Running back takes measure of the game

The Giant Frank Gifford

Memories Of '58

December 24, 2008

New York Giants running back Frank Gifford remembers - and writes about - the key play that gave the Colts another chance to tie the score and ultimately win in his book, The Glory Game, from HarperCollins.

Four more yards, and we'd have it locked up.

We huddled. And I changed the play in the huddle. And Charlie [Conerly] called my sweep: "Brown right, over, 49 sweep. OK? On three. Break."

The play came off as well as could be expected. It was designed for me to take it wide around the right side or, depending on what we needed for the first, cut it hard back upfield. This time, I took it outside, until I saw a gap, planted my right foot, and turned it up, knowing exactly what I needed for the game-winning first down.

I'd gained about 3 yards when [Gino] Marchetti shed [Jack] Stroud's block, lowered his head, and hit me waist-high. "I hadn't had a lot of people running right at me during that game," Gino remembers. "So I kind of figured you'd cut in. A back was coming at me, and I was able to elude him, and when you cut back in I was in real good position with my feet, and I was able to hit you solid."

But I had momentum, and I fell forward as Marchetti was pulling me down. Now [Art] Donovan came in, over [Al] Barry's block, and threw a big right arm at me. I ducked under it. Then [Gene "Big Daddy"] Lipscomb came in, and landed on Gino - and Marchetti started screaming. His ankle was broken.

Everyone started to yell: "Get off him! Get off him!" Marchetti remembers those next few seconds, as he reached for his leg: "Some Giant said to me, 'You can get up now, Gino - the play is over.' I could have cared less. I was in so much pain, if I wasn't a grown man, I'd have cried."

They carried Marchetti off on a stretcher, but he insisted the trainers put him down so he could watch the outcome. So there he sat, on the ground, near the end zone, his lower leg wrapped in ice, a Colt jacket draping his shoulders.

Ordell Braase, Marchetti's backup, watching from the sideline, remembers the play well: "Why would you want to run at Marchetti?" he asked me. The answer, to me, is obvious: You go with what got you there, with the sweep and all its options.

I'll say it again for the last time: I still feel to this day, and will always feel, that I got the first down that would have let us run out the clock. And given us the title.

[Referee Ron] Gibbs had picked up the ball at the end of my run. He held on to it and didn't put it back down until all the chaos had subsided and Gino had been removed from the field.

Then they brought out the chains. And it was couple of inches short.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.