As the Detroit Lions prepare for their “Monday Night Football” clash with the Las Vegas Raiders this week, coach Dan Campbell was asked if he had a favorite Monday night memory from his playing days. Like many former NFL players, the first memories that come to mind are the bad ones.
He immediately recalled a moment that—in his mind—lost the New York Giants the game.
“Not favorite experience, but I remember when I was with the Giants playing the Eagles,” Campbell said. “And I had an MA (missed assignment) on a critical down there in the fourth (quarter). I was supposed to release, but I blocked down. It cost us the game.”
Campbell didn’t provide a ton of other details of the play, but we managed to track it down. It’s a Week 6 loss in the 2001 season between the Giants and Eagles. New York lost the game 10-9 at home after holding the lead for nearly the entire game.
The moment in question happened with 6:15 left in the fourth quarter. The Giants were holding a 9-3 lead and had the ball third-and-4 at their own 23-yard line.
And, yes, there is a YouTube video of the entire game. You can see Campbell’s mistake at the 1:55:40 mark in the video below.
As you can see, Campbell—lined up inline next to the right tackle—blocks instead of immediately releasing, and as a result, he’s not open, the ball falls incomplete, and the Giants punt the ball away. The Eagles would score on the ensuing drive to take a 10-9 lead with under two minutes left.
Campbell not only remembers the play, but he also remembers the long walk to the sideline to have a chat with his then-offensive coordinator Sean Payton.
“I just remember I came to the sideline, and Sean looked at me and he said, ‘What’d you do?’ And I go, ‘Man, I f’ed up.’ What are you going to do? Anyway, it was awful. I was a young player. So... that’s not my favorite, but it’s the first one I thought of.”
Sorry to dig up a bad memory, Dan.