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What if 'The Fumble' in 1978 never happened?

JohnF : 7/4/2024 11:55 am
Let's go back to November 19, 1978...

The Giants are leading the Eagles, 17-12, late in the fourth quarter. The Giants were 5-6, but a win over the Eagles would have put them in the playoff hunt at 6-6. The Giants were trying to run the clock out, but the play before the Eagles MLB Bill Bergey charged into OC Jim Clack, knocking him backwards into the QB, Joe Pisarcik.

OC Bob Gibson (who was not popular with the players), called a run with Larry Czonka (who told Pisarcik he didn't want the ball), in order to protect his QB. HC John McVay's headphones weren't working, so he couldn't over rule Gibson (something he stated he would have done). While Pisarcik was trying to get Czonka lined up, the OC snapped the ball, which Pisarcik didn't expect.

Result? Fumble! Herm Edwards (Eagles DB who was blitzing), ran the ball back for a TD, and the Eagles won 19-12. McVay loses his job (but becomes the GM of the 49'ers later, building their championship teams).

The chaos in the Front Office results in the NFL bringing in George Young as GM, with the Maras being out of football operations for a while. George Young helps build a playoff, then championship team in New York.

But what if Pisarcik didn't fumble? The Giants would have finished no worst than 7-9, instead of 6-10...they might have even had some momentum for the wildcard. No Phil Simms. No Lawrence Taylor. No Bill Parcells. Everything changes!

In 1978, Wellington Mara was fighting with Tim Mara. Andy Andy Robustelli, a great former player but in effect a figure head for Wellington Mara (who was likely running the front office) was in charge.

This was a disaster waiting to happen; even with a popular HC in McVay, the assistant coaches for the most part were despised. Would the Giants have continued to suck for another 10 years?
 
SFGFNCGiantsFan : 7/4/2024 12:20 pm : link
I fear we are the Northeastern version of the Lions historically. The Maras seem like good people, but their football acumen…🙄🙄🙄.
Great  
SirLoinOfBeef : 7/4/2024 12:24 pm : link
Scott!!!

It's actually worse than you described. The play call wasn't just  
Victor in CT : 7/4/2024 12:58 pm : link
A basic handoff. It called for the QB to spin around for a reverse handoff which is why it was late and hit Csonka on the hip.

The probably go 8-8 and everyone comes back in 1979.
Also you're wrong about Robustelli being a figure head.  
Victor in CT : 7/4/2024 1:00 pm : link
Read truebluelarry's "The Wilderness Years" for details.
More importantly  
k2tampa : 7/4/2024 1:09 pm : link
What if New Orleans wasn't the only team that had Rodgers ranked ahead of Taylor?
RE: It's actually worse than you described. The play call wasn't just  
The Mike : 7/4/2024 1:14 pm : link
In comment 16548328 Victor in CT said:
Quote:
A basic handoff. It called for the QB to spin around for a reverse handoff which is why it was late and hit Csonka on the hip.

The probably go 8-8 and everyone comes back in 1979.


Exactly! It was a counter trap. All he had to do was take a knee! The single dumbest play call in the history of sports...
RE: RE: It's actually worse than you described. The play call wasn't just  
JohnF : 7/4/2024 2:37 pm : link
In comment 16548338 The Mike said:
Quote:
In comment 16548328 Victor in CT said:


Quote:


A basic handoff. It called for the QB to spin around for a reverse handoff which is why it was late and hit Csonka on the hip.

The probably go 8-8 and everyone comes back in 1979.



Exactly! It was a counter trap. All he had to do was take a knee! The single dumbest play call in the history of sports...


Supposedly, the Offensive Coordinator threatened to cut Pisarcik if he didn't execute the play exactly as called. Gibson was no fan of Pisarcik. Gibson also thought taking a knee was cowardly,something a lot of football coaches thought at the time...but that all changed after "the fumble".

You didn't see the "Victory formation" until after that play.
RE: RE: RE: It's actually worse than you described. The play call wasn't just  
The Mike : 7/4/2024 2:51 pm : link
In comment 16548371 JohnF said:
Quote:
In comment 16548338 The Mike said:


Quote:


In comment 16548328 Victor in CT said:


Quote:


A basic handoff. It called for the QB to spin around for a reverse handoff which is why it was late and hit Csonka on the hip.

The probably go 8-8 and everyone comes back in 1979.



Exactly! It was a counter trap. All he had to do was take a knee! The single dumbest play call in the history of sports...



Supposedly, the Offensive Coordinator threatened to cut Pisarcik if he didn't execute the play exactly as called. Gibson was no fan of Pisarcik. Gibson also thought taking a knee was cowardly,something a lot of football coaches thought at the time...but that all changed after "the fumble".

You didn't see the "Victory formation" until after that play.


Fascinating! Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face!
I was there  
Arkbach : 7/4/2024 3:46 pm : link
and saw it down low in 138. The short answer is "yes." If PPJoe takes a knee McVay stays. Watching HK this week and John's body language with Schoen I'm sure daddy was the same and even more assertive so Giants would have been another Detroit-New Orleans in that era.

Oddly they beat the shit out of the Cardinals a few weeks later in the second coldest game I've been to.
I maintain that MitM '78 was the most important game  
BlackLight : 7/4/2024 4:24 pm : link
in team history. If that doesn't happen, the changes needed to start the team on the road to a championship never happen.
What if  
Giants : 7/4/2024 7:58 pm : link
If there was no sun or rain
I have always hated the Eagles....  
Fishmanjim57 : 7/4/2024 8:07 pm : link
That play made me hate that team more than any other team in professional sports.
RE: RE: It's actually worse than you described. The play call wasn't just  
gridirony : 7/4/2024 9:35 pm : link
In comment 16548338 The Mike said:
Quote:
In comment 16548328 Victor in CT said:


Quote:


A basic handoff. It called for the QB to spin around for a reverse handoff which is why it was late and hit Csonka on the hip.

The probably go 8-8 and everyone comes back in 1979.



Exactly! It was a counter trap. All he had to do was take a knee! The single dumbest play call in the history of sports...
Not even remotely close to the Seahawks calling THAT pass against the Patriots.
RE: RE: It's actually worse than you described. The play call wasn't just  
nochance : 7/4/2024 10:29 pm : link
In comment 16548338 The Mike said:
Quote:
In comment 16548328 Victor in CT said:


Quote:


A basic handoff. It called for the QB to spin around for a reverse handoff which is why it was late and hit Csonka on the hip.

The probably go 8-8 and everyone comes back in 1979.



Exactly! It was a counter trap. All he had to do was take a knee! The single dumbest play call in the history of sports...



Second dumbest.. Russell Wilson's interception at the end of the superbowl had to be the dumbest
RE: …  
Matt M. : 7/4/2024 10:40 pm : link
In comment 16548301 SFGFNCGiantsFan said:
Quote:
I fear we are the Northeastern version of the Lions historically. The Maras seem like good people, but their football acumen…🙄🙄🙄.
Huh? The Lions haven't won a championship since 1957. The Giants are 4-1 in the SB alone. Thjey hardly have similar hisotries.
RE: RE: RE: It's actually worse than you described. The play call wasn't just  
steve in ky : 7/4/2024 10:53 pm : link
In comment 16548371 JohnF said:
Quote:
In comment 16548338 The Mike said:


Quote:


In comment 16548328 Victor in CT said:


Quote:


A basic handoff. It called for the QB to spin around for a reverse handoff which is why it was late and hit Csonka on the hip.

The probably go 8-8 and everyone comes back in 1979.



Exactly! It was a counter trap. All he had to do was take a knee! The single dumbest play call in the history of sports...



Supposedly, the Offensive Coordinator threatened to cut Pisarcik if he didn't execute the play exactly as called. Gibson was no fan of Pisarcik. Gibson also thought taking a knee was cowardly,something a lot of football coaches thought at the time...but that all changed after "the fumble".

You didn't see the "Victory formation" until after that play.


It was less they thought it cowardly since back then there was no rule that a qb could give himself up with a knee and had to be downed be a defender coaches thought handing off to a rb, someone used to taking hits and more sure handed with the ball, was thought to be the “smart” play. The “fumble” exposed that as not necessarily the case and why teams started devising the “victory” formation where qb takes a knee but everyone tried best they could to protect him . That was still flawed because defenders still viewed it as a free shot on the qb and why the NFL eventually would change the rules to where the qb wouldn’t have to be downed in that situation
RE: RE: …  
SFGFNCGiantsFan : 7/5/2024 6:00 am : link
In comment 16548505 Matt M. said:
Quote:
In comment 16548301 SFGFNCGiantsFan said:


Quote:


I fear we are the Northeastern version of the Lions historically. The Maras seem like good people, but their football acumen…🙄🙄🙄.

Huh? The Lions haven't won a championship since 1957. The Giants are 4-1 in the SB alone. Thjey hardly have similar hisotries.


Matt, my reply was in response to the OP thread ?.
RE: I maintain that MitM '78 was the most important game  
Victor in CT : 7/5/2024 7:10 am : link
In comment 16548404 BlackLight said:
Quote:
in team history. If that doesn't happen, the changes needed to start the team on the road to a championship never happen.


what is MitM?
RE: RE: I maintain that MitM '78 was the most important game  
BUgiantfan : 7/5/2024 8:11 am : link
In comment 16548529 Victor in CT said:
Quote:
In comment 16548404 BlackLight said:


Quote:


in team history. If that doesn't happen, the changes needed to start the team on the road to a championship never happen.



what is MitM?


Miracle In The Meadowlands
RE: RE: RE: …  
Matt M. : 7/5/2024 8:35 am : link
In comment 16548527 SFGFNCGiantsFan said:
Quote:
In comment 16548505 Matt M. said:


Quote:


In comment 16548301 SFGFNCGiantsFan said:


Quote:


I fear we are the Northeastern version of the Lions historically. The Maras seem like good people, but their football acumen…🙄🙄🙄.

Huh? The Lions haven't won a championship since 1957. The Giants are 4-1 in the SB alone. Thjey hardly have similar hisotries.



Matt, my reply was in response to the OP thread ?.
Re-read it now. I originally read it last night thinking you were saying you feared that now. Makes perfect sense in context. Sorry, brain was fried last night.
RE: RE: RE: I maintain that MitM '78 was the most important game  
Victor in CT : 7/5/2024 9:03 am : link
In comment 16548536 BUgiantfan said:
Quote:
In comment 16548529 Victor in CT said:


Quote:


In comment 16548404 BlackLight said:


Quote:


in team history. If that doesn't happen, the changes needed to start the team on the road to a championship never happen.



what is MitM?



Miracle In The Meadowlands


that's what Eagles fans call it! LOL. We call it The Fumble.
This is pretty much one of the worst days of my childhood.  
blueblood : 7/5/2024 11:08 am : link
You know how they say " impact events" leave memory impressions..

12 years old.. sitting in the bedroom on the floor watching the game with my dad.

My Dad laying on the bed in a Tank Top Undershirt and Navy Blue Shorts.. with a can on Miller High Life..

And they hand the ball off to Csonka.. FUMBLE.. Herm Edwards picks it up and runs for a TD..

I look at my dad. Dad, why didnt they just fall on it..

My Dad.. I can remember his exact words...

" I just dont know son.. I just dont know.. "



The Fumble  
Paulie Walnuts : 7/7/2024 9:22 am : link
I was 16 we were camping that weekend and listening on the radio on the way home got home just in time to see the Fumble live in TV the TV credits were running! I wanted to throw up. My Dad said " same old dummy Giants "
RE: I was there  
DefenseWins : 7/7/2024 10:41 am : link
In comment 16548396 Arkbach said:
Quote:
and saw it down low in 138. The short answer is "yes." If PPJoe takes a knee McVay stays. Watching HK this week and John's body language with Schoen I'm sure daddy was the same and even more assertive so Giants would have been another Detroit-New Orleans in that era.

Oddly they beat the shit out of the Cardinals a few weeks later in the second coldest game I've been to.


I was there too. Seats were in sec 131, but we had already walked to the top of the section to catch the last seconds so we can exit quickly. I remember exactly where I was standing when that play happened.

This is the reality we have with the Mara family..
Great people... the best. They have a good heart with the best intentions.

Horrible when it comes to making football decisions. If the league did not force George Young into his position, we likely would never have drafted LT and we could be sitting here with zero Superbowl victories at this point.

Public pressure forced Schoen upon us (and possibly league pressure behind closed doors). Otherwise, Mara would have made another familiar, safe, or recommended choice from someone in his tight circle.
We didn't know it at the the time  
arniefez : 7/7/2024 12:18 pm : link
but that game was the catalyst for 5 Super Bowl appearances and 4 Lombardi trophies.

We know that game lead to George Young being hired and that Young hired both Ernie Accorsi and Jerry Reese. The 2007 trophy had some of the players Young drafted playing major roles, Strahan and Toomer.

When Accorsi retired after 2006 the George Young era ended. Trust me I know that Jerry Reese was named GM and what happened in 2007 and 2011 but those Super Bowl wins don't happen if Accorsi didn't trade for Eli and draft and sign the OL and pass rushers he did.

Three decisions ruined the Giants after Accorsi retired. Jerry Reese hired Marc Ross who was incompetent and instead of firing him promoted him. While the Tisch family was celebrating Super Bowls, John Mara set his brother up as de facto co-GM and Chris Mara created his own player personnel fiefdom and faction. When Jerry Reese was fired John Mara hired old school, ex employee friend of the family Dave Gettleman to replace him.

Joe Schoen is still trying to dig out of the over a decade player personnel and salary cap mess those three decisions have lead to. At this point I think the odds are against him succeeding. Chris Mara has been moved aside but in his place is a younger Mara family member making sure that the George Young structure remains a thing of the past.

I think Schoen has added a lot of draft picks that could be a foundation for a playoff contending team. But luck and circumstances have prevented him from having a chance to upgrade at QB. I think his legacy with the Giants is going to wind up being winning just enough games to keep his job but not be in position to upgrade at QB until the Giants will have another top 5-10 draft pick season. Then he'll be fired leaving the Giants much better than found them. With a workable salary cap and a lot of good young players. The next GM will get to pick a new QB and if he gets it right the Giants can become playoff competitive again. Even with their dysfunctional organizational structure.
RE: We didn't know it at the the time  
Sean : 7/7/2024 12:34 pm : link
In comment 16549315 arniefez said:
Quote:
but that game was the catalyst for 5 Super Bowl appearances and 4 Lombardi trophies.

We know that game lead to George Young being hired and that Young hired both Ernie Accorsi and Jerry Reese. The 2007 trophy had some of the players Young drafted playing major roles, Strahan and Toomer.

When Accorsi retired after 2006 the George Young era ended. Trust me I know that Jerry Reese was named GM and what happened in 2007 and 2011 but those Super Bowl wins don't happen if Accorsi didn't trade for Eli and draft and sign the OL and pass rushers he did.

Three decisions ruined the Giants after Accorsi retired. Jerry Reese hired Marc Ross who was incompetent and instead of firing him promoted him. While the Tisch family was celebrating Super Bowls, John Mara set his brother up as de facto co-GM and Chris Mara created his own player personnel fiefdom and faction. When Jerry Reese was fired John Mara hired old school, ex employee friend of the family Dave Gettleman to replace him.

Joe Schoen is still trying to dig out of the over a decade player personnel and salary cap mess those three decisions have lead to. At this point I think the odds are against him succeeding. Chris Mara has been moved aside but in his place is a younger Mara family member making sure that the George Young structure remains a thing of the past.

I think Schoen has added a lot of draft picks that could be a foundation for a playoff contending team. But luck and circumstances have prevented him from having a chance to upgrade at QB. I think his legacy with the Giants is going to wind up being winning just enough games to keep his job but not be in position to upgrade at QB until the Giants will have another top 5-10 draft pick season. Then he'll be fired leaving the Giants much better than found them. With a workable salary cap and a lot of good young players. The next GM will get to pick a new QB and if he gets it right the Giants can become playoff competitive again. Even with their dysfunctional organizational structure.

I go back and fourth on Schoen's job security here, do you really think Mara would only give him 4 years? Gettleman got 4 and he "retired".
Well Sean McVay  
section125 : 7/8/2024 6:17 am : link
probably wouldn't have a vendetta against the Giants....
I think that Joe Schoen's job security  
arniefez : 7/8/2024 8:34 am : link
is directly tied to whatever makes the Mara family look best. Obviously winning, being competitive for a playoff spot, is the best way for him to stay employed.

But I think if things go south in 2024 and the Giants are picking in the top 10 again the decision to fire the HC and the GM will depend on public opinion (fans, local and national media).

Which choice would make the Mara family look better? Staying the course for another year or firing another GM and HC?
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