We older fans remember the 1958 Championship Game between the New York Giants and the Baltimore Colts. I was a big Giant fan in those days primary because I liked their announcer Chris Schenkel and I detested their archrival Cleveland Browns. I saw the Giants three times in 1958 on the CBS TV Station KDKA.
Week 1. It cost too much in those days to send a game from the West Coast to Pittsburgh. Instead of telecasting the Steelers at San Francisco, KDKA carried the Chicago Cardinals vs the New York Giants. This was a Cardinal home game played in Buffalo, NY. The Giants easily won 37 to 7.
Week 12. On this final Sunday Pittsburghers saw the Giants playing the Cleveland Browns at Yankee Stadium. The Steelers were on national television the day before. The Giants record was 8-3, one game behind the 9-2 Browns. Pat Summerall, in a blizzard, kicked a 49 yard field goal to win 13 to 10. Both the Browns and Giants were 9-3 setting up a playoff game the following week.
Week 13. Since New York won both games, the tiebreaker was at Yankee Stadium. The Giants defeated the Browns 10 to 0. This was perhaps the greatest defensive show in post season history.
Week 14. NFL Championship Game. The New York Giants vs the Baltimore Colts at Yankee Stadium. Two months previous at Yankee Stadium the Giants defeated the Colts in an interconference game 24 to 21. Yankee Stadium had its share of football excitement just as in baseball.
There were two fishy looking calls.
Late in the game, the Giants at their own 44 appeared to have a first down. Fans were confident that their team would kill the clock and win. For some reason, the referee spotted the ball about three yards back; the Giants had to punt. To this day, I have never understood why Giant coach Jim Lee Howell didn’t argue with the officials.
The Colts field the punt inside their own 20. Johnny Unitas pitched a series of short passes and one long bomb to Raymond Berry. Steve Myhra, also an offensive linemen, kicked a 14 yard field goal to tie the score.
And so came the first tie in a Post Season game. The players got paid overtime. The Giants had the first possession but could do nothing and punted to the Colts. A few plays later John Unitas threw a 65 yard pass to Raymond Berry at the Giants 7. Things looked gloomy for the Giants. I expected one play to move the ball right between the goal posts.
Instead John took a needless risk. He threw a slant pass to Jim Mutscheller at the one yard line. Why would Unitas gamble with type of pass that is often intercepted and returned a long way? Remember Ronde Barber putting out the lights in Philadelphia in the 2002 NFC Championship Game. The final play was Jim Parker blocking Emlen Tunnel; this made a big hole for Alan Ameche to score the winning touchdown. Final Baltimore 23 New York 17.
Was scoring a touchdown to cover a point spread. These two plays in the NFL Championship Game raise some eyebrows.