Remembering “The Play”

January 18th, 2006 by Tim Barkow

Here’s a great story from a 2002 issue of Stanford Magazine that revisits the most famous play in college football (especially if you’ve ever lived in the Bay Area). The writer caught up with several of the people involved, coaches, players, band members from both Cal and Stanford. It’s an interesting look back, and it’s always fascinating to see how people’s lives turned out afterwards.

WHEN HE WAS A FOOTBALL PLAYER at Cal, Kevin Moen had an opinion of Stanford Band members similar to that of most people from Berkeley: “I thought they were a bunch of flakes.” Until he ran into one.

His name was Gary Tyrrell, a trombonist and engineering major who wound up on the Memorial Stadium turf after Moen plowed into him in the end zone on November 20, 1982. The famous collision has become the most enduring image of “the Play,” in which a desperate Cal team, trailing 20-19, returned a kickoff and lateraled its way through the Stanford team—and Band—to defeat Stanford as time expired. In those frenetic few seconds, lives were changed, dreams were made and dashed, the Big Game was put on the national sports map, and two men were forever linked in Cal-Stanford lore.


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