As Joe Theismann was being wheeled off the field this ugly night, he turned to his longtime, respected adversary, 10-year veteran linebacker Harry Carson, and said, “I hear you’re thinking about retiring.”
Carson replied, “Yeah, I am.”
Theismann continued, “Well, don’t you go retiring, because I’m coming back.”
Carson told him, “That may be the case, but it ain’t going to be tonight.”
The stalwart Carson would continue playing for another three seasons, despite a painful chronic shoulder injury, and would finally get to play on a championship team in New York.
The Giants drafted Carson out of South Carolina State as a defensive end in the fourth round in 1976. Converted to middle linebacker by position coach Marty Schottenheimer and then to an inside linebacker in the 3-4 defense in 1979, Harry played between Brad Van Pelt and Brian Kelley until 1984, when both were traded. Harry walked out of training camp soon after.
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Bill Parcells tweaked him by telling the press that he hoped Carson was going to the library to look up the word leadership, and Harry returned two days later. In truth, Parcells relied heavily on Carson and defensive end George Martin as veteran leaders, and those two teammates would retire together in 1988.
A nine-time Pro Bowl player, Harry was a premier run stuffer who once made 20 tackles in a game against the Packers in 1982. As he stated simply in his autobiography, Point of Attack, “My job is knocking people down. I’m a linebacker in the National Football
League. And I’m good at my job I rarely do anything spectacular. I hardly ever blitz the quarterback. I stop the run. I wrap running backs up and lay them down.”
After six unsuccessful campaigns as a Hall of Fame finalist, the proud old linebacker wrote to the selection committee in 2005, saying he no longer wanted to be considered for election. The following year, Harry was elected and dropped his public reluctance because he knew how much Wellington Mara had wanted to see him enshrined. Harry Carson indeed understood leadership; he was the heart and soul of the New York Giants for more than a dozen years.
NYG Morris 8-yard run (Schubert PAT) WSH Moseley 28-yard FG WSH Didier 14-yard pass from Schroeder (Moseley kick failed) more touchdowns in the third quarter on a 41-yard trap play and an eight-yard run following a fumble recovery, to retake the lead 21-14. Washington staged a comeback in the final period on a Mark Moseley field goal followed by a second Steve Cox onside kick with more than 11 minutes to play. Again, the Redskins recovered the kick and this time drove down to score on a Schroeder pass to tight end Clint Didier. The Giants were unable to mount any more offense, and the Redskins held on for the Pyrrhic victory.
The Giants, the Redskins, and the Cowboys all would end the season at 10-6, but Washington lost out on the playoffs because of tiebreakers. The talkative Theismann naturally moved into the broadcasting booth, while Taylor would later say of the nightmarish game, “It’s not a moment I want to remember or ever see again”
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