Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The New York Giants Five Worst Losses, Part Two

4) 1978 Week 12
Philadelphia 19—New York 17

From the 1950's through the early 1960's, the New York Giants were perennial title contenders. In the 1970's the only thing the Giants regularly competed for was the title of Worst Team in Football. After five straight losing seasons, the Giants came out of the gates decently (for them) in 1978 and at 5-6 remained in the playoff hunt as they hosted their bitter rivals from Philadelphia in Week 12. The Giants jumped out to a big early lead and as the game wound down they still held a 17-12 advantage with 31 seconds left to play in the game. Needing only to run out the clock to preserve a win, Giants’ offensive coach Bob Gibson sent in an unusual play. For reasons unclear to this day Gibson ordered a handoff rather than have QB Joe Pisarcik just take a kneel down. Back then there was no kneel down rule so a QB could be hit if he went to the ground with the ball. That may have been the reason for the simple handoff call. Did I say simple? Things suddenly became complicated. The Giants players were shocked by the play call and Csonka told Pisarcik NOT to give him the ball! But Pisarcik had gotten in trouble for changing a play a week earlier and decided to follow orders this time out. With the play clock winding down, Pisarcik quicky called for the snap. Not even knowing if Csonka was going to take the ball, Pisarcik slightly bobbled the snap and he hurriedly handed the ball to Csonka even though Csonka was speeding past the spot where a smooth handoff could be executed. Shoving the ball into Csonka's right hip anyway, the ball bounced off of Csonka onto the turf. Pisarcik dove for the ball, couldn't corral it, and it was picked up by Eagles cornerback (and future NFL coach) Herman Edwards, who ran 26 yards untouched for an absolutely shocking jaw-dropping game-winning TD! The humiliated Giants fired Gibson the following day while Head Coach John McVay followed him at the end of the season after his team collapsed and finished at 6-10. Meanwhile, the win propelled the hated Eagles into the playoffs for the first time in 18 years. Edwards' incredible score became one of the most famous plays in NFL history right up there with the Immaculate Reception. Giants' fans must particularly enjoy the shots of Eagles' Coach Dick Vermeil, who hadn't even seen the play, laughing and giddily jumping into his player's arms, forever immortalized by NFL Films. The loss perfectly epitomized how low the Giants' franchise had sunk by the late 70's. Years later, when Edwards became coach of the New York Jets, New Yorkers were once again forced to endure the highlights of Herm’s starring role in the “Miracle at the Meadowlands” (which bitter Giant fans refer to only as "the fumble").

See it for yourself

Related Posts:

Part One

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

No comments: