Sunday, October 21, 2007

NFL SUNDAY JACKASSERY: THE HIT

Since the San Francisco 49ers are playing the New York Giants today, I felt the need to post my happiest memory of all of their matchups: a picture of THE HIT, Leonard Marshall knocking out Joe Montana in the 1990 NFC Championship game, won thanks to Matt Barr's 5 FGs, 15-13.

Leonard Marshall Joe Montana 'The Hit' - courtesy of Steiner Sports

This was #3 on this FOX Sports list of the Top 10 Most Devastating Hits, though it will always be #1 in my heart (with Stevens vs. Lindros being #2):

Leading 13-9 with 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter against the Giants, Montana rolled to his right, unaware that Marshall was closing in on his blind side. At the exact wrong moment, Montana stopped rolling right and sidestepped Lawrence Taylor by jumping backward, right into the path of the 6-3, 288-pound Marshall. The impact that flattened Montana was so violent his subsequent fumble ended up 14 yards down the field. The Niners somehow recovered that fumble, but with Montana knocked out of the game by the hit, they would fall to the G-Men, 15-13, after a late Roger Craig fumble gave New York new life.
In what ended up being his last play as a Niner, he suffered a bruised sternum, bruised stomach, cracked ribs, and a broken hand. But it was the look on Joe's face on the sidelines that was priceless, as he obviously didn't know where he was: "Has anybody seen my little brown doggy?"

That might have been the most satisfying championship of all: they made the playoff run with backup Jeff Hostetler, had to get through Ditka's Chicago Bears, the San Francisco 49ers (who were going for a 3rd Super Bowl title) and the Buffalo Bills' offensive juggernaut. I'm 100% certain that I won't ever feel the way I did about the Giants as I did that year.

(God, I hope they replay THE HIT today.)