Bob Gibson (American football)
April 6, 1927|
|Died||April 10, 2015
Fort Myers, Florida
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|195?–1955||East Liverpool HS (OH)|
|1956–1964||Bowling Green (OL)|
|1974||Memphis Southmen (off. backs)|
|1976||Detroit Lions (off. backs)|
|1977–1978||New York Giants (OC)|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
|1 MAC (1965)|
Robert M. "Bob" Gibson (April 6, 1927 – April 10, 2015) was an American football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at Bowling Green University 1965 to 1967. Gibson played college football as a quarterback at Youngstown State University, from which he graduated in 1950. Coaching for the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL) as offensive coordinator in 1978, Gibson called the play that resulted in "The Miracle at the Meadowlands".
The Miracle at the Meadowlands
Playing their archrival the Philadelphia Eagles, the Giants were leading 17–12 and had possession of the ball with only 30 seconds left. They had only to kneel the ball to end the game, as the Eagles had no timeouts. Gibson ordered Giants quarterback Joe Pisarcik to run play "Brown right, near wing, 65 slant", which called for Pisarcik to hand the ball off to fullback Larry Csonka. The handoff was botched and Eagles cornerback Herman Edwards picked up the loose ball and ran in for the game-winning score.
Gibson's reasoning was governed by what happened a play earlier. Pisarcik had taken a knee, only to be knocked over when the Eagles' Bill Bergey charged into Giants' center Jim Clack. This violated an unwritten rule that defensive players do not rush in a situation when the quarterback kneels down. Gibson didn't want to risk getting Pisarcik injured or expose his players to penalties or fines for fighting. However, he didn't explain this to the players, and it came across as a power trip. Head coach John McVay's headphones weren't working, and he later said that he would have overruled Gibson had he known what was happening.
With angry Giant fans demanding someone be held responsible for the debacle, owner Wellington Mara and operations director Andy Robustelli met and decided Gibson had to go. He was fired the next morning. So great was the stigma of having called the play that he never worked in football at any level again. He refused to speak about the incident up until his death in 2015; when ESPN reached him by phone in 2008, he said, "I haven't talked about the game for 30 years, and I'm not about to start now."
Gibson left New York and opened a bait shop and general store on Florida's Sanibel Island, where he raised cattle on his ranch. While he had stayed in contact with McVay and another member of the 1978 staff, Lindy Infante, few other members of the 1978 Giants have heard from him in over 30 years. Gibson died at age 88 on April 10, 2015.
Head coaching record
|Bowling Green Falcons (Mid-American Conference) (1965–1967)|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
- 30 years later, Giant disappointment of 'The Fumble' still lingers Hank Gola, New York Daily News, November 18, 2008.
- "Robert M. and Cynthia H. Gibson Jr.". The News-Press. 2 May 2015. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
- Katz, Michael. 20 Seconds Left As Eagles Win; Jets Bow; Todd Reinjured, The New York Times, November 20, 1978, accessed March 18, 2007.
- Daly, Buzz (November 4, 2005). "Mara's Legacy with Giants Recalled". Eye on Gambling. Retrieved February 24, 2006.
- ESPN NFL Live, 2008-11-19, 4:00pm EST, second segment.