Looking Back at the Miracle in the Meadowlands

December 16, 2017 2:34 pm0 commentsViews: 15
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What became of the characters in that fateful tragi-comedy?

Every Philadelphia Eagles fan can tell you about the “Miracle in the Meadowlands,” which happened in a game between the Eagles and their archrival New York Giants on November 19, 1978. Even fans who were not yet born have heard all about it and seen highlight films of the game.

In a nutshell, the Giants were leading by 17-12 and had the ball on their own 26 yard line with just 30 seconds left. All the Giants’ quarterback Joe Pisarcik had to do was take one last snap and kneel in order to seal a certain victory, since the Eagles were out of timeouts.

Instead, Pisarcik was ordered by his offensive coordinator to hand the ball off to running back Larry Csonka. The handoff went awry and the ball came loose. Eagles cornerback Herm Edwards scooped it up and ran it in for the winning touchdown before a stunned and silent crowd at Giants Stadium.

Herein, a look at some of the major characters in this immortal NFL tragi-comedy and where life led them since that day.

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Bob Gibson was the Giants’ OC who made the fateful play call. He was fired the next morning. Despite a decades-long resume as a football coach, he never worked another day in organized football at any level. Desperate, he moved his family to Florida and opened a bait shop. Until the day he died in 2015 at the age of 88, he refused to speak about the incident.


Joe Pisarcik had wanted to change the play call but did not dare since he had a tense relationship with Gibson, who had threatened to cut him. In 1980, after being released by NY, Pisarcik actually went on to play for the Eagles until he retired from the NFL in 1984. Now living in Mount Laurel, NJ, the 52 year old Pisarcik is CEO of the NFL Alumni Association in Newark.


Larry Csonka, who had played on the “perfect season” Miami Dolphins team of 1972, had warned Pisarcik not to hand him the ball, saying he would not take it. It is not known whether this contributed to the botched handoff. Csonka had never liked the artificial turf at Giants Stadium and returned to the Dolphins the following season, where he ran for 800 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was inducted into the Hall of fame in 1987. Now 70 and living in Alaska, he hosts a hunting and fishing show called “North to Alaska.”


Herm Edwards played nine seasons with the Eagles and played in Super Bowl XV. He never missed a regular season game, playing in 135 of them before being cut by Buddy Ryan in 1986. He went on to serve as head coach of the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs before moving on to a successful career as a TV commentator. In December 2017 he was named head coach at Arizona State University. ■