The Cleveland Browns are playing in Minnesota on Sunday, so Ahmed Rashad is ready to ask even more questions about one of the most famous plays in Vikings history.
On December 14, 1980, at Metropolitan Stadium, the Vikings defeated the Browns 28–23 when the wide receiver caught a game-winning 46-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass from Tommy Kramer in the final game of the game. Rashad became a successful broadcaster following his retirement from the NFL after the 1982 season, and he still hears about “Miracle at the Met”.
“I probably had about a million people tell me they were in that game,” Rashad laughed in a phone interview Thursday. “It was one of the great highlights of my football career that I will never forget, and I share it with every fan in Minnesota.”
Sunday will be the Browns’ sixth appearance in Minnesota since the 1980 game, their last win at the Metrodome in 2013, a 31-27 victory. So Rashad wouldn’t be surprised if that catch featured during Sunday’s CBS broadcast from US Bank Stadium is a highlight.
In fact, it could have featured two highlights as the drama before Rashad’s reception was too dramatic.
Trailing 23-22, the Vikings held on to their 20-yard line with 14 seconds remaining. In the first play of the drive, Kramer threw a pass from the middle to the tight end of Joe Senser, who would later go on to drive back Ted Brown in the Vikings 27, and he ran out of bounds and left flank in the Cleveland 46 by five seconds. Remanent.
“I had an injury and I didn’t practice that whole week when he played the hook-and-lateral game,” Rashad said. “So I didn’t even know what that play was when Tommy called it. I thought it was a Hail Mary, and I went down the field as far as you can throw it, and I ran full speed And I heard everyone cheering and I thought (Kramer) threw the ball and I’m trying to find the ball. Then I see Ted Brown running out of bounds on the other side.”
With time for just one more game, Kramer called up Squadron Wright. His pass was blown into the air by Brown’s safety Thom Darden, then Rashad caught it before falling from the right side of the end zone for the win, which wrapped up NFC Central in the next-to-last game of the season. .
“We had a chance to win and I hoped to take advantage of it,” Rashad said. “When I was running down the field, I knew I would find that ball anywhere. It was an amazing moment, and I always hear about it from Vikings fans.”
After ending his career two years later, Rashad joined NBC. He became a household name during the 1990s when he befriended Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan, and had a hand as a broadcaster for the Bulls’ remarkable run of six NBA championships.
For years, Rashad has lived across the street from Jordan in Jupiter, Fla., and they regularly watch Vikings games together on television. The two ardent golf fans regularly participate in the Ryder Cup together, including in America’s impressive 19-9 win over Europe last weekend in Kohler, Wis.
“It was great to see the Americans win because we’ve been to so many Ryder Cups where they didn’t win,” he said. “But this time, he put it all together.”
During the NBC broadcast, Rashad was featured with Jordan several times. And later this fall, Rashad will get more air time on the Game Show Network.
Rashad will be hosting a show “Tug of War” starting November 4. He called it “a lot of fun and a lot of laughs”, having recently spent almost a month in Los Angeles taping 70 episodes, which is a full season.