Ghost to the Post is a significant play in NFL history. It refers specifically to a 42-yard pass from Ken Stabler to Dave Casper, nicknamed "The Ghost" after Casper the Friendly Ghost, that set up a game-tying field goal in the final seconds of regulation in a double-overtime AFC divisional playoff game played between Casper's Oakland Raiders and the then-Baltimore Colts on December 24, 1977. Casper also caught the last pass of the game, a 10-yard touchdown pass. The game is currently the fifth-longest in NFL history, and has become synonymous with the play that made it famous.
|Ghost to the Post|
Memorial Stadium, site of the game
|Date||December 24, 1977|
|Stadium||Memorial Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland|
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers||Curt Gowdy and John Brodie|
The first half was mostly a defensive struggle. Oakland scored first on a 30-yard run by Clarence Davis. Baltimore returned with two second quarter scores, a 62-yard Bruce Laird interception return for a touchdown and a 36-yard field goal by Toni Linhart. The halftime score was 10-7 in favor of Baltimore.
The second half began with a scoring flurry. Dave Casper scored on an 8-yard touchdown reception on Oakland's first drive of the half. Marshall Johnson of the Colts then returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards for a matching touchdown. Ted Hendricks blocked a third-quarter Baltimore punt, setting up a 10-yard Stabler-to-Casper touchdown pass, which made the score 21-17 in favor of the Raiders.
The fourth quarter saw impressive comebacks by both teams. Ron Lee scored on a 1-yard fourth down plunge for Baltimore, making the score 24-21 in favor of Baltimore. Oakland returned with a long drive culminating in a 1-yard Pete Banaszak run for a touchdown, making the score 28-24 in favor of Oakland. Baltimore returned with a 13-yard Lee run that left them with a 31-28 lead with just under 8 minutes to go, setting up the memorable play for Casper.
With 2:55 left on the clock in the 4th quarter, prior to taking possession of the ball following a Baltimore punt, Madden excitedly spoke on the sidelines with his quarterback. Stabler calmly looked at the frenzied Baltimore crowd and remarked "the fans are sure getting their money's worth today." Stabler connected with Clarence Davis for a first-down at the Raiders' 44-yard line. Following an incomplete pass on the next play, and with 2:17 remaining, Raiders' offensive coordinator Tom Flores called for a 2nd down pass designed to go to one of the two wide receivers running "in" patterns, but told Stabler to "take a peek at the Ghost to the post", referring to a deep pattern by Casper down the field and then angling to the goal post. On NFL's Greatest Games, Madden explained Casper's job on the play was normally to draw away the opposing team's safeties so the receivers could make a catch, but Flores had noticed the safeties had been playing closer to the line of scrimmage than usual, which is what prompted Flores to tell Stabler to look for Casper downfield. Casper himself claimed that although it was one of the team's most effective plays, he didn't recall ever catching a pass on it all season.
In what football fans now refer to as "The Ghost to the Post", Casper ran a deep post pattern, and Stabler threw a high, arching pass that looked well over thrown and behind Casper. It was Casper's memorable change of direction, chase, and athletic over-the-head catch that became the signature moment for the game. Casper went down at the 14-yard line, setting up an Errol Mann field goal, with 29 seconds left, that tied the game and sent the game to overtime.
Just 43 seconds into the second overtime, Stabler hit Casper on another 10-yard touchdown pass that ended what was then the third-longest game in NFL history 37-31.
To this date, the game is still the fifth-longest in pro football history. The game marked the last playoff appearance for the Baltimore-based Colts. The Raiders would go on to lose the AFC Championship Game that year to the Broncos 20-17. NFL Films has released a film of the game as one of the most memorable in NFL history. Hall of Fame coach John Madden has called the moment one of the most memorable of his coaching career. Dave Casper has been named one of the best Tight Ends in NFL History and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and this catch is cited as the most memorable in his career.
The 1977 Baltimore Colts season was the 25th season for the team in the National Football League (NFL). The Colts finished the NFL’s 1977 season with a record of 10 wins and 4 losses, and tied for first in the AFC East division with the Miami Dolphins. However, the Colts finished ahead of Miami based on better conference record (9–3 to Dolphins’ 8–4). This season would mark the final season in which the Colts would make the playoffs as a Baltimore-based franchise (the Colts next appearance in the playoffs came 10 years later in 1987, by which time the team moved to Indianapolis). Baltimore would not have a team in the playoffs again until the Baltimore Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV, just over 23 seasons later.1977–78 NFL playoffs
The National Football League playoffs for the 1977 season began on December 24, 1977. The postseason tournament concluded with the Dallas Cowboys defeating the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XII, 27–10, on January 15, 1978, at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Due to Christmas, the Divisional playoff games were held in a span of three days. The AFC playoff games were played on Saturday December 24 while the NFC games were held on Monday, December 26. It also marked the only year since the AFL–NFL merger in 1970 that one conference held both of its divisional playoff games on one day and the other conference held both of its games on the other day. In every other season since 1970, the conferences have split their playoff games over the two days.
This was also the last season that the NFL used an eight-team playoff tournament.Bert Jones
Bertram Hays Jones (born September 7, 1951) is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for the Baltimore Colts and the Los Angeles Rams. At Ruston High School in Ruston, Louisiana, he was given the nickname, "The Ruston Rifle." Jones played college football at Louisiana State University (LSU). He is the son of former NFL running back Dub Jones of the Cleveland Browns. He was named the NFL Most Valuable Player in 1976 with the Colts. In 2016, Jones was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.Dave Casper
David John Casper (born February 2, 1952) nicknamed "The Ghost," is a former American football player best known for being a prominent member of the Oakland Raiders in the National Football League (NFL). He was a tight end and also played as an offensive lineman. Casper has been inducted into both the College Football Hall of Fame (2012) and the Pro Football Hall of Fame (2002).Gene Upshaw
Eugene Josiah Upshaw Jr. (August 15, 1945 – August 20, 2008), also known as "Uptown Gene" and “Highway 63”, was an American football player for the Oakland Raiders of the American Football League (AFL) and later the National Football League (NFL). He later served as the executive director of the National Football League Players' Association (NFLPA). In 1987, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is also the only player in NFL history to reach the Super Bowl in three different decades with the same team.History of the Baltimore Colts
The Indianapolis Colts professional American football franchise was originally based in Baltimore, Maryland, as the Baltimore Colts from 1953 to 1984. The team was named for Baltimore's history of horse breeding and racing. It was the second incarnation of the Baltimore Colts, the first having played for three years in the All-America Football Conference and one in the National Football League (NFL). The 1953–83 Baltimore Colts team played its home games at Memorial Stadium.Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts are an American football team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) South division. Since the 2008 season, the Colts have played their games in Lucas Oil Stadium. Previously, the team had played for over two decades (1984–2007) at the RCA Dome. Since 1987, the Colts have been the host team for the NFL Scouting Combine.
The Colts have been a member club of the NFL since their founding in Baltimore in 1953. They were one of three NFL teams to join those of the American Football League (AFL) to form the AFC following the 1970 merger. While in Baltimore, the team advanced to the playoffs 10 times and won three NFL Championship games in 1958, 1959, and 1968. The Colts played in two Super Bowls while they were based in Baltimore, losing to the New York Jets in Super Bowl III and defeating the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V. The Colts relocated to Indianapolis in 1984 and have since appeared in the playoffs 16 times, won two conference championships, and won one Super Bowl, in which they defeated the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI.Ken Stabler
Kenneth Michael Stabler (December 25, 1945 – July 8, 2015), nicknamed "Snake", was an American football quarterback in the National Football League (NFL) for the Oakland Raiders (1970–1979), Houston Oilers (1980–1981) and New Orleans Saints (1982–1984). He played college football for the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Stabler quarterbacked the Raiders to victory in Super Bowl XI, was the 1974 NFL Most Valuable Player and was selected as a quarterback for the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team. Stabler was posthumously elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.List of Indianapolis Colts seasons
The Indianapolis Colts, formerly the Baltimore Colts, are an American football team playing in the National Football League (NFL). This list documents the season-by-season records of the Colts franchise from 1953 to present, including postseason records and league awards for individual players or head coaches. In 1953, a Baltimore-based group led by Carroll Rosenbloom gained the rights to a new Baltimore franchise. Rosenbloom was granted an NFL team, and was awarded the holdings of the defunct Dallas Texans organization. The new team was named the Colts after the previous team that folded after the 1950 NFL season. After 31 seasons in Baltimore, Colts owner Robert Irsay moved the team to Indianapolis, Indiana.The Colts have won two Super Bowl championships (Super Bowl V and Super Bowl XLI). They also played in and lost Super Bowl III and Super Bowl XLIV. Before the AFL and NFL merged in 1970, they won three NFL Championships (1958, 1959, and 1968). By winning Super Bowl XLI the Colts became the first team that played its home games in a domed stadium to win a Super Bowl held in an outdoor stadium.After the Colts owner Jim Irsay hired Tony Dungy in 2002, the Colts made the playoffs for nine straight seasons. They won five straight AFC South titles from 2003 to 2007 and had seven consecutive seasons of 12 or more victories from 2003 to 2009, the first time that has been achieved in the NFL's 90-year history. Much of the team's success throughout the 2000s was attributed to the trio of general manager Bill Polian, coach Dungy, and quarterback Peyton Manning.In the 2013 season, the Colts secured their first division championship since Manning's departure and first under quarterback Andrew Luck and head coach Chuck Pagano.List of Indianapolis Colts starting quarterbacks
The Indianapolis Colts are a professional American football team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. They are currently members of the South Division of the American Football Conference (AFC) in the National Football League (NFL).
The club was officially founded in Baltimore, Maryland in 1953, as the Baltimore Colts, replacing a previous team of that name that folded in 1950. After 31 seasons in Baltimore, Colts owner Robert Irsay moved the team to Indianapolis.
The Colts have had 33 starting quarterbacks (QB) in the history of their franchise. The Colts' past starting quarterbacks include Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Johnny Unitas, as well as the Associated Press National Football League Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) winners Earl Morrall and Bert Jones. Unitas also won the MVP award three times in his career. The franchise's first starting quarterback was Fred Enke, who started 9 games in total for the Colts. The Colts' starting quarterback from 1998 to 2011 was 5-time MVP Peyton Manning. The Colts' current starting quarterback is Andrew Luck.Marshall Johnson
Marshall Donell Johnson (born November 1, 1952) is a former American football wide receiver in the National Football League who played for the Baltimore Colts. He played college football for the Houston Cougars.He had a kickoff return for a touchdown in the 1977 AFC Divisional Game between the Colts and Oakland Raiders known for having the Ghost to the Post play.Monte Johnson
Monte C. Johnson (born October 26, 1951) is a retired American football player. Johnson, who never started in college, was selected by The Oakland Raiders during the second round of the 1973 NFL Draft as the 49th player selected overall. Johnson attended the University of Nebraska and won two National Championships with Nebraska, and one Super Bowl (XI) with the Oakland Raiders. Johnson was injured in the 1980 season, and as a result did not play in Super Bowl XV, when the Raiders defeated the Eagles. Johnson considers the 1977 AFC Divisional playoff game against the Baltimore Colts, a game known as, "Ghost to the Post", to be his greatest game. Johnson finished the game, which went to double overtime, with 22 tackles despite suffering a broken vertebra during regulation. Johnson retired from professional football in 1981, after eight seasons in Oakland, as a result of a career-ending knee injury he incurred early in the 1980 season.
After retirement, Johnson moved his family to Atlanta, where he currently has his own business, Family Capital Management, a multi-family family office.NFL's Greatest Games
NFL's Greatest Games is a series of television programs that air on NFL Network, ESPN and related networks. They are condensed versions of some of the most famous games in the history of the National Football League, using footage and sound captured by NFL Films, as well as original interviews. All installments produced before 2015 are 90 minutes in length, and are presented with a title in respect to the game being featured. Starting in 2015, new installments produced run for either 30 minutes, 60 minutes, or 90 minutes, and no longer have a title beyond the actual game itself that is featured.
The series began with Super Bowl III, the New York Jets' 16-7 upset of the Baltimore Colts. ESPN debuted the program in 1999, on the 30th anniversary of the original game. More telecasts followed in the ensuing months.
In 2007, NFL Network unveiled Super Bowl Classics, a version of this program using complete videotaped games.
The "NFL's Greatest Games" banner is also occasionally used for episodes of the 1970s public television series The Way It Was that covered classic NFL games prior to 1958.NFL Top 10
NFL Top 10 is a documentary program produced by NFL Films for airing on the NFL Network. The host and narrator is Derrin Horton.
The program counts down 10 items directly related to the players, coaches, and events of the National Football League. Throughout segments on each selection, a wide variety of personalities weigh in on the list. They include former and current NFL players, coaches, national and local sports analysts, and journalists, among others. In addition, multiple celebrity guests have appeared on the show, such as David Copperfield, Richard Simmons, and the Sklar Brothers. Reruns show on weekdays, while new episodes air on Friday nights. It also fills time in markets on an alternate feed where game coverage (usually in the pre-season) is blacked out in deference to a local broadcast station's coverage of that game.National Football League Christmas games
Christmas Day and Christmas Eve games in the National Football League are an occasional part of the league's schedule. In contrast to Thanksgiving Day games, however, they are not an annual occurrence; as of 2017, there have been just 19 Christmas Day games in the NFL's history.
After the NFL held two Divisional Playoff games on Christmas Day 1971, the league avoided any more games on Christmas Day until 1989. Since then, the NFL has held occasional games on Christmas Day in some years, as part of week 16 or 17 of the regular season. Two games were played each Christmas Day from 2004 to 2006 and then from 2016 to 2017.
In recent years, the NFL has scheduled games on Christmas Day only if it falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or Monday. The NFL scheduled one Friday Christmas game, in 2009, a very rare occasion for an NFL game to be played on a Friday (because Christmas falls outside the window set in the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961 that prohibits pro football telecasts on those days for most of the regular season, it is one of the few times of the year when the league plays on a Friday or Saturday). If Christmas falls on a Sunday, most games are moved to Saturday, Christmas Eve, and then one or two games are scheduled for Christmas Night to be broadcast nationally. One game is generally held over for the regular Monday night slot. This situation occurred in 2016 and will occur again in 2022. In rare cases when a game must be played on the evening of Christmas Eve, the game is typically hosted on the West Coast of the United States so that the game takes place in the late afternoon there, and likewise, games played in the afternoon on Christmas Day are hosted in either the Eastern or Central time zones so that they do not start before 4 p.m. local time. This provides a window of roughly 20 hours of local time, spanning late Christmas Eve into Christmas Day, in which the league will not play.Nelson Munsey
Nelson Emory Munsey (July 2, 1948 – July 8, 2009) was an American football cornerback in the National Football League. He was signed by the Baltimore Colts as an undrafted free agent in 1972. He played college football at Wyoming.
He was the older brother of Chuck Muncie who also played in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers.Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders are a professional American football franchise based in Oakland, California. The Raiders compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) West division. Founded on January 30, 1960, they played their first regular season game on September 11, 1960, as a charter member of the American Football League (AFL) which merged with the NFL in 1970.
The Raiders' off-field fortunes have varied considerably over the years. The team's first three years of operation (1960–1962) were marred by poor on-field performance, financial difficulties, and spotty attendance. In 1963, however, the Raiders' fortunes improved dramatically with the introduction of head coach (and eventual owner) Al Davis. In 1967, after several years of improvement, the Raiders reached the postseason for the first time. The team would go on to win its first (and only) AFL Championship that year; in doing so, the Raiders advanced to Super Bowl II, where they were soundly defeated by the Green Bay Packers. Since 1963, the team has won 15 division titles (3 AFL and 12 NFL), 4 AFC Championships (1976, 1980, 1983, and 2002), 1 AFL Championship (1967), and 3 Super Bowl Championships (XI, XV, and XVIII). At the end of the NFL's 2018 season, the Raiders boasted a lifetime regular season record of 466 wins, 423 losses, and 11 ties; their lifetime playoff record currently stands at 25 wins and 19 losses.The team departed Oakland to play in Los Angeles from the 1982 season until the 1994 season before returning to Oakland at the start of the 1995 season. Al Davis owned the team from 1972 until his death in 2011. Control of the franchise was then given to Al's son Mark Davis.
On March 27, 2017, NFL team owners voted nearly unanimously to approve the Raiders' application to relocate from Oakland to Las Vegas, Nevada, in a 31–1 vote at the annual league meetings in Phoenix, Arizona. The Raiders plan to remain in the Bay Area through 2019, and relocate to Las Vegas in 2020, pending the completion of the team's planned new stadium.The Raiders are known for their extensive fan base and distinctive team culture. The Raiders have 14 former members who have been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. They have previously played at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Frank Youell Field in Oakland, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, and RingCentral Coliseum in Oakland.Ricky's Sports Theatre and Grill
Ricky's Sports Theatre and Grill is an Oakland Raiders themed sports bar located in San Leandro, California.Ricky's opened in 1946 as a steakhouse and has since become famous for being rated the number two best sports bar in America according to Sports Illustrated and the number twelve best sports bar in America according to CNN.In July 2018, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden held a fan appreciation event at Ricky's that was attended by over 500 fans and featured Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie, Raiders team owner Mark Davis and several Raiders legends.The Raspberry Jams
The Raspberry Jams: A Collection Of Demos, Songs, And Ideas On Guitar is an album by Jason Becker. It was originally released October 19, 1999.
|Wild card berths (6)|
|Division championships (15)|
|Conference championships (4)|
|League championships (4)|
|Current league affiliations|
|Former league affiliation|
Championship seasons in bold
|Division championships (16)|
|Conference championships (7)|
|League championships (5)|
|Current league affiliations|
Championship seasons in bold
Website: NBC Sports - NFL News