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Joe Namath fumbles the coin toss, but referee makes heads-up play

Joe Namath talks with Phil Simms prior to

Joe Namath talks with Phil Simms prior to the start of Super Bowl XLVIII between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium on February 2, 2014. Credit: Getty Images / Elsa

Clad in a full-length fur coat that evoked memories of his glory days as quarterback of the Super Bowl III champion Jets, Joe Namath joined Phil Simms, quarterback of the Super Bowl XXI champion Giants, as representatives of the host teams for the coin toss for Super Bowl XLVIII Sunday night at MetLife Stadium.

The quarterback who was cool enough to guarantee the Jets' 16-7 win over the Baltimore Colts must have had a case of Super Bowl nerves. He false-started on the coin toss, flipping it in the air prematurely. But referee Terry McAulay quickly reached up and made a nice one-handed catch before the ceremonial coin hit the turf.

Namath laughed at his mistake and re-flipped properly. Seattle won the toss and deferred, allowing Denver to receive.

The conservatively dressed Simms, who completed a record 22 of 25 passes in the Giants' 39-20 win over the Broncos in SB XXI, watched the ceremony quietly. Before the game, though, his enthusiasm about playing his ceremonial role at the first New York metro-area Super Bowl was palpable.

"I'm honored to be asked to do anything like this," Simms said. "My family is excited about it and I am. I'm excited to go down on the field and get to see some players, to see their faces and to see the tension building."

Simms was a presence throughout the week at various events, and he liked what he saw. "I think it turned out really well," he said. "The weather is going to hold up. That was everybody's concern.

"I thought the city handled it awesome. I was a lot of places, and everywhere I went this week in New York, it seemed like everybody was having a good time. Traffic was not a problem. Everything was good. There's no doubt that New York is so big, it can handle a Super Bowl and make it seem like nothing."


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