Home Crypto Every Thanksgiving, Charlie Batch recalls infamous Steelers-Lions coin-flip game

Every Thanksgiving, Charlie Batch recalls infamous Steelers-Lions coin-flip game

It is now – actually – half a lifetime in the past for the 46-year-old Charlie Batch. But what started as an keen alternative for a rookie NFL quarterback to face his hometown workforce on nationwide tv become one of many quirkiest and infamous memorable moments in Thanksgiving soccer historical past.

“People keep in mind that game – typically they neglect what workforce I used to be on then – however they convey up that game and bear in mind it,” Batch mentioned, “due to the coin flip.”

Yes, the coin flip. The one which Batch now proudly acknowledges as the ultimate coin flip in NFL historical past that featured a “heads/tails” name whereas the coin was within the air. An speedy tweak to the rule after the Nov. 26, 1998, game on the Pontiac Silverdome meant that the visiting workforce’s captain should make a heads/tails name earlier than the referee tosses the coin.


Of course, that’s due to what occurred that day on the outset of additional time between the Detroit Lions and Pittsburgh Steelers. Steelers captain Jerome Bettis maintained he referred to as “tails,” however referee Phil Luckett heard, “heads-tails,” so he caught with what he says Bettis first referred to as.

In these days, additional time was sudden dying. So, the Lions took the ball and drove 41 yards to get Jason Hanson in place for a profitable 42-yard area objective with out the Steelers even having an opportunity.

Because, in fact, of the coin-flip name fiasco.

“I at all times speak to (Bettis) about it,” Batch said last year in recalling the game. “He laughs and he’s sticking together with his weapons. Whatever. Whether that was ‘heads-tails,’ he mentioned he referred to as ‘tails,’ both approach. He is sticking with that.”

A Munhall native and Steel Valley High School graduate, Batch has been related to the Steelers for the previous 20 years as a backup quarterback (2002-2012) and tv/radio analyst (2013-present).

But in 1998, he was a second-round decide of the Lions out of close by Eastern Michigan. The likelihood to start out in in a high-profile, annually-anticipated game in opposition to the workforce he grew up rooting for made for a memorable day for Batch, who recalled having greater than 100 family and friends members in attendance for the game.

Some household, he mentioned, even bit the proverbial bullet and stayed again at Batch’s Detroit house making ready Thanksgiving dinner, the primary Batch would get pleasure from as knowledgeable athlete. It additionally can be a celebratory meal as he was a winner as an NFL beginning quarterback for the fifth time, going 16 for 23 for 236 yards, a landing and no interceptions within the victory.

“It was a giant deal,” Batch recalled. “No. 1, being from Pittsburgh, I’m like, “Wow, I’m actually enjoying in opposition to the Steelers proper now, that is loopy.’ So, that was a bizarre second. ‘Wow, I’m actually within the NFL proper now.’

“A variety of that was extra for pregame, popping out seeing (then-Steelers coach Bill Cowher), seeing (linebacker) Levon Kirkland, Jerome, (quarterback Kordell Stewart), all of those guys that you simply grew up form of watching. (Linebacker) Jason Gildon. ‘Man, that is fairly cool.’”

Even cooler if you earn bragging rights – cooler nonetheless, if you be part of mentioned hometown workforce a couple of years later, and several other of the vanquished events endured as a part of the group.

“Cowher at all times remembered that game,” mentioned Batch, who’s closely concerned in local philantrophic efforts by way of his nonprofit Best of the Batch foundation. “Especially after I would run into him over the following couple of years, he would at all times deliver that up. And after I grew to become a member of the Steelers he would at all times deliver that up, ‘That doggone Thanksgiving game!’ And we might snigger about it.

“The coolest half is each time the Steelers performed the Lions, I get an opportunity each 4 years to inform that story, or at the least submit an image of handing the ball off to Barry Sanders and say how ‘it’s been X quantity of years for the reason that Lions have beat the Steelers, and I used to be the final quarterback to beat them.

“I used to be capable of say ‘it was 19 years for the reason that Lions beat the Steelers’ (the newest time the groups met in Detroit) after which when (the Lions) misplaced now I get an opportunity (this 12 months) to submit that image, ‘Oh, it was (23) years for the reason that Lions final beat the Steelers, and oh, ‘Guess who the quarterback of that workforce was?’ So it provides me an opportunity to at all times have the ability to inform that story.”

Hey, Steelers Nation, get the latest news about the Pittsburgh Steelers here.

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review employees author. You can contact Chris by electronic mail at cadamski@triblive.com or by way of Twitter .


Most Popular