The Snowball Game

by John Delach

Written: May2016, re-edited: January 2021

Mary Ann and I traveled to Connecticut on Christmas Eve morning to spend a COVID 19 socially distanced gathering to exchange Christmas gifts with our son’s family. At one point, Michael asked me: “Hey Dad, do you know what this coming Sunday is?’

“No, I don’t.”

“It’s the 25th anniversary of the snowball game played on December 27, 1995.”

Being a writer of a weekly blog, I am always searching for my next piece and, thanks to Mike, here’s this week’s piece.     

The NFL decided to award the 2014 edition of the Super Bowl to East Rutherford, NJ to be played at Met Life Stadium, the new home of the Giants and Jets, then called New Meadowlands Stadium. To be sure, there is considerable speculation about the wisdom of such a decision given that the game will be subjected to the North East’s winter weather conditions.

Among the cries of doom and gloom, the May 27, 2010 Sports Section of The New York Times carried a tongue-in-cheek article by N.R. Kleinfield entitled: “Meadowlands in February? It’s Not the Cold, It’s the Snowballs.”

Mr. Kleinfield’s piece resurrected my memories from the last game of the 1995 season against the San Diego Chargers. We Giants fans inundated the field with snowballs, ice balls and chunks of ice.

 Now that the statute of limitations has run out on this incident, I feel that I no longer am compelled to reply to any questions like: “Were you involved in throwing snowballs?”

With: “On the advice of counsel, I cannot either confirm or deny that allegation.”

As usual, the NY Times got it wrong. While I have no evidence to prove exactly what precipitated the snowball assault, I am quite certain I know how it began. My son and I sat side by side in our Row 3 seats at old Giants Stadium, our home from 1976 to 2009. Those seats gave us great sight lines, especially when the teams were inside the 30 yard-line at our end of the field. Unfortunately, certain television networks insisted on using a side-line camera that traveled along the sidelines just off the field that was re-positioned as needed to be close to the line-of-scrimmage. If the offense reached the five-yard-line, the camera stopped so that the camera man or woman literally blocked our line-of-sight   reducing our view of the field from spectacular to having an obstructed view of the action.

This had bugged me for a long time, but letters to the Giants and the NFL all went unanswered.

When we arrived inside the stadium on that Sunday afternoon, we encountered several inches of snow beneath our seats as the team or the stadium authority didn’t have the where-with-all to dispatch crews to shovel the snow out of the stands prior to game time.

The Times reported that the Giants took a 17-0 lead in the first half. I am confident that at least one touchdown was scored at our end because it was at that point that my frustration with the obstructed view reached the breaking point. I directed my son, then twenty-four, to throw a snowball at the cameraman. Now Michael had been a fairly good pitcher in his younger days, and he complied, putting a snowball so close to that chap’s ear that it must have sounded like a jet going past.

That was enough for Mister Cameraman who directed his crew to lower him as he declared a personal force majeur and abandoned his post. A cheer arose from the faithful. After that, the Giants game went to hell and, as San Diego overwhelmed the home team. The disgruntled fans took out their boredom and frustration on the field, the teams, officials and other fans.

But that all came later. Let the record show, General Pershing had Sergeant York; I had Michael