The 1958 NFL Championship Game, Baltimore Colts vs New York Giants, has forever entered football lore. The first and only overtime championship, "The Greatest Game Ever Played", it is often cited as the turning point in NFL's popularity. And a Jew played a huge role.
No, Carroll Rosenbloom did not score the winning touchdown or had a vital fumble recovery. He owned the Colts, but his involvement went far beyond paying player salaries.
Rosenbloom was a gambler. He bet a million on his team, but would only collect if they covered the 3½ point spread. As the game went to sudden death, the Colts were put in a position where a field goal would win it. But that would only push the margin to three, meaning Rosenbloom would lose the bet. So he (supposedly, none of this is proven) told the Colts to skip the easy kick and go for the touchdown, risking the game in the process. Soon after, Alan Ameche plowed through, the Colts had the championship, Rosenbloom had an extra million, and the NFL would never be the same.
Rosenbloom's influence did not end there. In 1972, he traded the ownership of the Colts for that of the Los Angeles Rams, which eventually led to both teams skipping town. Baltimore had to wait 13 years for the Ravens, while Los Angeles has been without football for close to two decades.
We bet many wish his role in NFL history was limited to gambling...