnson needed help to stomach his performance. He flubbed more passes (four) than he caught (three), and had just 37 yards in a 34-17 loss.

COLOR PHOTOWALTER IOOSS JR. (NAMATH) B/W PHOTOMYRON DAVIS/TIMEPIX (HORNUNG) HORNUNG COLOR PHOTOBILL EPPRIDGE (BRADSHAW) SAPP COLOR PHOTO PIERRE DUCHARME/REUTERS (SAPP) BRADSHAW COLOR PHOTOGAIL BURTON/AP (LEWIS) LEWIS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)