Name of the play
The National Football League has staged 90 seasons of play since the league was founded as the American Professional Football Association in downtown Canton, Ohio on September 17, 1920. In that time, there have been an endless number of fantastic games, memorable moments, and incredible individual efforts produced by the more than 20,000 players who’ve competed in the league.
As someone who spends his day surrounded by football history, I sometimes lose touch with what the average fan remembers. I often say that the typical NFL fan knows names of some of the greatest players but probably couldn’t tell you a whole lot about them. It would be safe to say the names of Red Grange, Bronko Nagurski, and Sammy Baugh resonates with anyone following the NFL. But, I wouldn’t expect the average fan to be able to go into great length about those legends’ accomplishments.
In the same way, there are those signature moments that fans relate to when they hear about them even if specific details have a faded a bit. Mention “The Drive” and you instantly think of John Elway. “The Greatest Game Ever Played” and you think of the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants.
And, of course, talk about a moment frozen in time…how about this famous shot of Alan Ameche scoring on a one-yard TD run in OT to give Baltimore the title.
It’s interesting to me how famous plays or games instantly get nicknames. “Immaculate Reception” and who do you think of? Franco Harris, of course.
Last week I wrote a story about Hall of Fame tight end Dave Casper. If you give it a read, you’ll learn that football really doesn’t define his life. I found that particularly ironic because if you say his name to any football fan, they will respond by saying “Ghost to the Post” and “Holy Roller.”
You might say he helped define football.
I can’t really think of another player who is synonymous with TWO of the most famous plays in NFL history. Yet, in a period of less than a year in the late ‘70s, a pair of signature moments took place that centered on Casper.
On Christmas Eve 1977, Casper’s famous “Ghost to the Post” play helped lead the Raiders to a comeback playoff win over the Colts in Baltimore. Normally when plays become legend they usually involve some spectacular scoring play. Not the “Ghost to the Post,” it was a 42-yard reception to the 14-yard-line that was critical to setting up the game-tying field goal late in the game. Overshadowed by the play is the fact that Casper scored three touchdowns in the game, including the game-winner in double overtime.
Of course, you have to know that a play as famous as this can be found somewhere on Profootballhof.com. Read it>>>
Two weeks into the next season, Casper again played a part in one of the most unforgettable plays in league history. He recovered a controversial fumble and fell on it in the end zone to give the Raiders a stunning win over the San Diego Chargers. The play became known as “The Holy Roller” and also was the cause for a rule change implemented the following year.
Again, it goes without saying that a recap of the game can be found on our website. The Holy Roller>>>
If you have a few more minutes to spare, you can also relive it on YouTube.
And, if you really have some time on your hand enjoy this great NFL Films piece on "Ghost to Post" from Hulu.
Now, go ahead a feel free to post your thoughts on great moments in the NFL by commenting on this blog.
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