It was the first NFL playoff game to go into sudden death overtime.
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It marked the beginning of the NFL's popularity surge, and eventual rise to the top of the United States sports market. Baltimore receiver Raymond Berry recorded 12 receptions for yards and a touchdown.
Both teams finished the season with a 9—3 record. For the Giants, it was their fifth consecutive winning season, a stretch that included an NFL Championship in In contrast, was only the second winning season in Colts' history since the team's founding in Baltimore started off the season winning their first six games before losing to New York, 24—21, in week 7 of the regular season.
However, Colts starting quarterback Johnny Unitas was injured at the time and did not play in the game. Tittle and his San Francisco 49ers. Trailing 27—7 at halftime, Baltimore stormed back with four unanswered touchdowns to win, 35—27, clinching the Western Conference championship.
New York started the season 2—2, then won seven of their last eight games, including a critical 19—17 win over the defending champion Detroit Lions on December 7. In that game, New York fell behind late when the offense lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. Later on, however, the Giants stopped Detroit punter Yale Lary on a fake punt attempt and drove for the go-ahead score. They then secured the win by blocking a Lions field goal attempt as time expired in the game.
In the final game of the regular season, the Giants defeated the Cleveland Browns with Pat Summerall 's game-winning yard field goal on the final play the longest field goal made in the entire season among all NFL kickers.
After clinching their conference title on November 30, the Colts rested key players in the final two games, road losses in California. The game got off to a rough start for both teams. Defensive back Jimmy Patton recovered the ball at the Colts One play later, Baltimore took the ball back when defensive end Gino Marchetti forced a recovered fumble from quarterback Don Heinrich.
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But all the Colts managed to do with their next drive was lose another turnover when a Unitas pass was picked off by Lindon Crow. After forcing a punt, Unitas completed a yard pass to Lenny Moore at the Giants' yard line. But Baltimore's drive was halted at the 19 and Steve Myhra 's field goal attempt was blocked by Huff. On the Giants next drive, Heinrich was replaced by Charley Conerly for the rest of the game.
New York then drove to the Colts' yard line, featuring a yard run by Frank Gifford. On third down, Conerly threw a pass to wide-open fullback Alex Webster , but he slipped before the ball arrived and it fell incomplete.
Pat Summerall then kicked a yard field goal to put New York on the board. In the second quarter, Baltimore defensive end Ray Krouse recovered a fumble from Gifford to set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Colts running back Alan Ameche. On their next drive, New York got a big scoring opportunity when they recovered a fumbled punt from Jackie Simpson on the Colts yard line. But a few plays later, Gifford fumbled again, and Baltimore lineman Don Joyce recovered on his own The Colts subsequently drove 86 yards in 15 plays, including a yard scramble by Unitas on 3rd and 7, to score on Unitas' yard touchdown pass to Raymond Berry , giving them a 14—3 halftime lead.
That fumble by Gifford and the fumble later were forced by defensive back Milt Davis of the Colts—despite playing with two broken bones in his right foot—and both led to touchdowns for the Colts. Then early in the third quarter, Baltimore reached the New York 1-yard line. But on third down, Ameche was stopped for no gain, and the Colts turned it over on downs after Ameche was tackled trying to go wide at the 5-yard line on a great play by linebacker Cliff Livingston , on a fourth down halfback option play.
It was a huge reversal of momentum.
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The Giants then went yards in just four plays, scoring on Mel Triplett 's 1-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 4, with a score of 14— The drive was highlighted by an unforgettable yard pass play from deep within the Giants own territory at the closed end of the stadium: Quarterback Charlie Conerly threw to Kyle Rote downfield left-to-right across the middle where Rote then broke an arm tackle at about mid-field; then Rote fumbled when hit from behind at the Colts 25, but Webster, who was trailing the play, picked up the ball and ran it all the way to the 1-yard line where he was knocked out of bounds.
The Giants took a 17—14 lead early in the fourth quarter with Conerly's yard completion to tight end Bob Schnelker setting up his yard touchdown pass to Gifford.
On both of Baltimore's next drives they moved the ball into scoring range, but came up empty both times. First they drove to the Giants yard line, only to have Bert Rechichar miss a yard field goal.
Then they got the ball back on the New York 42 following a fumble recovery by Joyce. But after driving to the yard line, Unitas was sacked twice in a row once by Andy Robustelli and once by Dick Modzelewski , moving the ball back 20 yards and pushing the Colts out of field goal range.
Faced with fourth down and inches on their own yard on their ensuing drive, New York decided to punt with a little over two minutes left in the game on the third down play before the punt, Marchetti was knocked out of the game with a broken ankle. He refused to leave for medical treatment and watched the rest of the game sitting up on a stretcher on the sidelines.
The Colts took over at their own yard line and Unitas engineered one of the most famous drives in football history—a 2-minute drill [ citation needed ] before anyone called it that.
After starting the drive with two incompletions, Unitas made a critical yard completion to Moore on third down. Following one more incompletion, he threw three consecutive passes to Berry, moving the ball 62 yards to the Giants yard line. This set up a yard tying field goal by Myhra with seven seconds left to send the game into sudden-death overtime —the first overtime game in NFL playoff history.
All of a sudden, the officials came over and said, 'Send the captain out.
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We're going to flip a coin to see who will receive. Bert Bell , the commissioner of the NFL, had just implemented the sudden-death overtime rule for this game.
The overtime rule stipulated that a coin toss would be held at midfield. The available player-captains of the respective teams would attend it and the visiting team would choose heads or tails. The winning side of the toss would choose whether to receive the ball or kick off. Unitas called for the Colts and lost the toss. With Marchetti injured and on the sidelines, head referee Ron Gibbs gave the instructions to Colt co-captain Unitas, and Giants' co-captains Rote and Bill Svoboda : 'The first team to score, field goal, safety, or touchdown, will win the game, and the game will be over.
Don Maynard received the opening kickoff for the Giants and muffed  the catch, but recovered it on the Giants yard line. Even in his autobiography You Can't Catch Sunshine , Maynard states that he was not only disappointed in the botched attempt, but also at the commentators for saying he fumbled the ball due to their lack of knowledge of football and its terminology by not knowing the difference between a fumble and muffing the ball.
After a three-and-out series , the Giants punted.
1958 NFL Championship Game
Ameche made several critical plays on the drive, catching an 8-yard pass on 3rd and 8 from the Colts 33, and later rushing 22 yards to the Giants yard line. Berry also made a big impact, catching two passes for 33 yards, including a yard reception on the New York 8. Following a 1-yard run by Ameche and a 6-yard catch by tight end Jim Mutscheller , Ameche scored on a third down 1-yard touchdown run with left to win the game, 23— During overtime, when the Colts were on the eight-yard line of the Giants, someone ran out onto the field of Yankee Stadium, causing the game to be delayed; rumors have stated that it was actually an NBC employee who was ordered to create a distraction because the national television feed had gone dead.
The difficulty was the result of an unplugged TV signal cable,  and the delay in the game bought NBC enough time to fix the problem before the next play. It was the last time the championship game had gone to overtime until Super Bowl LI , when the New England Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons , 34—28, just into the overtime period.
The NFL had five game officials in ; the line judge was added in and the side judge in Seventeen individuals including coaches and administration who were involved in this game are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. An estimated 45 million people watched the game on television in the United States. A year later, Texas billionaire Lamar Hunt formed the American Football League , which began play with eight teams in the season. The growth of the popularity of the sport, through franchise expansion, the eventual merger with the AFL , and popularity on television, is commonly credited to this game, making it a turning point in the history of football.
The drive by Baltimore at the end of regulation, with Unitas leading the team quickly down the field to set up the game-tying field goal, is often cited as the first instance of a " two-minute drill ", for which Unitas became famous. Baltimore head coach Weeb Ewbank led the Colts to a second straight championship game win over New York the next season.
The Giants head coach was Jim Lee Howell , and he was aided by two coordinators who went on to greatness themselves. The defensive coordinator was Tom Landry , who left the team in to take over the expansion Dallas Cowboys. He led them to two Super Bowl championships in the s, and was the runner-up in two NFL championship games , and three Super Bowls in his three decades as head coach.
The offensive coordinator was Vince Lombardi , who left the team following the game to take the head coaching position with the Green Bay Packers in January Lombardi led the Packers to five championships in the s, including the first two Super Bowls, and had the Super Bowl Trophy named after him after his death.
New York's fortunes would take a turn for the worse after this game. They made it to the NFL championship game four times over the next five seasons, but lost each one, including a loss to the Colts in They would not win their next playoff game until the postseason.
Writer Mark Bowden , at the urging of his editor Morgan Entrekin , set out to write a book about the game in , looking ahead to the 50th anniversary.
Bowden credited Sports Illustrated writer Tex Maule with the "best game ever" phrase which he chose for his book title.
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Eagles' coach Andy Reid helped him analyze the film footage he was able to secure. Bowden said that while many who played in the game whom he interviewed particularly Giants maybe quibbled with the "best" characterization, they, "to a man, remark[ed] on how radically the popularity of the game jumped after that season.
Halberstam's book The Fifties provided source information and context for The Best Game Ever , and Halberstam's sports books also were inspiring to Bowden.
ESPN presented this game to a national audience on December 13, This presentation is a two-hour documentary which includes restored footage with colorization as well as a living room approach which included players past and present and fans.
Expert Jeffrey Muttart was asked to reconstruct the controversial call on the field, and after research and utilization of today's technology, he denied the Giants' first down therefore, the call made by the officials was correct.
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. See also: NFL playoffs. Milwaukee Sentinel.
Associated Press. The New York Times. Retrieved December 13, Reading Eagle. December 29, Pittsburgh Press. Chicago Tribune. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 18,