In 1958, the Baltimore Colts and the New York Giants faced off in the NFL Championship Game, which has gone on to be known by many football fans — and is classified by the Professional Football Hall of Fame — as the “greatest game ever played.”
In the 1950s, professional football had been on the rise, and the national popularity of this specific dramatic game, in which the Colts won 23 to 17, caused it to further boom into the ’60s.
Only four players who played in that game are still living — and one of them lives in Louisville.
Alex Sandusky was an offensive lineman for the Colts. On the Friday before the Superbowl, a group of about 20 residents at Magnolia Springs Senior Living got together to listen to him talk about his part in the “greatest game ever played.”
“If anyone wants to argue with me about the greatest game ever played, you won’t get too much of an argument from me,” Sandusky said. “There have been so many great games played. The game is different now, so many years on.”
Sandusky is 86 now, and has had some health issues, so he wasn’t sure how long his voice would hold out for Friday’s conversation, but amidst recalling details from that fateful game (like the fact that he started out as an offensive lineman making $5,000, a far cry, he said, from football salaries today), he kept coming back to one thing — his surprise that people still remember it.
“It was 60 years ago,” Sandusky said. “We’re talking about a football game and people still remember. It is amazing.”
He gestures to a woman in the crowd: “I’m looking at a lady there, she comes up to me and tells me her son has my autograph.”
Carrie Sandusky is Alex’s daughter. She also lives in Louisville.
“We lived in Annapolis, a suburb outside Baltimore, so most people knew who he was when I was growing up,” Carrie Sandusky said. “But I think they thought it was a bigger deal than I did. I think as I’ve gotten older, and moved to a new town where no one knows me, I’m aware now of how much people knew him and our family.”
As Alex Sandusky’s presentation winds down, there’s one final question from the crowd — what song would the players sing in the locker room to unwind after a game?
“We always liked ‘Ramona,’” he said.
Sandusky said sometimes he’ll hear it played during lunch at the Senior Living Center — and it always brings back memories of his football days.