Catching up with ... Jerry Logan
“I hope they kick New York, but good,” Jerry Logan said. “I’ve never been for the Jets. Don’t even like green and white. That goes back a long ways.”
Forty-two years, to be exact. Logan was a mainstay on a celebrated Baltimore Colts team which, in 1969, was expected to torch the Jets in Super Bowl III.
New York won, 16-7 — a setback that still hounds the old Colts.
“That was the most disappointing game in my whole career,” said Logan, a safety who played 10 years in Baltimore. “Did it gnaw on me? Still does. People mention it all the time, and I say, ‘I don’t want to talk about it.’
He’d rather rehash the Colts’ rematch with the Jets, a regular-season game in 1970 in which Baltimore had sworn to get even. It did. The Colts swiped six Joe Namath passes, sacked him three times and won, 29-22.
Logan recalled the hush in the locker room, before the game.
“Nothing needed to be said. All of us who’d been there [the Super Bowl], and who’d been part of that disaster, knew what we had to do,” he said.
Logan had three interceptions, tying a club record and earning him a game ball. One of those picks came on the Jets’ first play from scrimmage: Logan nabbed Namath’s pass, which had been batted at the line by the Colts’ Bubba Smith, and raced 31 yards for a touchdown.
With 10 minutes gone, Baltimore led, 17-0. Things only got better. The Colts’ John Unitas completed the 2,500th pass of his career. Fans in New York’s Shea Stadium booed Namath. And the Colts won for the fourth time in five games on their march to a championship in Super Bowl V.
The win over the Jets, in October, 1970, capped a memorable week for local sports fans. Four days earlier, the Orioles had won the World Series, defeating Cincinnati and softening their upset loss to the New York Mets a year earlier.
Now, the Colts had shed their curse, too, thanks in part to Logan, a quiet, three-time Pro Bowler from West Texas State. Besieged by reporters in the locker room, he reacted with typical modesty.
“You got to be lucky when you intercept a pass,” he said. “I was lucky three times.”
But the Colts’ victory was bittersweet, Logan recalled.
“I remember thinking, ‘This should have happened in the Super Bowl, not a regular-season game,’ “ he said.
A sure tackler who shrugged off injuries, from a broken nose to busted ribs, Logan started 155 straight games for Baltimore, from his rookie year in 1963 to his retirement a decade later. A two-way back in college, he’d led the nation in scoring (110 points) as a senior. But Logan fit easily into the Colts’ defensive scheme and helped the team to a Super Bowl victory, an NFL title and five division championships.
“I still get two or three letters a week, asking for autographs. It amazes me that people remember that far back,” Logan said from his home in Graham (pop. 9,000). “Sometimes they send footballs and helmets. I don’t charge for autographs – that’s crazy, charging somebody to sign something – but I’m not going to pay postage to send their stuff back.”
Married 48 years, he has four children, 11 grandchildren and a retro work ethic. He mends fences and builds corrals, alongside his 91-year-old father, on the family’s two drought-stricken, 300-acre cattle farms. Until recently, he also trained cutting horses. Last year, Logan retired after 15 years as head of custodial services for the local school district.
Two pounds heavier than his playing weight (190), he works out daily. Logan does 200 crunches, lifts weights and rides 15 minutes on a stationary bike. Golfing is in. Jogging is out.
“I had a hip replacement 10 years ago,” he said. “(Doctors) have been trying to take my bad knee for that long, too, but I won’t give it to them.”
Keepsakes embellish his office at home. There’s the game ball Logan received from the Colts-Jets rematch, and the jersey he wore in Super Bowl V, when the Colts defeated Dallas, 16-13.
Logan sealed the Colts’ victory that day, intercepting a desperation pass by the Cowboys as time ran out. But most folks don’t remember that, and Logan seldom brings it up.
“I was never one to toot my own horn,” he said. “All I cared about was what my coaches and teammataes thought of me — and I knew where I stood there.”