George Sauer Jr., the man responsible for torching the Colts’ defense in Super Bowl III, passed away in Ohio on Tuesday at the age of 69. His sister, Dana Keifer, stated that the cause of death was congestive heart failure. He had also been battling Alzheimer’s disease.
While Sauer wasn’t speedy like his counterpart Don Maynard, he was a great technician on the field and used that to his advantage with Maynard suffering a hamstring injury in the Jets’ lone Super Bowl appearance and win. He made four appearances in the American Football League All-Star game and was named to Sporting News’ All-AFL team three times. He finished his career with 309 receptions for 4,965 yards and 28 touchdowns and an average of 16.1 yards per catch. He only fumbled three times during his career.
By the age of 27 Sauer retired from the game (though he would make a brief comeback with short-lived rival leagues). He had grown weary of the game calling it a manipulative and “grotesque business”. Given that the NFLPA was still struggling to secure even basic needs for players, Sauer’s comments weren’t that far off the mark.
It’s easy to wonder what could have been had Sauer remained in New York but instead we will remember him for what he did and the impact he had on the culture of the New York Jets and for that we are very thankful.
Rest in peace, George Sauer Jr., you will always be a Jet For Life and your family has our sincere sympathies.