Football History: Father Flynn and the Last NFL Championship at Yankee Stadium

1962_NFL ChampionshipFather Flynn and the Last NFL Championship at Yankee Stadium

By Victor Mastro

 

Before the Super Bowl, in my second year as a teen, 1962, I rooted for our Bronx Giants, the New York Giants. They studied football plays, practiced, rested, and ate at Fordham University, and so at Yankee Stadium and the Concourse Plaza. This folklore of football, stories, and tales passed from one elder to a younger; “What a game! The Sudden Death versus the Colts…, How they stopped Jim Brown…, Giants had white uniforms and sneakers, and were perfect in ’56, 47-7 over the Bears..

 

Steve Owen knew defense with his Umbrella Defense…, You should have seen those old AAFC Yankees; Young and Sanders, Boy! were they exciting…, the Army-Notre Dame wars, especially the biggest one in ’46…, Sid Luckman threw 7 TD passes for the Bears at the Polo Grounds, Lombardi played guard with Fordham’s Seven Blocks of Granite…, Strong and Danowski put on sneakers at the half and the Giants won their first NFL title…, The Four Horsemen…, “Outlined against a blue October sky…”

 

My three uncles and their friends were all diehard Giants’ fans. We would go to home games or gather around the television set for away games. Many of my Christmas gifts were football centric; helmets, books, equipment, etc. Christmas of 1958, I received a pro football, “The Duke.” My uncle’s friend, Hank, somehow picked up this ball from one of the last two home games at Yankee Stadium against the Cleveland Browns that season.

 

I wanted to believe it was Pat Summerall’s 50 yd. clutch kick in the snow and dark of Yankee Stadium, as the Giants beat the Browns, 13-10, to force the playoff game, the following week, Dec. 21, 1958. (Many football historians considered this kick one of the greatest kicks of all time in the NFL). What memories and tales cherished us from that ball… During the Thanksgiving Game of 1962, the Detroit Lions mauled the champion Packers. The Lions gave Lombardi’s Packers their only loss in 1962. My uncle John boasted, “We were going to get tickets for the championship game for Christmas.”

 

How? we wondered. John, “Meatballs,” devised a plan a few days later. He called the Giants and gathered some information. He told my friend, “Ace,” to buy Fordham University letterhead, and have “Ace’s” older brother and college professor, to write up a beautifully crafted letter. This masterpiece of a letter will request tickets for a Father Flynn, Religious Dept., Fordham University, and four of his students. A short time later, “Meatballs” called, “Father Flynn, Religion Dept., Fordham University. [To be continued…]

 

VICTOR MASTRO IS AN AUTHOR OF BRONX FOOTBALL HISTORY AND A LECTURES ABOUT THE HISTORY AT NUMEROUS PUBLIC LIBRARIES AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS.
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