January 20, 2021

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Giants lose to playoff-bound Bears in 1977 Slush…

3 min read
Giants lose to playoff-bound Bears in 1977 Slush...


If your were unfortunate enough to be a New York Giants fan in the 1970s, you likely don’t remember many games as all of the losing kind of bleeds together into one sloppy mess.

One game you might recall was the season finale in 1977 at Giants Stadium. The 8-5 Chicago Bears, led by head coach Jack Pardee, came into East Rutherford on a five-game winning streak to face the completely lost 5-8 Giants, who were operating under the guidance of John McVay.

The Bears and Giants have always been painted as great rivals, but the fact was they hadn’t met since 1974, had faced each other just twice since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger and had only met a total of 13 times and three of those were in the postseason.

This game was a must-win for the Bears, who were seeking a wild card berth. They, like the Giants, had not been to the playoffs since 1963.

It was a cold, wet, slushy day in East Rutherford and the stadium was half-filled as the Giants were about to log in another losing season, their fifth of what would become eight consecutive losing seasons. Christmas was just a week away and the Giants were about to ruin another holiday season for their fans.

The weather put the Giants on equal footing with the Bears. Chicago was riding a record-setting season by running back Walter Payton, who ended up leading the NFL in rushing with 1,852 yards, 275 of those coming a month before in a game against Minnesota, setting a single-game NFL record.

The Giants’ offense was led by quarterback Joe Pisarcik and a plodding running game. Moving the football was impossible in this weather. The first quarter yielded a field goal for each team followed by two scoreless quarters.

In the fourth quarter, the Giants took a 6-3 lead on a 19-yard Joe Danelo field goal. Chicago answered with a touchdown on a Robin Earl four-year run. Danelo then hit a 27-yarder to send the game into overtime. Bears kicker Bob Thomas, who had missed earlier sealed the win on a 28-yard FG with 12 seconds remaining in overtime to send the Bears to the playoffs with a 12-9 win.

The game was an unusual one in that Payton gained just 47 yards on 15 carries. The Giants were led by their own future Hall of Fame running back, Larry Csonka, going 100 yards on the button, his only 100-yard game in his three seasons with the Giants. Doug Kotar rushed for 95 yards on 14 carries.

Pardee would leave the Bears to coach the Redskins after Chicago’s 37-7 playoff loss to Dallas. McVay would not last past the 1978 season, a direct result of the “fumble” game and another embarrassing finish. In 1979, new general manager George Young came in, restructured the organization, hired Ray Perkins as head coach and Bill Parcells as the defensive coordinator.

Friday Flashback: Giants lose to playoff-bound Bears in 1977 Slush Bowl



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