1958 NFL championship game: Men who made the moment
Dec 14, 2008 | 3:00 AM
Ernie Accorsi watched the 1958 NFL championship game between the New York Giants and Baltimore Colts as a 17-year-old Colts fan. He went on to become general manager of both teams that played in the historic contest. He has probably watched the game 40 times since and picks up something new with each viewing. Here are his thoughts on 10 of the great players from the game:
John Unitas -- "No disrespect to Charlie Conerly, but if Unitas had taken off his jersey and switched sides, the game would have gone the other way. Every other advantage for either team was canceled out somehow. The difference in the game was the difference between the quarterbacks."
Raymond Berry -- "People talk about his speed, but he probably would have run about a 4.65 [40 yards in 4.65 seconds], and plenty of guys get by with that now. He would be the same player today that he was then. He would run every route with precision, he would get open and he would catch everything."
Lenny Moore -- "It's hard to say that a guy is underrated when he's in the Hall of Fame. But Lenny had everything -- size, speed, great hands. Jim Brown was the greatest runner I've seen, but he played as more of a fullback. Lenny and Gale Sayers were the greatest halfbacks I've ever seen."
Jim Parker -- "You could scout him from the still photos. There he was on the end, blocking out the sun, with the poor defensive end desperately reaching around him to find a little bit of space. In those days, they didn't always put great athletes on the offensive line, but he was big, strong and mobile."
Gino Marchetti -- "He just had unbelievable quickness, and when he got near the quarterback, he was like a 747 banking toward landing. The great ones just have an instinct for closing like that. For years, when you talked about the all-time teams, you could stir up debate at most positions, but no one ever questioned that Gino was the best defensive end. There was no debate."
Gene "Big Daddy" Lipscomb -- "It bothers me to this day that he's not in the Hall of Fame. Of anybody from that era who's not in, he deserves it the most. The really great ones cause you to game-plan for them. Well, I guarantee you that coaches game-planned around Big Daddy." Art Donovan -- "In talking to guys from that era, they always said nobody got better penetration in the middle than Artie. He was very quick."
Frank Gifford -- "Frank didn't have great speed. He'd probably be about a 4.6 guy. But speed isn't the only thing you need to be a great back. He had great vision and an instinct for finding holes and wiggling through them."
Sam Huff -- "Tom Landry's 4-3 [defense] funneled plays to the middle linebacker, and Huff was a great one. It was an era of great linebackers, and of course, he played in New York, so people said that's why he got the most attention. But he was a great player."
Roosevelt Brown -- "Gifford told me that when they used to the run the sweep, he'd have to tell Rosey to slow down because he was running too far ahead of him. ... Jim Parker and Rosey Brown are the greatest left tackles I've ever seen."