George Sauer, a wide receiver for the 1968-69 Super Bowl Champion New York Jets, has died at the age of 69. Sauer, a superb route runner, played a pivotal role in the Jets' stunning victory in Super Bowl III, catching 8 passes for 133 yards. Sauer died on Tuesday in Westerville, Ohio. He was 69.
Sauer's sister, Dana Keifer, confirmed the death, saying he died of congestive heart failure. She also said he had been struggling with Alzheimer’s disease for some time.
The Baltimore Colts were 19 point favorites when they faced the Jets in the 1969 Super Bowl, but they lost, 16-7, in perhaps the greatest upset in Super Bowl history. A big factor was the stellar play of George Sauer and Joe Namath, the latter of which made his famous guarantee of victory after being asked one too many times if the Jets had any chance of staying with the formidable Colts.
The Jets were handicapped that day when Don Maynard, their star wide receiver and favorite Namath target, pulled a hamstring. Maynard caught no passes in the Super Bowl. But Sauer, the Jets No. 2 receiver, who lacked elite speed but ran superb pass patterns, caught eight.
Sauer was a four-time Pro Bowl player in the AFL. He played for the Jets from 1965 through 1970, appearing in 84 games and catching 309 passes for 4,965 yards and 28 touchdowns.
He retired from professional football at the end of the 1970 season at age 27, at the peak of his career, having grown to hate the life of a pro football player.
Please join me in bidding a fond farewell to one of the Jets own, an unsung hero of our only Super Bowl championship team. Rest in peace George Sauer. Jets fans were fortunate to have had the privilege of watching you play for your brief time in pro football.