Vikings' Jim Marshall Runs Wrong Way on Fumble Recovery 1964

On October 25, 1964, Jim Marshall, defensive-end for the famed "Purple People Eaters" of the Minnesota Vikings, recovered a fumble against the San Francisco 49ers and ran the wrong way, scoring a safety for the opposing team. The Vikings did go on to win the game, but "Wrong Way" Marshall's mistake will forever be remembered in NFL lore.

I happened to comment to my wife during the NLCS between the New York Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals that Mets pitcher Steve Trachsel was the pitcher that gave up Mark McGwire's 62nd homerun in 1998. Or how about Tim Wakefield giving up the game winning homerun to Yankee Aaron Boone in the ALCS a few years back. Then there was Cleveland Brown Ernest Byner's infamous fumble against the Broncos in the AFC Championship Game in 1988. And oh yeah, Buckner. And the list goes on and on...

Why do we always remember the goats in sports? I think people take a bit of solace in the fact that even elite athletes make mistakes. I always tell my students that people usually don't mistakes unless they're trying. Mistakes are a part of life, and being afraid to make them leaves us paralyzed.

So Wrong Way, on this 42nd anniversary of your mistake, I toast you. You still made a great play, and who knows, had you not, the 49ers might have scored a touchdown on that possession and beat you.

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