Football History: The Greatest Game Ever Played

THE GREATEST GAME EVER PLAYED (December 28, 1958)
By Victor Mastro

The Greatest Game Ever Played was the 1958 National Football League Championship between the Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants at Yankee Stadium. The Colts won, 23-17. And it was the first sudden death overtime game that went in the record books as one that counted.

 

coltsgiants8a-1-web“DEE-fense!, DEE-fense!” is the Bronx cheer,
Katcavage, Little Mo, Robustelli, and Grier.
Johnny Unitas, fresh, young and smart,
Pitches to Berry and Moore from the start.
Through the packed stadium’s azure sky,
The fearless Colt lets that ball fly.
Trapping and baiting — Baltimore fun!
He has our brave Giants on the run.
Mix guile with magic.
All can see
The score at the half — 14 to 3.
“DEE-fense!, DEE-fense!” is the Bronx cheer,
Katcavage, Little Mo, Robustelli, and Grier.

 

coltsgiants8a-1AThe Horse is reined in short on its call.
Heroic Giants defend that wall!
Remarkable comeback!
We’re up by three!
The clock’s running out.
A victory?
Gifford carries.
Just scant inches more?
Gino and Daddy slam shut the door!
Johnny Colt’s turn with the ball.
Eternities later, Steve Myhra ties all.
“DEE-fense!, DEE-fense!” is the Bronx cheer,
Katcavage, Little Mo, Robustelli, and Grier.
Giants’ death knoll ready to chime.
“Seventeen-Seventeen!,” A first Overtime!

 

Giants dark blue, Colts in pure white.

The first to score will win this night.

Our New York pros have plenty of heart
But brash Johnny U. picks them apart.
Blue-clad Giants, tired — tired and old.
Dusk descends; the last bell has tolled.
“DEE-fense!, DEE-fense!” is the Bronx cheer
Katcavage, Little Mo, Robustelli, and Grier.

Baltimore Colts 1958Unitas gold arm and Berry’s soft hands.

Fatality stills the sad New York fans.

Irresistably moving down the field,

The Colts force our Big Blue Dee to yield

Down to the one-yard-line. Alas!

A field goal? Or one more Johnny U pass?

The Horse bolts over. That’s our fate

On this day of glory in fifty-eight.

 

Katcavage, Little Mo, Robustelli, and Grier.

“DEE-fense!, DEE-fense!” was the Bronx cheer.

 

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