, California (PressExposure) May 05, 2009 -- The play. If you say these two words to any college football fan, only one play will come to mind and is arguably the most famous sequence of events in any sport ever. The matchup was Cal vs. Stanford and it was played in 1982. The ending to this game has been consistently ranked as the number 1 football play of all-time year in and year out.
The play occurred at the end of the Cal-Stanford game on November 20th, 1982. Cal and Stanford have a deep rooted rivalry because of the fact they are located very close to each other in North California. So to say the least the stadium was packed with raucous Stanford and Cal fans for this game, which is known to fans as "The Big Game".
Stanford was playing for the right to play in a bowl game as they needed one more win to get to the necessary six wins needed to qualify. They had struggled throughout the year, but were led by future NFL Hall of Famer John Elway and this would have been his final game had Stanford without a win, so to say the least the Stanford football team was fired up for this rivalry game.
The game had been going as expected with both teams showing a ton of intensity and going back and forth with big hits and big plays. However, the game came down to final quarter and it looked as if Cal had the game well in hand. Stanford had the ball at their own 19 yard line and it was 4th and 13 and the Stanford team looked like they had given up. However, Elway was able to complete a 29 yard pass to keep the drive alive and give Stanford some ray of hope. Elway was able to lead Stanford into field goal range and they kicked what was thought to be the game-winning field goal and take a 20-19 lead with four seconds left. That is when "The Play" came to shape.
Stanford was forced to kick from the 25 yard line due to a celebration penalty after the field goal; this gave Cal a little bit of an advantage on the kickoff return. Cal would take the ball and run up the field and five laterals later Kevin Moen ran over one of the Stanford band members that had ran on to the field thinking the game was over and went into the end zone, to give Cal the win. The play was reviewed by the booth for two questionable lateral passes, however the play stood as called on the field and Cal came away with the victory. Unfortunately, words cannot do this play justice, however the play by play done by Joe Starkey of Cal paints a much better picture; the famous call of the play is, "All right, here we go with the kickoff. Harmon will probably try to squib it and he does. The ball comes loose and the Bears have to get out of bounds. Rodgers is along the sideline, another one ... they're still in deep trouble at midfield, they tried to do a couple of ... the ball is still loose as they get it to Rodgers! They get it back now to the 30, they're down to the 20... Oh, the band is out on the field!! He's gonna go into the end zone! He's gone into the end zone!" This is arguably one of the most famous calls in all of sports and still sends chills up the spines of any college football fan, but especially those located in Northern California