As the final seconds ticked away in the Giants' upset of the Packers on Sunday, Trey Junkin knew he was in for it.
With the Giants set to visit the 49ers in Sunday's NFC title game, the former long-snapper finds himself forced onto the starting blocks for another hell ride down memory lane, revisiting his Bill Buckner-like role in New York's epic 39-38 loss to San Francisco in their January 2003 wild-card affair.
"For 19 years, I tried to be invisible in my profession," Junkin told the New York Daily News this week. "Once I put my hands on that ball that day, that (expletive) snap was my fault. I think about it every day. ...
"It still jolts me from sleep."
Junkin was 41 and out of football, passing the days duck hunting in Louisiana, when then-Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi called him the week before the game to replace injured Dan O'Leary as the team's fourth long-snapper of the season.
The off-the-street journeyman -- with just five botched snaps in 19 seasons -- saw it as a chance to "go win a Super Bowl," and the Giants were off to a promising start in their wild-card game with a 38-14 lead and 20 minutes to play. Then 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia went otherworldly, New York's defense collapsed, and onlookers watched in disbelief as one final chance to secure the win ended with Junkin's fateful, ill-placed snap.
It didn't end there. Giants holder Matt Allen snatched up the ball, darted right and launched it downfield to guard Rich Seubert, who was open but pulled down by 49ers defensive end Chike Okeafor, in what appeared to many to be blatant pass interference. Instead, Seubert was flagged for being an ineligible receiver downfield, which he wasn't.
The official's decision served as the final, beguiling off-note in a season that fell flat for the Giants -- and Junkin.
Following the loss, Junkin -- who turns 51 on Sunday -- met his wife, Sarah, for a three-day-long drinking session in New Orleans.
"I only remember one night," said Junkin, who claims his attempts to enter the NFL coaching ranks have been swatted away time and again.
"I don't know whose Corn Flakes I pissed in," he said. "But I think that one snap had a lot to do with it."