Monday, December 29, 2008

50th Anniversary of "The Greatest Game Ever Played"

Yesterday marked the 50th Anniversary of what is called "The Greatest Game Ever Played," the 1958 NFL Championship where the Baltimore Colts defeated the New York Giants 23-17 in the first ever overtime game.

This game featured 17 Hall of Famers. Among them include: For the Baltimore Colts, quarterback Johnny Unitas, running back Lenny Moore, receiver Raymond Berry, and defensive linemen Art Donovan and Gino Marchetti. For the New York football Giants, running back Frank Gifford, offensive lineman Rosey Brown, defensive end Andy Robustelli, linebacker Sam Huff, and defesnive back Emlen Tunnell. The coordinators for the Giants were Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry, both future Hall of Fame head coaches.

The Colts had a 14-3 lead, but missed a touchdown opportunity in the third quarter that would have put the game away. The Giants rallied back to score two touchdowns and lead 17-14. Johnny Unitas led a famous drive in the final two minutes which led to a Steve Myhra field goal to put the game in overtime, where Alan Ameche scored the famous winning touchdown.

This game put the NFL on the map. Before this, the NFL was not a popular sport. Baseball and boxing were still king, and college football was much more popular than its professional counterpart. NBC televised this game to the non-New York audience and the sport's popularity exploded.

ESPN did a wonderful documentary on the game, where they put the video footage in color and interviewed many of the former and current Colts and Giants. Happy 50th Anniversary to the game and its players.

(Photo credit: AP (Game), NFL (Unitas))

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