On the night of January 9, 1969, Joe Namath -- a little high on Johnnie Walker Red -- delivered his famous Super Bowl guarantee.
Less famous -- but no less prescient -- was his parting shot that evening.
"I'm afraid it's true," said Broadway Joe. "The name of the game is 'kill the quarterback.' "
He was speaking metaphorically. I think.
If the language is a bit severe -- especially for a league trying to be vigilant with player safety -- the point is undeniable. Players don't need pep talks from the likes of a Gregg Williams. Or additional financial incentives. Or dirty hits.
They know the deal. Now as ever.
You remove the starting quarterback. You've just increased your chances. By a lot.
On Sunday, three quarterbacks left games with concussions, which, truth be told, are an occupational hazard. That said, none of their teams could win without them.
Kill the quarterback? Politically incorrect.
But knock him out? Sound strategy.
I'm afraid it's true. But I guarantee it.