The First Giants-Jets Game

by Bob Ahrens
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A look back to the first Giants-Jets game in 1969 with the broadcasters of the game.

From the WFUV Sports Archives

The first Giants-Jets game. August 17, 1969...Yale Bowl, New Haven, CT.

The Jets were coming off a Super Bowl victory and needed to prove their victory over Baltimore wasn't a fluke. The two teams and the two leagues did not like each other...and that's putting it nicely.

Back in 1997, WFUV's Connell McShane talked with Marty Glickman (Giants) and Merle Harmon (Jets), the broadcasters for that game. It started out as a discussion about the game and wound up with stories about the war between the leagues, the animosity between the Giants and Jets and how the two teams tweaked each other to create a rivalry.

It also was an education in how to conduct an interview for the young broadcaster.

Connell McShane - Anchor, Fox Business Network

One of the best interviews I have ever done in broadcasting was one in which I barely spoke. Marty Glickman and Merle Harmon joined me on One on One when I was a young broadcaster at WFUV. Both Marty and Merle were sports broadcasting legends and they had joined us to talk about the first game ever played between the Jets and the Giants. I started by asking a question of Marty. Then I asked one of Merle. And then something special happened. Merle started his answer about three minutes into the interview and ended by addressing a question to Marty directly. The next time I spoke was more than 10 minutes into the interview. I had gone more than seven minutes without speaking! Listen to the radio now and see if you ever hear a host refrain from speaking for seven minutes. That's an eternity in broadcasting.

If you like football history, this interview is worth listening to. Marty told a great story about how Giants fans used to go to Shea Stadium to watch the Jets in the old days because they couldn't get tickets to see the Giants. Knowing this, Giants owner Wellington Mara suggested Marty should encourage all Giant fans everywhere to start chanting "Let's go Giants" at a key moment in the game. Mara knew many of the fans at Shea were listening on the radio. Marty tried it and Shea Stadium was filled with chants of "Let's go Giants" during a Jets game!

We were lucky in our days at WFUV. Marty Glickman was our broadcasting coach and he worked with us every week. One of the many lessons he taught us was that the broadcast wasn't about us. "The game is the thing," he used to say. That day on the radio Marty and Merle were the thing and I'm glad I had the sense to shut up for a change and let them talk. It's a lesson I should probably re-teach myself when I'm cutting off our guests on Fox every 15 seconds. Of course, if the guests were Marty and Merle, it would be a whole lot easier.

 

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The First Giants-Jets Game

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