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Last Game Played at Polo Grounds is Jets Loss

Dec. 14, 1963 - The end came quietly at 4:36 p.m. today for the grand dame, the Polo Grounds. She was 72. The scoreboard lights atop the rickety clubhouse read: Buffalo 19, Jets 10, and there was just a handful of relatives and close friends, 5,826, to pay their respects to the noble old gal who had, in her time, thrown parties for more than 50,000. It was a somewhat shabby ending, this last sporting breath for a park that had lived greatness. There had been the great baseball teams of John McGraw…Dempsey-Firpo…Bobby Thompson’s historic homer…the memorable “sneakers” victory by the grid Giants over the Bears. On this turf, where had played Grange and Thorpe and Cagle; Nagurski and Hein and Graham; Leemans, the Four Horsemen and Merle Hapes; there, in the end, were Galen Hall and Cookie Gilchrist and Jack Klotz. The solemnity of the defeat was provided by the Jets, who led 10-9 into the last quarter. Three basic plays had given them the edge. There was a TD bomb of 73 yards, Hall to Don Maynard; a field goal of 17 yards by Dick Guesman; a blocked conversion by Bob Watters as Mack Yoho tried for the tying point in the third. The Bills’ points had come on Yoho’s 13-yard field goal for the day’s first score and Gilchrist’s two-yard touchdown in the third. When Watters broke through to smother the conversion, it seemed the Jets might make things a cheerful wake by finishing their season at .500 and staying barely breathing in the AFL’s tight Eastern race. But they fell apart. It began with a missed field goal from the 34 on the second play of the fourth period. Buffalo took the ball and winged quickly downfield on Jack Kemp’s arm — the same arm which had been confined to the doghouse by Coach Lou Saban a week ago. Kemp was to end up passing for 134 yards, and three of his pitches set up the winning TD. Buffalo went for the two points and clicked. Shortly thereafter, Klotz, pulling out of the Jet offensive line to block for Hall on a pass play near New York’s goal, pushed the charging Yoho into the passer, who was nailed in the zone for a safety. So, the deed was done, and the Polo Grounds exists now only to be demolished. She died hard, the old girl. They said she was done six years ago when the baseball Giants moved out, and they said it many times since, but each time she sat up in the coffin and cheered again. Now she is finished for true, and it is hard to believe.


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