The “Miracle at the Meadowlands” happened nearly 45 years ago, but there are still wild stories coming out about the aftermath.
The Giants were hosting the Eagles on Nov. 19, 1978, leading 17-12 with 31 seconds left and needing only to kneel the ball to secure a win, when quarterback Joe Pisarcik botched a handoff to running back Larry Csonka, and it was scooped up and returned for a touchdown by Eagles cornerback and future Jets head coach Herm Edwards.
Beasley Reece, who played defensive back on the Giants from 1977-83, joined the “Crossing Broadcast” and explained his recollections from the day, which included a locker room brawl.
First, Reece explained that the play call from the coaching staff was a running play, and that Pisarcik, a novice quarterback, wanted to go along with it even after the veteran Csonka was adamant that they should have kneeled the ball.
Then, Reece revealed that there were fisticuffs amongst the team after the fumble.
“We went in the locker room and literally the defensive linemen started beating up members of the offense,” Reece said.
“Nobody knows this. I’m telling you, it was a fistfight. I think I was probably the only one that wasn’t fighting, because I was either scared or … Dude, there was some stuff that went on inside that locker room.
“The offensive coordinator got fired. I believe the head coach might’ve gotten fired at the end of the year. I’m just telling you it was an upheaval. When you say ‘Miracle at the Meadowlands’, there’s about 60 guys that I know that go, ‘Oh my God.’”
The Giants were 5-7 after the defeat and would finish the season 6-10.
Giants head coach John McVay did not have his contract renewed and director of football operations Andy Robustelli was also let go.
McVay, who was replaced by Ray Perkins, never coached in the NFL again.
The hosts asked Reece what would’ve happened if Lawrence Taylor had been on that team.
“Oh God,” Reece responded. “If L.T. was on that team, he’d have started beating up guys even before we got in the locker room!”