clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Play, 32 years later: Final John Elway college football moment? Giving a Cal fan the finger

New, 11 comments

Watch the Play. Then watch the butthurt!

It's the 32nd anniversary of the Play, which is something you've watched a thousand times and ages better than the finest Bordeaux. But as more and more bonus footage gets unearthed every year, you always find something new to enjoy and appreciate and break down Zapruder film style.

So let's focus on the king of butthurt, John Elway.

They ruined my last game as a college player. It was a very bittersweet ending. I did not want it to end this way. It's something I'll have to live with for the rest of my life." -- John Albert Elway, Jr., November 20, 1982

So we did find some of the rare postgame footage from one of the many Big Games, and you can see Elway encapsulate his bittersweet feelings in a few snapshots.

Here you see the Axe Committee walking off with the Axe. Elway will come into your frame about midway through and walk right through it, and that's where the final act of Elway's documented Stanfurd career takes center stage.

Did you see it? I think you can if you look closely enough, but I can imagine it's hard to catch if you don't get every frame.

Let's slow it down screenshot by screenshot.

Angry John Elway at the Play 1

The hero in our morality play is the man in gold, as one of the many Cal fans to rush the field.

Angry John Elway at the Play 2

Let's focus in as Elway gets into the shot. .

Angry John Elway at the Play 3

Goldshirt walks up to Elway.

Angry John Elway at the Play 4

The taunting begins. Goldshirt will make what appears to be a facepalm. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. This hero would've been one of the Internet's first memes if this Big Game had occurred 25 years later and we had high definition to figure out who that was.

Angry John Elway at the Play 5

Goldshirt has done his job and doesn't go any further. Smart man. Horseface isn't exactly the most intimdiating human being, but he's large enough that you don't want to risk being pile-drived. Might have been slightly worth it for the ensuing lawsuits and the following Furd humiliation, but you take what you can get after a five lateral kick return to win the Axe.

Angry John Elway at the Play 6

And then...

Angry John Elway at the Play 7

Elway's arm rises...

Angry John Elway at the Play 8

It's blurry. It goes out of the picture quickly. But that looks like a middle finger.

Angry John Elway at the Play 9

There's a small chance it's the index finger and this is a "come at me bro" moment, which is still highly entertaining, but since no one can really prove anything, let's go middle finger! Also, the Farm assistant who grabs Elway's shoulder probably thinks he's doing something provocative, suggesting that a gesture was really made.

MIDDLE FINGER AT ALL OF BEAR TERRITORY CONFIRMED.

So heroic Cal fan, whoever you are, we salute you. You made John Elway's final moment on a college football field giving the Golden Bears the finger for taking the Axe away from him once again.

GO BEARS! Beat Stanfurd.