Giant Meltdown as Bad as It Gets

Giants fans can’t cope with their team’s miserable play down the stretch.

Move over, choke artists. Teams like the 1964 Phillies, 1978 Red Sox and 2004 Yankees, or the 1978 Redskins and 1993 Dolphins. Golfers like Greg Norman at the 1996 Masters and Jean Van de Velde at the 1999 British Open. You’ve got company.

The monumental collapse of the New York Giants rivals all those and more. Unless the Giants beat the Redskins, get help and somehow make the playoffs, it will go down as the greatest late-season meltdown in NFL history.

How historic was the Giants collapse? New York’s defense gave up 73 points in a little over a full game, between the 28-point, fourth quarter Meadowlands meltdown, including DeSean Jackson’s game-ending punt return, pictured below, against the Eagles and the last score in the 45-17 disaster at Green Bay.

The NFL record for most points in a game occurred in the 1940 championship game, when the Chicago Bears crushed the Washington Redskins, 73-0. Do the math — the Giants gave up 73 points in their collapse — all in just a little more than four quarters. 64 minutes and eight seconds to be exact. That’s incredible.

How monumental was the Giants fall? The Giants were on the verge of wrapping up a  two seed and first round bye before it all fell down. It’s tough to find a more horrible collapse in NFL history.

Other NFL Collapses
The 1978 Redskins began the season with six straight wins, and ended with five consecutive losses to finish 8-8. That same year, the first Miracle at the Meadowlands occurred, a portent of things to come in Giants- Eagles games..

The 1993 Dolphins had a big fall. On Thanksgiving Day that year, Miami defeated the Dallas Cowboys on the Leon Lett play to improve to 9-2. But they lost their last five games and missed the playoffs.

The 2003 Vikings had a potent offense led by Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss. They started the season 6-0, but then when into a tailspin and lost seven of their 10 games. With a chance to salvage their season in the final game, they gave up a late touchdown and lost to the Arizona Cardinals, 18-17.

Back in the days before the Super Bowl, when there were no playoffs, just a championship game between division champions, there were some memorable collapses.

In 1957,  the 49ers, playing the Detroit Lions for the Western Conference title,  blew a 27-7 third quarter lead at Kezar Stadium (now known as Bob St. Clair Field in San Francisco and lost to the Detroit Lions, 31-27. The Lions went on to beat the Cleveland Browns, 59-14, the following week for the NFL Championship. They haven’t won one since.

In 1958, the Cleveland Browns, needing only a win or a tie, lost to the Giants,13-10, on Pat Summerall’s late field goal in the swirling Yankee Stadium snow. That forced an Eastern Division playoff the following week, which the Giants won 10-0. The Giants went on to lose the NFL Championship to the Baltimore Colts 23-17 in overtime in what is called “The Greatest Game Ever Played.”

Unless the Giants somehow rebound to get into the playoffs, their collapse will be the one that sets the standard for all others.

Misery loves company.

It Doesn’t Get Any Worse Than This

A punt return by Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson on the final play of the game put the capper on an thinkable collapse by the New York Giants.

It’s hard to imagine a more crushing loss than the one the Giants suffered on Sunday to the Philadelphia Eagles when they blow a three-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter. New York lost on a 65-yard punt return on the final play of the game — the first time in NFL history a game has ended on a punt return for a touchdown.

This qualifies as the worst loss in the 85-year history of the franchise. Not only did they blow a huge lead to a division rival at home, they lost a chance to put a stranglehold on the NFC East and an almost certain playoff spot.

It was an epic collapse by a team that was once considered a Super Bowl contender. Now the Giants, coming off a stunning loss, will have to fight just to make the playoffs.

Already the vultures are circling. There are reports that Bill Cowher is ready to return to coaching, with his sights set on the Giants and Tom Coughlin.

“I’ve never been around anything like this in my life,” said Coughlin after the Meadowlands meltdown. “It’s about as empty as you get to feel in this business.”

The Giants have had some bad losses over the years, but the “Miracle at the New Meadowlands” is the worst. It beats out monumental playoff collapses against the 49ers and Vikings, and the original “Miracle at the Meadowlands”, also against the Eagles, when the Giants failed to take a knee and end the game.

Those playoff losses were brutal, and of course there’s no tomorrow after a playoff loss. And that loss to the Eagles in the original “Miracle” game was devastating yes, but remember the Giants were a terrible team then, mired in an 18-year playoff drought.

But yesterday was a total, unthinkable team collapse and the worst loss in New York Football Giants history.

Giant Bummers: 10 Worst Losses in Big Blue History

Eagles 38, Giants 31, Dec. 19, 2010 — Eagles rally from a 31-10 deficit in the fourth quarter and win the game on a punt return by DeSean Jackson.

49ers 39, Giants 38, Jan. 5, 2003 — Giants blow 38-14 lead, lose to 49ers in controversial, wild card playoff finish.

Eagles 19, Giants 17, Nov. 19, 1978 — In the original “Miracle at the Meadowlands,” Herm Edwards returns fumble for TD win as Giants fail to run out clock, below right.

Vikings 23, Giants 22, Dec. 27, 1997 — Vikings overcome 19-3 halftime lead, score 10 points in last 1:30 to win wild card playoff.

Rams 19, Giants 13, OT, Jan. 7, 1990 — Jim Everett throws touchdown to Flipper Anderson in overtime as Ram win divisional playoff.

Bears 14, Giants 10, Dec, 29, 1963 — Bears capitalize on five Y.A. Tittle interceptions to beat Giants for NFL title at Wrigley Field.

Redskins 72, Giants 41, Nov. 27, 1966 — Giants allow NFL record 72 points to Redskins, who add insult to injury with late field goal.

Jets 37, Giants 14, Aug. 17, 1969 — It was only a pre-season game, but with the win the Super Bowl champion Jets legitimized themselves in New York.

Ravens 34, Giants 7, Jan. 28,  2001 — Ravens defense overwhelms Giants at Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa.

Colts 23, Giants 17, OT, Dec. 28, 1958 — In “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” Giants lose to Colts in only overtime championship game in NFL history.

For extra measure, a few more crushing defeats:

Bears 23, Giants 21, Dec. 17, 1933 — Bears tally a late touchdown on trick play to win first NFL championship game.

Cowboys 16, Giants 13, OT, Jan. 2, 1993 — Emmitt Smith runs for 168 yards as Cowboys beat Giants to clinch NFC East.

Jets 27, Giants 21, Dec. 18, 1988 — With a playoff berth on the line, crosstown rival Jets rally to beat Giants in final minutes.

Browns 8, Giants 3, Dec. 17, 1950 — After beating Cleveland twice in regular season, Giants lose to Browns in playoff for conference title.

A short championship history of the Knicks

A rare photo – a New York Knick championship team, vintage 1970. One of the original two NBA franchises – along with the Boston Celtics – the Knicks have won just two titles in more than 60 years.

The New York Knickerbockers are a team long on history but short on success.

One of only two charter franchises in the NBA, the Knicks have won just two championships since the league’s inception in 1946. By comparison, the Boston Celtics, the NBA’s other flagship franchise, have won 17 NBA championships over that same period of time.

So Knick fans are cautiously optimistic that this year’s team is finally heading in the right direction after a decade of disaster that was the Isiah Thomas regime. Although improving, the Knicks aren’t a championship contender….not yet, at least.

The Knicks won their first NBA title in 1970 when Willis Reed limped onto the court to incent the crowd and his teammates, and Walt “Clyde” Frazier played one of the best Game Sevens ever to bury the Los Angeles Lakers. The Knicks beat the Lakers three years later, and haven’t won a championship since. That’s 37 years without a title if you’re counting. Knick fans are.

The Knickerbockers had some success in the early 50s, advancing to the NBA Finals three straight years beginning in 1951. Coach Joe Lapchick and stars like Harry “The Horse” Gallatin, Nat “Sweetwater Clifton and Dick McGuire led those Knicks. who nearly overcame a 3-0 deficit before losing to the Rochester Royals in a seven-game series in 1951.

The Knicks then lost two finals in a row to the Minneapolis Lakers, who later moved to Los Angeles. Though not an NBA original, the Lakers have won 16 championships themselves since joining the league in time for the 1948-49 season —  and winning their first title that same year.

The Knicks made two other championship runs in the 90s with Patrick Ewing at center. They lost to the Houston Rockets in a seven-game NBA Finals in 1994, and then fell to the ascending San Antonio Spurs in 1999, when Ewing was injured and missed the finals.

And that’s the short championship history of the New York Knicks.

Every Picture Tells A Story

Trolling around a sports memorabilia shop during the Christmas rush, I stumbled across this photo of Ted Williams, at bat at Fitton Field on the campus of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. Fenwick Hall, the school’s flagship building, can be seen in the distance.

The photo caption was entitled: The Dawning of a Legend. The date is April 14, 1939, and Williams is about to launch that classic swing. His first turn at bat resulted in a grand slam home run that scored three Hall of Famers– Jimmie Foxx, Joe Cronin and  Bobby Doerr — ahead of him. The Red Sox that day beat up on Holy Cross — my alma mater — 14-2.

Some historians claim this is the first picture ever taken of Ted Williams in a Boston Red Sox uniform.

Six days later, on April 20, Williams made his major league debut in the opener at Yankee Stadium. Ted batted sixth that day, played rightfield, and went 1-for-4 with a double against Yankees right-hander Red Ruffing. Ruffing pitched a seven-hit shutout and outdueled Lefty Grove, 2-0, to the delight of 30,278 in the Bronx.

And the rest, as they say, is history. As in a .406 season in 1941, two Triple Crowns, two MVPs, six American League batting titles, 521 home runs, a .344 lifetime average and 17 All Star game selections — despite missing nearly five full seasons due to military service.

No wonder they call him Teddy Ballgame.

Related Posts:

Recalling Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived

50 Years Ago: Maris, Mantle and Teddy Ballgame

30 Plus: Amar’e Tops Naulls, But Not Wilt’s 65

Amar’e Stoudemire broke the Knicks record for consecutive 30-point games….but he has miles to go to eclipse Wilt Chamberlain’s NBA record of 65.


Amar’e Stoudemire set a Knicks team record recently when he scored 30 points for the eighth game in a row, all of them New York victories.

Stoudemire broke the team record set by Willie Naulls in 1962, a record that has stood for nearly 50 years, surviving scoring splurges by Knick greats like Walt Frazier, Bernard King and Patrick Ewing

Naulls, nicknamed The Whale, ended his streak by scoring 31 points against the Philadelphia Warriors on March 2, 1962, in Hershey, Pa. That game is forever emblazoned in NBA lore — it’s the night Wilt Chamberlain scored a record 100 points against the Knicks.

Chamberlain holds the NBA record for most consecutive games scoring 30 or more points with 65 from November 4, 1961 to February 22, 1962. That’s the basketball equivalent of Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, or Johnny Unitas string of 47 games with at least one touchdown pass.

Wilt on The Record
Wilt also holds the NBA record for most consecutive games with 50 points (7), 40 points (14) and 20 points (126), all established or begun during the 1961-62 season.

That was quite a year for Chamberlain, who averaged 50.4 points per game — for the season. That’s another of Wilt’s many records that will never be broken.

Willie Naulls, was drafted by the St. Louis Hawks but traded to the Knicks for Slater Martin just 19 games into his rookie season. He averaged a career-high 25 points per game for the Knicks in 1961-62.

Early in the 1962-63 season he was traded to the San Francisco Warriors along with Kenny Sears for Tom Gola, and became teammates with Chamberlain.

Naulls wound up his career winning three straight NBA championships with the Boston Celtics before he retired in 1966.

There’s A Reason They Call It Fantasy Football


There’s a reason they call it fantasy football. You guessed it. It’s not real, it’s fantasy

Having said that, the Dutchess Dawgs, fresh off their third divisional title in four years, are enjoying a bye week in the Nightcap Fantasy Football League (NFFL) playoffs.

The Dawgs are the SportsLifer’s entry in the fantasy football. But my rooting interest in the real New York Football Giants takes precedence over any individual activities on the fields of fantasy.

That explains why the Giants defense/special teams and running back Ahmad Bradshaw play for the Dawgs. And why there are rarely any Cowboys, Eagles or Redskins on the Dawgs roster.

Limping into Playoffs
After jumping out to an 8-2 record, the Dawgs come limping into the playoffs in the throes of a three-game losing streak.

Three lead dogs on the team — quarterback Philip Rivers, running back Ray Rice and wide receiver Roddy White — have slumped in recent weeks, contributing mightily to the slide.

The Dawgs have received consistent production from wide receivers Marques Colston and Mike Wallace throughout the season

And after releasing Visanthe Shiancoe midway through the season, Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Pettigrew have alternated at tight end and provided points for the Dawgs

Earlier this week the Dutchess entry picked up kicker Josh Brown to replace the erratic Nick Folk.

Just remember, it ain’t real, it’s fantasy.

Dandy Don Meredith Was Almost a Super Star

Don Meredith, Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford brought the NFL into the American living room with ABC’s Monday Night Football.

Don Meredith was a Monday Night Football original — Howard Cosell’s foil, full of homespun humor with his game-ending signature call:  “Turn out the lights, the party’s over.”

But Dandy Don was also a proven quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys in the 60s, one who came agonizingly close to representing the National Football League in the first two Super Bowls.

If not for some simple twists of fate, the Cowboys — and not the Green Bay Packers — might have been remembered as the original Super Bowl winners. Think about it — instead of the Vince Lombardi Trophy Super Bowl winners might instead cherish the Tom Landry Trophy. And Don Meredith, not Bart Starr, could have been a Super Bowl MVP quarterback.

In 1967, the Packers and Cowboys squared off in two nail-biting NFL Championship games played almost exactly a year apart — January 1 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas and New Year’s Eve in the frigid cold of Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

The 1966 NFL title game went right down to the wire before the Packers defeated the Cowboys, 34-27. Trailing 34-20, Meredith hit Frank Clarke on a 68-yard touchdown pass with five minutes left to bring Dallas close.

The Cowboys then stopped Green Bay and drove as far as the Packers two-yard line late in the game before Meredith, under heavy pressure and looking for Bob Hayes, was intercepted in the end zone by Packer defensive back Tom Brown.

The Packers advanced to the very first Super Bowl, where they defeated the American Football League representative, the Kansas City Chiefs, 35-10.

The Ice Bowl
Some 364 days later, the Cowboys and Packers met once again for the NFL Championship ion the coldest New Year’s Eve in the history of Green Bay, Wisconsin. The official game-time temperature at the Ice Bowl in Green Bay was −13°F, with a wind chill around −48°F.

It was so cold that the officials were unable to use their whistles after the opening kick-off. As the referee blew his metal whistle to signal the start of play, it froze to his lips. For the rest of the game, the officials used voice commands and calls to end plays and officiate the game.

At one point during the game, announcer Frank Gifford, who years later would hook up with Meredith and Cosell in the ABC booth, said, “I’m going to take a bite of my coffee.”

That day the Packers jumped out to a 14-0 advantage, but the Cowboys rallied to take  a 17-14 lead on a 50-yard option pass from halfback Dan Reeves to Lance Rentzel on the first play of the fourth quarter.

With less than five minutes remaining, Green Bay embarked on a 68-yard drive that ended when Starr sneaked into the end zone from a yard out with just 16 seconds remaining for a 21-17 win the gave the Packers their third straight NFL championship.

Super Bowl II was all Green Bay as the Packers smothered the Oakland Raiders, 33-14. For the Cowboys, defeat was devastating.

Meredith, drafted out of Southern Methodist University by the Chicago Bears and then traded to expansionist Dallas Cowboys for future draft picks in 1960. A three-time Pro Bowler, Dandy Don finished with 135 touchdown passes in this career, and retired following the 1968 season, never having made it to the Super Bowl.

Memorable Moments of Gil McDougald

Gil McDougald of the Yankees slides back into first, too late to avoid double play, in  play that turned the 1955 World Series and gave Brooklyn its only World Series.

Gil McDougald, the Yankees utility infielder who passed away earlier this week, was a major player in four of the most memorable moments in baseball history. McDougald played key roles in three of the most famous World Series games ever played, and was involved in one of the game’s most horrifying injuries

A versatile infielder who spent his entire 10-year career with the Yankees, McDougald played second, shortstop and third base and was a member of eight pennant winners, five World Champions and five American League All-Star teams.

Now about those moments.

1. In Game Seven of the 1955 World Series at Yankee Stadium, Billy Martin led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a walk against Brooklyn’s Johnny Podres and McDougald followed with a bunt single. Yogi Berra then sliced a long drive into the left-field corner, but the Dodgers Sandy Amoros made a spectacular one-hand catch and fired to Gil Hodges to double up McDougald at first.

That was as close as the Yankees came to scoring. Despite three hits by McDougald, Podres pitched a 2-0 shutout, giving Brooklyn its only World Championship.

2. McDougald started at shortstop in Game Five of the 1956 World Series when New York’s Don Larsen matched up against Brooklyn’s Sal Maglie  at Yankee Stadium. In the second inning of that game, the Dodgers Jackie Robinson hit a liner that caromed off third baseman Andy Carey right to McDougald, who threw out Robinson by a step.

That play helped preserve what became Larsen’s perfect game, the only no-hitter in World Series history.

3. On May 7, 1957, in Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium, McDougald smacked a line drive that hit young Indians southpaw Herb Score in the right eye. The injury caused Score, the American League strikeout leader his first two years, to miss the rest of the 1957 season. Score eventually regained his vision and returned to the mound late in the 1958 season, but was never the same pitcher after the injury. Arm troubles led to the premature end of his promising career.

While addressing reporters following the contest, McDougald said, “If Herb loses the sight in his eye, I’m going to quit the game.” McDougald, who remembered long afterward being “sick to my stomach” when Score collapsed, remained in touch with him over the years.

4. McDougald played his last major league game on October 13, 1960, Game Seven of the World Series at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. He entered the game in the ninth inning as a pinch-runner for Dale Long, and scored on a ground ball by Yogi Berra to tie the game 9-9.

The Pirates won the game and the Series in the bottom of the ninth when Bill Mazeroski hit a leadoff, walkoff home run against New York’s Ralph Terry, one of the most legendary home runs ever.

McDougald decided to retire after the World Series when it appeared that the Yankees were going to leave him unprotected for the 1960 expansion draft.
He was the American League’s Rookie of the Year in 1951, playing third base and second base and hitting .306. McDougald connected for the first World Series grand slam by a rookie, a drive at the Polo Grounds off the New York Giants’ Larry Jansen that helped propel the Yankees to a Game 5 victory.

A timely hitter despite an unorthodox right-handed open stance he used early in his career, he twice hit better than .300 in a season and had a career batting average of .276 with 112 home runs.

The True Story of Wally Pipp

Wally Pipp is baseball’s answer to Rodney Dangerfield. And nearly 100 years past his prime, he’s still getting no respect.

The mention of Wally Pipp conjures visions of laziness and fake headaches and calling in sick.

As in, that guy “Pipped” out, he’s not coming to work. Or he’s pulling a “Wally”, translated loosely to mean he’s a coach potato, slacking off again. A sloth

Pipp is the guy that lost his job to Lou Gehrig, who just happens to the greatest first baseman in baseball history. But Pipp was hardly a slouch on the field. And he was rarely off the field, missing just a handful of games over the previous four seasons before Gehrig took his job in 1925.

In fact, Wally Pipp anchored Yankee pennant winners in 1921 and 1922, and the championship 1923 team, the Yanks first. And he was coming off a career year in 1924 when he hit .295 with nine home runs, 114 RBIs and an American League leading 19 triples.

At the close of play on June 2, 1925, the Yankees found themselves in seventh place in the eight-team American League, 13 1/2 games behind the first place Philadelphia Athletics.

Gehrig Takes Over
As the story goes, that day Pipp told Yankee manager Miller Huggins that he had a headache, and Huggins replaced him with Gehrig in the Yankee lineup. Lou Gehrig, who had pinch hit for Yankee shortstop Pee Wee Wanninger the previous day to start his famous consecutive games streak, didn’t sit down for nearly 15 years, 2,130 games later.

Pipp’s recollection of that day is somewhat hazy. Decades later, in a 1953 interview, he recounted that he did have a headache — because he had been beaned in batting practice.

“Charlie (Caldwell) (better known in later years as Princeton’s football coach) whistled one in and, somehow or other, I just couldn’t duck,” Pipp recalled. “The ball hit me right here on the temple. They carted me right off to the hospital. I was in that hospital for two solid weeks. By the time I returned to the Yankees, Gehrig was hitting the ball like crazy and Huggins would have been a complete dope to give me my job back.”

That’s not exactly how it went down. In fact, Pipp was a pinch-hitter the very next day, June 3, after his supposed beaning. Although Pipp never started another game at first base for the Yankees, Gehrig didn’t exactly tear the league apart in 1925, and Huggins had pinch hit for a few times because the Yankees’ manager was disappointed in Gehrig’s performance against left-handers.

Pipp’s Beaning
Pipp’s beaning took place exactly a month later — on July 2. According to various accounts he suffered a fractured skull or a concussion — certainly more than a headache. He played sparingly the rest of the season, and was shipped to Cincinnati at the end of the season.

The Yankees originally picked up Pipp on waivers from Detroit in 1915. For nearly 10 years Wall Pipp was a fixture in the Yankee lineup. When Pipp sprained an ankle in 1923, Gehrig, pictured at left, was called up for a few games. Columbia Lou hit .423 with a his first homer and nine RBIs in limited duty. In 1924 he hit .500 in 12 at bats and knocked in five runs. In 1925, Gehrig hit 20 homers, drove in 68 runs and batted .295, a harbinger of much bigger and better things to come.

Pipp had a solid career, and was one of the best first baseman of his era. He led the American League in home runs with 12 in 1916 and nine in 1917. He hit .281 for this career, with 90 HRs, 997 RBIs and 1941 hits.

Hardly a dead beat. Wally Pipp may have lost his job — but he lost it to the guy who ultimately became the greatest first baseman in baseball history.

There’s no shame in that.