The picture, taken 50 years and one month ago at Yankee Stadium, remains in homes and gathering places all over Philadelphia: Chuck Bednarik standing over a prone Frank Gifford, his right arm high in the air in celebration, a 1960 version of a fist pump.
To many Philadelphians, it represents the ultimate crushing of New York.
To New Yorkers, it represents the ultimate in cheap shots, a blow that put Gifford, the Giants' star running back, out not only for that season but also the next.
In fact, it is was a perfectly legal hit, even by today's far more stringent standards -- a blow to the ribs that was so hard that it knocked Gifford's head to the ground, causing a concussion.
As the Giants and Eagles prepare to meet Sunday tied for the lead in the NFC East, it represents one of the few times in that era when Philadelphia was superior to New York, the defining play of the first of back-to-back wins over the perennial Eastern Conference champions that eventually led to a win in the NFL's championship game over Vince Lombardi's Packers.
It turned out to be the last NFL championship the Eagles won, one reason for the continuing frustration in Philly despite five division titles, five trips to championship games and one to a Super Bowl and a 127-79-1 record in the nearly 12 seasons Andy Reid has coached the team.
"The other teams in the division have won Super Bowls. The Eagles haven't. That's why the people here refer back to that game, '' says Ken Safarovic, Bednarik's son-in-law.
In the last 30 years, the Redskins, Giants and Cowboys all have three Super Bowl victories and the Cowboys have two more from the 1970s. The Eagles have bundles or regular-season wins, but no trophies, so even though that 127-79-1, is the second-best record in the NFL to New England over that period, it doesn't cut it, especially since the hated side from the hated city less than two hours away won a title just three years ago.
Thus the iconic status of Bednarik, now 85. And the even more iconic status of that picture of the NFL's last two-way player -- he played every snap at center and linebacker in the 17-13 title game win over the Packers at Franklin Field -- standing over Gifford with his fist raised. "Not 60 minutes, just 58 1/2 minutes,'' he says. "I didn't play on the punt and kickoff teams.''
There were no wild cards in the '50s, when Bednarik and Gifford were at the peak of their Hall of Fame careers. You won your conference -- East or West -- or you went home.
In the Eastern Conference, the Eagles were afterthoughts for most of a decade that was dominated by the Cleveland Browns (coached by Paul Brown and starring Otto Graham and Jim Brown) and the Giants, who won in 1956, 1958 and 1959, beating the Bears for the NFL title the first year and then losing in 1958 and 1959 to Baltimore, the "West's'' misplaced team. The 1958 loss is still the most remembered game in NFL history -- "the greatest game ever played'' -- because it was the first to go to overtime, where it was won by John Unitas and the Colts, 23-17.
Bednarik, though he played center and linebacker, was best known for his defense on teams that were 3-8-1 in 1956, 4-8 and 2-9-1 the next year.
They became respectable at 7-5 in 1959, a year after they obtained Norm Van Brocklin, one of the game's premier quarterbacks, from the Los Angeles Rams. Bednarik anchored the defense and Buck Shaw, one of the era's better coaches, took over the same year Philadelphia obtained Van Brocklin.
But many Philadelphians who remember that squad concede it was a team built for the short term -- it was Van Brocklin's last season (a young Sunny Jurgensen became the QB the next year) and Bednarik was 35. Some of the offensive players were younger -- Clarence Peaks averaged 5.4 yards a carry but missed five games with injuries and Tommy McDonald and Pete Retzlaff, the star wide receivers, were both in their fourth season.
"I went into the season thinking 'If we can't win with these guys, we'll never win,' '' Bednarik said this week.
The Eagles lost their opener to Cleveland, 41-24, in Cleveland and barely beat the first-year expansion Dallas Cowboys 27-25 in Week Two. That was the first of six straight wins going into consecutive games against the Giants -- at Yankee Stadium on Nov. 20 and at Franklin Field in Philadelphia a week later.
The Giants were 5-1-1, half-a-game behind the Eagles, at the start of that series, so they needed to win both games to take over first place.
The Giants had a 10-0 lead at the half but the Eagles tied it on a 35-yard pass from Van Brocklin to McDonald and a 12-yard field goal by Bobby Walston (goalposts were on the goal line then). Then, late in the fourth quarter, Jimmy Carr caught a fumble in the air and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown and it was 17-10 Eagles.
Back came the Giants.
George Shaw, subbing at quarterback for the injured Charlie Conerly, hit Gifford out of the backfield over the middle and Bednarik slammed into him 15 yards downfield, hitting him in the ribs. Gifford's head hit the ground and he immediately lost conciousness.
"Down and in. They're dangerous. That's like a Volkswagen going down a one-way street and a Mack Truck is coming the other way,'' Bednarik says.
What caused the biggest ruckus was the picture of Bednarik, the Mack Truck, giving the impression, particularly in New York, that he was celebrating the unconscious state of his rival's star player. "I thought he had killed him,'' said Sam Huff, New York's middle linebacker.
Celebration. Yes, because Bednarik's teammate Chuck Weber had recovered the ball to clinch the game.
Celebrating the injury? No way, says Bednarik, who in later years joked about it with Gifford. Gifford? He still doesn't like to talk about it, in part because during his long stint as the play-by-play man on "Monday Night Football," he was constantly ribbed about it by Howard Cosell.
"I was thinking 'this f---in game is over,'' Bednarik says. "It appears from the picture that I was gloating over him. I wasn't gloating over him. I had no idea he was there.''
The Eagles won the next week, finished 10-2 and cruised to the conference title before beating the Packers in the title game. But Shaw quit and Van Brocklin retired and Philly spent 20 years in mediocrity before Dick Vermeil arrived and took them to the Super Bowl following the 1980 season with a quarterback named Ron Jaworski. They lost to the Raiders, then lost the Super Bowl to the Patriots in 2005 while the other teams in the NFC East were collecting those titles.
Thus the frustration in Philly and the hope that maybe Michael Vick and his speedy cohorts can end the drought. They've beaten the Giants five straight times going into Sunday's game just as the Giants had beaten them seven times in a row before Bednarik hit Gifford.
"It was the most important play and tackle in my life,'' Bednarik says. "They were from the big city. The glamor boys. The guys who got written up in all the magazines. But I thought we were the better team.''
For that year, they certainly were.