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Speed Dial: Most grueling game

6/26/2010

Let's have another "Speed Dial," where I call three people from my Rolodex to get their insight on a particular subject.

Today's question: After watching John Isner and Nicolas Mahut play their epic, 11-hour Wimbledon match, "What do you recall from the most grueling game you played in?"

Former Miami Dolphins tight end Joe Rose, who caught two touchdown passes in the epic, January 1982 overtime playoff loss to the San Diego Chargers:

"If you're ever sitting around at a sports bar and you run into somebody who was at that game, you have two hours of stuff to talk about. That was a friggin' hot night. The guys were cramping up. On that second touchdown, I got clipped going into the end zone, and I cramped up like everybody else. Of course, we weren't hydrated like the guys are today.

"I remember seeing Kellen Winslow get helped off the field, like, 20 times. It was tough, especially on their guys because they weren't used to the humidity in South Florida. The game was wide open. The numbers were crazy. It was a track meet. We were so far down, we had to throw the ball every down to catch up. We weren't a throwing team at that time.

"Emotionally afterward, the season was over. It was one of the toughest losses I've ever experienced. We thought we had the game and then the season is done. It was emotionally draining. I remember the next day being absolutely depressed."

 

Former New York Jets defensive lineman Joe Klecko on a 1983 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Shea Stadium:

"It was a knock down, drag out. It was a game they had to win, and we were hoping to win to get into the playoffs. The Steelers were a bruising team. They were the kind of team that when you woke up on Monday morning, you knew you were in a war. I remember the game being extra heavy because of who they were. We were a young team and up and coming, but we didn't really know where we were yet. This was a big test for us.

"I faced Mike Webster all game. I didn't get a break anywhere I went. I remember going into the complex for ice baths for two days. It was the toughest game I've ever been in. You don't recover for a couple weeks, and if you play a smash-mouth game two weeks in a row, it would take its toll. A game like that, it's a two- or three-week recovery."

 

Former Buffalo Bills receiver Andre Reed, who scored three second-half touchdowns to help overcome a 32-point deficit and eliminate the Houston Oilers in overtime in January 1993:

"Every time we played Miami down there in the heat it was grueling. I never played a game like the Chargers and the Dolphins. That game was for the ages. I'd probably have to go with the Comeback Game against Houston. It was exhausting, mentally challenging. We had to grind, coming back like that.

"Every play it was a track meet, bro. That was our offense. They used to call the St. Louis Rams the "Greatest Show on Turf." We were the "Greatest Show in Football." We were non-stop. We were trying to run people out of the stadium. We were getting run out of our own stadium that game. Jim Kelly wasn't even in that game. I sat in the training room for a little while. I probably played in more-physical games, but that game was a mental drain."