“Deep Freeze: A History of NFL Championship Games in New York,” hosted by Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, will air across multiple SiriusXM channels in advance of Super Bowl XLVIII
Frank Gifford, Paul Hornung, Jerry Kramer, Raymond Berry and others share their memories
NEW YORK – January 16, 2014 – SiriusXM will present a special radio documentary chronicling the history of NFL Championship games played in New York that will air during the lead up to Super Bowl XLVIII.
Deep Freeze: A History of NFL Championship Games in New York, hosted by SiriusXM’s Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, will debut Tuesday, January 21, and air on Mad Dog Sports Radio (channel 86), SiriusXM NFL Radio (channel 88) and SiriusXM Sports Zone (channel 92) multiple times.
Mad Dog Sports Radio (ch. 86): Jan. 21 (7:00 pm ET); Jan. 24 (6:00 pm ET); Jan. 25 (11:00 pm ET)
SiriusXM NFL Radio (ch. 88): Jan. 22 (10:00 pm ET); Jan. 26 (8:00 am, 5:00 pm, 8:00 pm & 11:00 pm ET)
SiriusXM Sports Zone (ch. 92): Jan. 21 (2:00 pm ET); Jan. 25 (9:00 am ET)
The three-hour special will focus in-depth on four of the most memorable championships in NFL history – played in 1934, 1956, 1958 and 1962 – and will feature interviews with some of the players who participated in them, including Hall of Fame Giants running back/receiver Frank Gifford, Hall of Fame Packers running back Paul Hornung, Hall of Fame Colts receiver Raymond Berry, and Packers great Jerry Kramer.
Additional featured interviews include New York Giants owner John Mara, whose father Wellington witnessed three of the games as a Giants owner/executive; Bob Wolff, who called the 1958 game for radio; former Giants and Colts executive Ernie Accorsi; journalist Ray Didinger; broadcaster Chet Coppock; and Pro Football Hall of Fame executive Joe Horrigan.
1934 NFL Championship Game – NY Giants 30, Chicago Bears 13
In the NFL’s second championship game, played on the frozen turf at the Polo Grounds, the Giants trailed the Bears 13-3 when they traded their spikes for basketball sneakers procured from nearby Manhattan College. With the improved footing the Giants scored 27 points in the fourth quarter to win what was henceforth known as the “Sneakers Game.”
Journalist Ray Didinger: “As soon as George Halas, the coach of the Bears, saw what was going on, Halas immediately began protesting saying they can’t do that, they can’t change their shoes. And the officials said there really is no rule to prevent them from changing their shoes. … So you had all the Bears players out there in these cleats that are now filed down to almost like ice picks on the bottoms of their shoes and the accounts of the game say that when George Halas realized that the officials were going to let the Giants play in sneakers, Halas told the Bears go out and step on their toes.”
1956 NFL Championship Game – NY Giants 47, Chicago Bears 7
Played at Yankee Stadium on an icy field, the Giants once again donned sneakers to gain an edge over the Bears. The game featured a number of players who would later enter the Hall of Fame – including Gifford, Roosevelt Brown and Sam Huff – and two assistant coaches who would go on to be NFL coaching legends – Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry.
Giants halfback Frank Gifford: “I remember what it was to play for Vince Lombardi. He changed my whole life. First thing he said to me was, ‘You’re my halfback.’ I’d been playing defense and was punting and doing everything and it gave me a chance to focus. … Both of them (Lombardi and Landry) were very special in understanding each individual they coached. They were extraordinary.”
1958 NFL Championship Game – Baltimore Colts 23, NY Giants 17
Widely known as “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” the game was televised nationally on NBC and is credited for sparking a rise in popularity that saw the NFL become the most popular sport in America. The first NFL playoff game to go into sudden death overtime was decided on Alan Ameche’s one-yard scoring run. Seventeen people involved in this game (players, coaches and execs) would later be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Colts receiver Raymond Berry: “I swear I don’t think anybody covering the game on television, coaching staff, players anywhere in the stadium knew what an overtime was. … [Official] Ron Gibbs knew it and knew what to do and here it was. So the football world, including all the players and coaches, found out what overtime was.”
Berry: “When we went onto the field for that [last] drive there wasn’t any doubt in our minds that we were going to drive that football 70-80 yards, whatever it was, into the end zone….[Johnny Unitas] starts mixing the run and the pass and that pretty well described our offense. We were a perfectly balanced offense thanks to Weeb Ewbank, our head coach. …The key to this game was Weeb Ewbank and his simplicity. He didn’t give his players too many weapons but we knew how to shoot ‘em.”
1962 NFL Championship Game – Green Bay Packers 16, NY Giants 7
At Yankee Stadium, with the thermostat in the single digits and blustery winds affecting the flight of the ball, the Packers, one of the great squads of NFL history, beat the Giants with outstanding play by fullback Jim Taylor, linebacker Ray Nitschke and guard Jerry Kramer, who kicked three field goals.
Packers great Jerry Kramer: “The wind must’ve been 30-35 miles an hour. I don’t exactly know what it was but I do know that on that last field goal attempt that I made, I aimed about 10 yards outside the right goal post and the wind brought the kick in perfectly and went through the uprights. But I had to aim way outside the uprights.”