Thirty years ago, this past week, The Fumble happened. No, not Earnest Byner’s boo-boo in Denver, The Original Fumble. The “Miracle at the Meadowlands” may be the term used by sportscasters for the fumble recovery that cornerback Herman Edwards returned for a touchdown on November 19, 1978. It may be known to Eagle fans as the “Miracle At The Meadowlands,” but to fans of Big Blue, it’s simply “The Fumble.”
With the game safely in hand at 17-12, the Giants were easily capable of running out the game’s final seconds — all they had to do was take a kneel-down. (The Giants had the ball, the Eagles had no timeouts remaining, and the clock had about 30 seconds.) Everyone watching expected quarterback Joe Pisarcik to simply take the snap and down the ball, running out the clock and preserving a G-Men victory. Instead, he inexplicably attempted to hand it off to fullback Larry Csonka and botched it, allowing Edwards to pick up the ball and run 26 yards for the winning score and a shocking 19-17 victory. The sickening footage can be seen here.
I remember watching this one with my dad, and when it was over and the shock had worn off, I don’t know who was more upset. The Giants had endured many years of futility and pop seemed to think this was just another disappointing loss and bad karma for moving to Jersey. I wanted to punch a nun. Well, it was bad, really bad at the time, and it would take several years for the Giants to recover from this type of ineptitude. It would eventually lead to the dumping of then-head coach John McVay, which paved the way for the hiring of Ray Perkins, and his able assistant Bill Parcells. Pisarcik, Edwards and Csonka will forever be inextricably woven together by The Fumble. For the Iggles, they’d use this play to propel them to playoff births that year and the following year, and eventually a trip to the Big Dance following the 1980 season.
Thirty years and three Super Bowl Victories later, the Giants fan still looks back on this play as perhaps the darkest day in franchise history, but in many respects, it became the catalyst for the good things that followed. (A full analysis of this play and its aftermath is available at Wikipedia.)
Interesting, but not really earth shattering, were the uniforms sported that season. The Giants sported their standard, post-New York, Meadowlands fare, with the “GIANTS” on their helmets (after their 1975 disastrous change to this), and blue jerseys for home games and white for the road. The Eagles were resplendent in their green home jerseys, white aways, matched with silver pants. Their helmets were at this time green with silver wings.
Got a similar “lowlight” in your team’s history? Lets hear it.
“On any given Sunday you’re gonna win or you’re gonna lose. The point is, can you win or lose like a man?” — Phil