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Cardinals Upset Giants at Yankee Stadium

Nov. 24, 1963 - The New York Giants, who had been averaging five touchdowns a game over the last eight weeks, were held to two today by the St. Louis Cardinals, and that was not enough as the Cardinals won, 24-17, before a capacity crowd of 62,992 at Yankee Stadium. That result, coupled with the Cleveland Browns’ victory over the Dallas Cowboys, means that first place in the Eastern Conference of the NFL is now shared by three teams — the Cardinals, Giants, and Browns. Each team is 8-3. Each has three games to play, the key one being Cleveland at St. Louis next Sunday. Today, the Giants could have won or at least gained a tie by gaining 72 inches more. New York was two yards short of a tying touchdown in the fourth quarter and had eight unsuccessful shots at the St. Louis goal line from inside the Cardinal 10 in that period. The Cardinal defenders found a way to stop Y.A. Tittle, the Giant quarterback who had been bedeviling the league this fall. Near the end, they kept knocking Tittle down. Y.A. has few limitations, but he cannot throw passes from a prone position. The two goal-line stands by the Cardinals were the dramatic highlights of a game that belonged exclusively to the crowd in the Stadium. For the first time in many years, there was no account of the game transmitted from the Stadium, radio and television coverage having been canceled. Aside from the national mourning for the late President, which seemed uppermost in everyone’s mind, the Giants carried an additional burden into the second half — the knowledge that their line coach, Ed Kolman, was in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital after suffering a heart attack in the second period. However, Giant coach Allie Sherman made no excuses. “We just couldn’t go in for a touchdown when we had big chances,” Sherman said. “All season long, when Tittle was there, we hardly missed a chance. When we were inside the 20, we scored. Today we missed. That’s the whole story, as I see it. We had an off day. And you must give them credit, they had a big day.” Cardinal coach Wally Lemm said he thought both teams were jittery at the outset of the game and for the entire first half. “Not because of the game itself,” Lemm said. “But the assassination of President Kennedy left all of us shocked to the point that hardly anybody was thinking about football.” Sam Huff, the Giants’ middle linebacker, expressed the general feeling of the Giant players about playing today’s game. “I feel depressed,” he said. “I feel as bad about it as anybody. But staying home and moping around wouldn’t do any good. Last year, Jimmy Patton’s father died the day before the Dallas game. Nobody can say he didn’t grieve, but he played the game. That is our life. The people who don’t like it — that is their right. Maybe that’s what the President died for.” Said Pete Rozelle, NFL Commissioner, whose decision it was that the league would play its scheduled games: “I did and still do believe the decision proper. I went to church this morning, and I’m certain that most of the people in the stands did too.”


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