Minnesota Vikings protective end Jim Marshall bends end in despair after realizing the he take it a 49ers fumble and also ran a 60-yard wrong way return right into his own end zone in the fourth quarter in mountain Francisco on October 25, 1964. The 49ers scored a two-point safety and security on the play. "It'll be a hard thing to live down," stated Marshall at the time. The Vikings winner the game, 27-22. (AP Photo)
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Minnesota Vikings protective end Jim Marshall scoops increase a 49ers fumble and starts ~ above a 60-yard wrong method run right into his own finish zone in the fourth quarter in san Francisco top top October 25, 1964. The 49ers scored a two-point safety and security on the play. "It'll it is in a tough thing come live down," claimed Marshall in ~ the time. The Vikings winner the game, 27-22. (AP Photo)
Minnesota Vikings protective end Jim Marshall turns to listen to pan screaming at him after scooping up a 49ers fumble and embarking ~ above a 60-yard wrong way run into his own finish zone in the 4th quarter in mountain Francisco ~ above October 25, 1964. The 49ers scored a two-point safety and security on the play. "It'll be a difficult thing to live down," stated Marshall at the time. The Vikings winner the game, 27-22. (AP Photo)
Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jim Marshall bends end in despair after realizing that he took a 49ers fumble and ran a 60-yard wrong means return into his own finish zone in the 4th quarter in mountain Francisco ~ above October 25, 1964. The 49ers score a two-point safety and security on the play. "It'll it is in a difficult thing come live down," claimed Marshall in ~ the time. The Vikings winner the game, 27-22. (AP Photo)
For more than 4 decades, Jim Marshall and also Billy Kilmer never ever talked about what happened Oct. 25, 1964, at mountain Francisco’s Kezar Stadium. The included nearly 15 more years the the two encountering each other in the NFL. Then at a charity golf outing a few years back in Michigan, the 2 longtime stars found themselves sitting beside each other. Kilmer figured it to be as good a time as any kind of to bring it up.
“There were people in front of us waiting for autographs, and I told castle while turning to Jim, ‘You know, we were part of a very famous event in pro football,’ ” Kilmer said. That occasion turns 50 year old next Saturday. It has been named by NFL films as the No. 1 folly in the background of the league.
With the Vikings playing at san Francisco, Kilmer, a running earlier in his early years v the 49ers before later coming to be a agree Bowl quarterback, take it a happen from George Mira in the 4th quarter. He to be hit and also lost the sphere while fighting for extra yardage. Suddenly, Marshall, a legend Minnesota defensive end, ran in and scooped up the fumble. Marshall had acquired turned around, and also started to run the dorn way. Marshall didn’t protect against until he had raced 66 yards right into the wrong end zone. He then tossed the sphere off the field, scoring a security for the 49ers. A dejected Marshall quickly realized what he had actually done. The first player to reach him was mountain Francisco handle Bruce Bosley, that patted that on the back. Happily for the Vikings, they go not lose the game. The safety reduced their bring about 27-19, but they held on to win 27-22.
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A half-century later, some understand Marshall much more for the blunder 보다 for lasting 20 NFL seasons while play in 282 directly games. Room of fame protective end Carl Eller, one more member the Minnesota’s famous “Purple people Eaters” line of the 1960s and ’70s, marvels if the play has played a role in maintaining Marshall from joining the in Canton, Ohio. “It was hard when that happened,” remembers Marshall, 76. “I take it my soccer career an extremely seriously and also to make a mistake, the course, it’s something the you don’t desire on your resume. Yet mistakes happen. “Norm van Brocklin (then Minnesota’s coach) was known to be challenging on mistakes, yet that didn’t cause us to shed the game. And he simply said, ‘Hey, Jim, just forget around it.’ and also that’s what ns remember and that’s what I’ve been trying come do.” Marshall, who resides in St. Luigi Park and also never misses a Vikings game on television, is wake up to talk about the play. He’s willing to speak in generalities but didn’t desire to get in specifics, saying it’s over there for all to view on film. Indeed, that is. Once NFL Films started publicizing follies in the late 1960s, it came to be a staple. “As much as I’m concerned, it’s the all-time (folly),” stated Fred Cox, climate the Vikings’ kicker. “Who could conceive of a guy picking increase the ball and running the not correct way?” the actually had happened in the 1929 rose Bowl, when California’s Roy Riegels got hold of a fumble in the second quarter and ran 69 yards in the dorn direction against Georgia Tech prior to his teammates quit him at your 1. The Yellow Jackets soon got a safety and security for a 2-0 lead and won 8-7. Riegels was called “Wrong Way” until he died in 1993. ~ Marshall’s blunder, he sent out a keep in mind to the defensive end, i m sorry read, “Welcome to the club.” Marshall’s pat happened during what initially showed up to it is in a program midseason game on a misty, 54-degree Sunday afternoon. Minnesota come in at 3-3 and also San Francisco at 2-4 to Kezar Stadium, where the 49ers play until moving to candlestick Park in 1971. Marshall looked as if he was going to be among the heroes the the game after fight Mira at an early stage in the fourth quarter and forced a fumble. Eller picked it up and ran 45 yards because that a touchdown and a 27-17 lead. The 49ers climate tried come rally. From his own 9, Mira threw a happen to the 27 to Kilmer, that eluded protective backs karl Kassulke and also George rose for a couple of yards prior to being hit by Kassulke and linebacker Rip Hawkins if plowing to the 31. “I thought I to be down,” Kilmer said. “My forward movement was stopped and also I believed they to be going to blow the whistle and then karl Kassulke come up and also knocked the sphere out of my hands.” The ball rolled forward to the 49ers’ 34. Marshall, who had actually been rolling the play, scooped the up and didn’t break stride together he headed towards the wrong end zone. “He wasn’t too far from me, and also I’m standing there at an initial thinking, ‘I think he’s walking to have actually a much longer touchdown 보다 mine,’ ” Eller said. “Then, all of a sudden, i realized the he was running the wrong way, yet by that time that was too late for me to carry out anything.” It additionally took linebacker Roy Winston an instant before he establish what to be happening. “After he picked up the ball, the was probably 20 yards indigenous me,” Winston said. “I started going the other method trying to find somebody come block and also then ns looked back and I witnessed he was to run the various other way. That was just baffling come me.” The 248-pound Marshall was known for his speed. So that wasn’t surprising the nobody come close to catching him. “He was obtaining on our males trying to chase him,” claimed offensive tackle Grady Alderman. “It to be the nuttiest point I’d ever seen.” Alderman was among many Minnesota players that ran under the sideline, begging because that Marshall to rotate around. “I was choose everybody else on the sideline,” said backup quarterback Ron Vander Kelen. “We were yelling, ‘You’re walk the wrong street! You’re going the wrong way!’ ” san Francisco announcer Bob Fouts was in the television booth in addition to his son, future room of reputation quarterback Dan Fouts, who was then 13 and doing stats. The play-by-play man had a tough time originally finding words. “I was stunned and I was speechless in ~ first,” said Bob Fouts. “Then I came to, and I yelled, ‘He’s going the not correct way.’ I simply kept repeating the on the air.” once Marshall got to his own finish zone, the threw the ball in celebration onto a monitor that surrounding the field. That was the only great thing around the play for the Vikings since it resulted in simply two points for the 49ers, quite than six. “The huge thing i remember is ns hoped the dropped the in the finish zone due to the fact that Bruce Bosley to be chasing him all the way,” Kilmer said. “I said, ‘If that drops it in the end zone, we acquire a touchdown.’ Instead, he to be so happy the he threw the ball.” Marshall wasn’t too happy after that turned around and also Bosley to be there congratulating him. The first Minnesota player to reach him to be quarterback Fran Tarkenton, who shown to Marshall the he indeed had just scored a safety. “Twitter would have actually blown up if they had actually it then,” Eller said. Minnesota players consoled Marshall. The feisty van Brocklin said him come wipe it out of his mind because the Vikings had actually to walk right ago out top top defense ~ the free kick. Eller recalls the for the remainder of the video game there was a “buzzing in the stadium that never resolved down.” Fred Zamberletti, then the Vikings’ trainer and also now the team’s historian, said it came from world talking and laughing about the bewildering occasion they had actually just seen. “It was choose nothing I’ve ever before heard prior to in a stadium,” Zamberletti said. “It was like hearing a bunch the bees.” ~ the safety, san Francisco’s Tommy Davis kicked a 47-yard field goal to reduced the deficit come 27-22. However the Vikings to be able to organize on, lot to the relief of Marshall. “There are a lot more pleasant memories around playing in the NFL than that details play,” said Marshall, that played because that Cleveland in 1960 and also with the Vikings from 1961-79, never missing a game in his career. “There space a lot of mistakes made in games. That one just happened come be an ext visible than few of the others. Yet the surname of the game is to win, and also we did.” For that reason, Minnesota players at some point were able to joke v Marshall about his blunder. When they returned to exercise after flying home from mountain Francisco, it to be the huge topic. “Everybody was on him,” stated Winston, who cracked that, because of Marshall’s play, no one remembers he had actually three interceptions that day versus the 49ers. “The push was top top him. People were calling him ‘Wrong means Marshall’ and things like that.” Marshall was stated to have actually taken the well. “Everybody was giving him the raspberries,” Cox said. “Jim, the didn’t stroked nerves him. He to be laughing right in addition to us. After that, the really supplied it as promotional point for himself.” Marshall also agreed to walk on “I’ve got a Secret,” because that an illustration that ran Nov. 9, 1964, top top CBS. Top top the tv show, held by Steve Allen, panelists tried come guess a contestant’s secret, as if it to be anything Marshall can hide. Panelist Henry Morgan, a comedian who obviously recognized Marshall, inquiry if what that did appeared in the papers, and he said it did. Then Morgan inquiry the protective end if it to be “listed under disaster.” Marshall laughed and also said, “Possibly.” “I more than likely talked about it every day for 2 or three years after the happened,” Marshall said. Together the year went on, there to be fewer questions around the play. But when that did come up, Marshall had actually grown weary of discussing it, speak his preference has actually been to forget around it. “It’s ironic,” Eller said. “It’s one of the many memorable plays, yet I think it detracts native Jim and from his career. And also I think he’s still sensitive about it. I’m very respectful of the for him. I think it’s unfortunate that it taken place to Jim because he was such an excellent player.” Eller, who proceeds to live in the pair Cities, never ever mentions the play when he sees Marshall. But that didn’t protect against Kilmer from bringing it up a few years ago to Marshall. Kilmer walk on to play quarterback for brand-new Orleans and also Washington v 1978, top the Redskins come the Super key after the 1972 season. His teams faced Marshall’s Vikings nine an ext times, including two playoff games, but they never ever once talked about the famous play. Then Kilmer was seated next to Marshall in ~ a Gridiron Greats event a few years ago in Michigan. “We speak a little bit around (the play), however he really didn’t want to speak a lot around it,” claimed Kilmer, currently retired in southern Florida. Marshall shrugged off having talked come Kilmer then. Kilmer stated he at the very least was able to gain Marshall to laugh when he do one quip about that famous moment ~ above Oct. 25, 1964. “I called him, ‘You know, Jim, we’re in the hall of call every day,’ ” Kilmer said. “They play that sequence in the room of Fame. At least we make the room of call there.” Follow chris Tomasson at twitter.com/christomasson.