NFL Championship - "The Greatest Game Ever Played"
A significant factor in pro football’s emergence as America’s national pastime was the NFL’s dramatic and nationally-televised championship game on December 28, 1958. The contest, which featured 12 future Hall of Fame players between the Colts and Giants at Yankee Stadium, was exciting throughout. After Baltimore’s Johnny Unitas threw a 15-yard touchdown, the Colts held a 14-3 halftime advantage. But when the Giants’ Charlie Conerly and Frank Gifford connected on a 15-yard touchdown pass in the fourth, New York led, 17-14. In the final minutes, Unitas orchestrated a drive that began at the Colts’ 14 and ended at the New York 13, where, with seven seconds left, Baltimore’s Steve Myhra kicked a field goal to force overtime. Never before had an NFL Championship been determined in sudden death OT. After a Giants’ punt, Unitas led the Colts on a 13-play, 80-yard drive that concluded with a touchdown run by Alan Ameche as Baltimore won, 23-17. The showdown, largely due to its impact on professional football’s popularity in the years that followed, became known as “The Greatest Game Ever Played.”