THE BRONX, NY – Despite the winter wonderland that has befallen most of the Eastern United States, we are on the cusp of baseball season. Call us crazy but as speculation swirls in the snow squalls re Manny, Johan, A-Rod and the solvency of our ballfields’ banks, we want to take you to back to 1958 – and not to spring training or to some historic baseball event. No, instead let’s trek in the MTM Time Machine back to Yankee Stadium – to that hallowed home of baseball’s Honored Heroes that Hank Steinbrenner decided wasn’t fan-friendly – to talk FOOTBALL and, arguably, about the Greatest Game Ever Played. Anyway, since our new Tuesday Team couldn’t make their first start after tweaking their TTs (Typing Tendons) and because we just finished FranK Gifford’s book The Glory Game: How The 1958 NFL Championship Game Changed Football Forever, this choice made perfect posting sense.
Here are but a few of the game’s gems that momentarily took our minds off Glen Sather, Jim Dolan and the Grapefruit League:
-Baltimore’s Gino Marchetti, one of the NFL’s Best-ever defensive ends, broke his leg late in Regulation but insisted upon remaining on the sideline, despite obvious pain and frigid temperatures.
-It was basically a home game for the Giants, yet there were a ton of Baltimore fans and the Colts’ brass band acted as great equalizer.
-It had a huge TV viewing audience and Yankee Stadium had 70,000+ fans, yet the game was blacked-out in NYC.
-For NY, Vince Lombardi was the Offensive Coordinator, Tom Landry the Defensive Coordinator. Jim Lee Howell was the non-existent Head Coach.
-Weeb Ewbank, future coach of the Champion Jets, was at the helm for Baltimore.
-Lindsey Nelson called the game on radio, click here to hear his call of the last minutes.
-Giant QB Charlie Connerly wore #42 – that’s pretty cool.
-Frank Gifford wore #16.
-Two All-Time greats named after a Rose were on the line for the Jints: OT Rosey Brown – who saw action on defense in the game as well – and Rosie Grier, whose injuries kept him out of the 2nd half.
-Weeb Ewbank, not the biggest of guys, ran onto the field and punched Sam Huff in the jaw after a perceived late hit. Weeb quickly bolted off when no Colt player stood between him and the Herculean Huff.
-There were no rules for Over Time – this was the NFL’s virgin voyage into the realm and the rules were made up on the spot.
-Most of the Giants lived at the Grand Concourse Plaza Hotel and took the subway to bars like Toots Schorrs.
-The TV feed went down late in the game. Normally, they would simply have continued playing but a crazed guy in a suit and fedora bolted onto the field, delaying it. Lindsey Nelson would later tell Gifford that he is convinced it was an NBC exec buying time for the TV feed to get fixed. Gifford says it allowed the Colts time to catch their wind at a pivotal point.
-Johnny Unitas invented the No-Huddle offense in leading Baltimore down field for the game-tying field goal.
-Gifford and Sam Huff had a heated argument just prior to the game re Jack Kemp getting a share of the playoff money. Giff won/Kemp did.
There you have it. If that didn’t effectively pique your interest and dull your baseball jones for five minutes, then we’ve PHAILED (reference to our Tenuous Tuesday Team). At the very least you have Angry Ward tomorrow and this to watch:
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