Sunday, December 28, 2008

Yelberton Abraham

If you watch TV in the US and are interested in American football, you can't avoid knowing that this is the 50th anniversary of what is known as the Greatest game in NFL history. You may already have seen too many clips from the game. Press coverage is extensive and the home newspaper of the winning team has many articles on the subject. Johnny Unitas was the Colt QB who shared with Alan Ameche honors as the game's hero.

If you are interested at all, but don't want to skim the extensive coverage in the Baltimore Sun, look at this piece in the LA Times: The day the NFL got sudden life.

Here's a Youtube video of the game-winning, OT touchdown:

The Giants QB that day was Charlie Conerly.

I can't remember whether I saw the game; maybe not. I watched sports on TV with friends sometimes but was not a fan of any spectator sport. To the extent I had any football loyalty it was with the Giants and the Giant's QB whom I best recall was still then playing for the 49ers.

The quarterback was just another player in those days and the ones that did a lot of passing got beat up pretty badly. Conerly was playing hurt during the Colts game for that reason. In my memory, however, no one took more punishment than YA. I think that was because he refused to eat the ball, generally attempting to pass even when about to be hit. I recall hearing that the player who roomed with YA on the road said Monday mornings he would have bruises over much of his body and be pretty much unable to move at all.

This famous photo taken on Sept. 20, 1964, has the caption: "Tittle kneels in the end zone after getting hit by Steelers lineman John Baker. Battered and bloodied, Tittle suffered a concussion and bruised ribs. He would play again in 1964, but the year did not go well for Tittle, or for the Giants, and he retired after the season. This photograph was taken by Morris Berman. The image won a national award and is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It is one of the most famous photographs in the history of American sports. For Giants fans, the photo is symbolic of decline: the Giants would go 18 seasons without making the playoffs, a drought which ended in 1981."

{From the same game}


Giants Greatest Quarterbacks

Fallen Giant

1964 Steelers: A Picture Worth More Than Words Can Say

Y. A. Tittle

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