Monday, August 2, 2010

Tampa Stadium, August 7, 1971

This photograph, taken on August 7, 1971, shows a then-record crowd of 51,214 at Tampa Stadium for a National Football League exhibition game between the New York Jets and Detroit Lions.

Detroit ended up defeating New York 28-24, but the game is best remembered for an injury to New York’s Joe Namath. Following a fumble by New York’s Lee White, Namath attempted to tackle the Detroit linebacker – Mike Lucci -- who made the recovery. While Lucci would go on to score a 29-yard touchdown, Namath tore ligaments in his left knee on the second quarter play, and the injury would keep him sidelined for all but four games in the 1971 season. The suddenly injury-prone former MVP of the American Football League had played in only five games the previous season due to a broken wrist.

For Tampa football fans, the game was the sixth in a series of exhibition games from 1968-1975 designed to highlight the area’s viability as a market for professional football. Unlike most years when the stadium played host to two games, this would be the only game scheduled at Tampa Stadium during the 1971 exhibition season.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks...we were there...
    I can still see Namath, sitting on the turf. A few years later, Johnny Carson would tell his audience, " Well, the Tampa Bucs might win one, this week.. They're playing the Pillsbury Doughboy."