Pivotal Pro Football Moments
pivotal NFL postseason moment: A decision by a coach or an action by a player that changes the momentum of a playoff game.
1960: Old Pros Van and Charlie Lead Victory
NFL Championship Game: Green Bay Packers @Philadelphia Eagles
Vince Lombardi's second Green Bay squad returned the proud franchise to the champ­ionship game for the first time in 16 years. Their opponents were the Philadelphia Eagles under third-year coach Buck Shaw. They had appeared in the finals three years in a row, 1947-48-49, but never finished higher than second in the East during the 1950s. Win or lose, the game would be Shaw's last before retirement.
Lombardi made a decision in the first quarter that he regretted after the game. The Packers got the first break of the game when Eagle QB Norm Van Brocklin threw too high on a sideways pass to HB Billy Barnes. The ball bounced off Billy's hands to RE Bill Quinlan to give Green Bay the ball at the 14.

Franklin Field during championship game
Second in the NFL in rushing yards, the Packers ran the ball three times but gained only eight yards. Instead of kicking the easy field goal, Lombardi gave the order to go for it. FB Jimmy Taylor took the ball up the middle, but the Eagles stood up the blockers, and he didn't even make it to the line of scrimmage.

Jimmy Taylor takes handoff from Starr.
The Packers were soon back in business after recovering another fumble at the Philly 22. HB Paul Hornung gained five and Taylor four more. Then Hornung ran what would become known as the classic Green Bay Sweep, but Chuck Bednarik pulled him down after a gain only three. "Concrete Charlie" would play all 60 sixty minutes at linebacker and center. This time, Lombardi decided to take the field goal. Hornung's kick was true from the 20. Packers 3 Eagles 0

L-R: Vince Lombardi, Tommy McDonald, Norm Van Brocklin, Buck Shaw, Chuck Bednarik
The Packers added another field goal in the second quarter before the Eagles took a 10-6 halftime lead on Van Brocklin's 35y strike to speedy WR Tommy McDonald and a 15y field goal. Green Bay squandered another excellent scoring chance when they reached the Eagle six with no timeouts left. With the clock under ten seconds, the Packer field goal unit rushed in and set up without a huddle. An Eagle jumped offside, but Green Bay declined the penalty to give the kicker a less acute angle. Then Hornung missed a chip shot from the 17 wide left as time ran out.
After a scoreless third period, the Packers took the lead on QB Packers's 6y slant-in pass to WR Packers. Then came a play that Lombardi cited afterward as a turning point.
Ted Dean took the kickoff on the five and returned up the left side untouched until finally forced out of bounds at the Green Bay 40 by the last defender, Willie Wood. The Eagles retook the lead seven plays later on Dean's end sweep from the five. Eagles 17 Packers 13 with 9:40 left.

G Jerry Huth leads Dean around end for the go-ahead touchdown.
Neither team threatened until the Packers received a punt on their 35 with a minute left. Starr would become famous for leading winning drives in the last minutes of games, and this was the first national exposure of his skill.
Completion to Taylor who gets out of bounds on the 40 with 55 seconds left.
Pass to HB Tom Moore to the 44. Timeout Green Bay. 45 seconds left.
Taylor roars around left end to the Eagle 47 where he is driven out of bounds.
With the secondary protecting against the long pass, Starr finds TE Gary Knafelc to the 30. Timeout with 30 seconds left.
After an incompletion, Starr goes back to Knafelc at the 22, where he is tackled immediately by LB Maxie Baughan, who holds Gary down as precious seconds tick away. The Packers hurriedly line up without a huddle.
With 10 seconds left, Starr throws to Taylor at the 17 where he slips out of Baughan's grasp and continues toward the goal line. Jim runs through the tackle of DB Don Bur­roughs, but DB Bobby Jackson hits him low head on at the 10. The impact snaps the strap on Bobby's shoulder pads. As Jimmy struggles to get free, DB Jimmy Carr and Bednarik come in and wrestle him to the ground at the nine as time expires.
After the press left the locker room, Lombardi gathered his team and told them, "I am very proud of all of you, and you have all played well enough to win this game but were beaten by a veteran quarterback who happened to have a great day. Perhaps you didn't realize that you could have won this game. But I think there's no doubt in your minds now. And that's why you will win it all next year. This will never happen again. You will never lose another championship."
At dinner that evening, Vince told Ray Scott, the radio voice of the Packers, that he cost his team six points by not going for easy field goals. "I learned my lesson today. When you get down there, come out with something. I lost the game, not my players. That was my fault."
Lombardi would go 5-0 in championship games the rest of his career, starting the following year.