Holy Roller (American football)
In American football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

, "the Holy Roller" (known as "the Immaculate Deception" by San Diego Chargers fans) is the nickname given to a controversial game-winning play by the Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders are a professional American football team based in Oakland, California. They currently play in the Western Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League...

 against the San Diego Chargers
San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers are a professional American football team based in San Diego, California. they were members of the Western Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League...

 on September 10, 1978. The game was played at the Chargers' home field, Jack Murphy or San Diego Stadium (now Qualcomm Stadium
Qualcomm Stadium
Qualcomm Stadium is a multi-purpose stadium, in San Diego, California, in the Mission Valley area....

). There have been differing interpretations of how the play should have been ruled, and it has remained a controversial play for fans of both teams involved.

The play

With 10 seconds left in the game, the Raiders had possession of the ball at the Chargers' 14-yard line, trailing 20-14. Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler
Ken Stabler
Kenneth "Kenny" Michael Stabler , is a former American football quarterback in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders , the Houston Oilers , and the New Orleans Saints...

 took the snap and found himself about to be sacked
Quarterback sack
In American football and Canadian football, a sack occurs when the quarterback is tackled behind the line of scrimmage before he can throw a forward pass, or when the quarterback is tackled behind the line of scrimmage in the "pocket" and the intent of what he was going to do is unclear...

 by Chargers linebacker Woodrow Lowe
Woodrow Lowe
Woodrow Lowe , is a former professional American football linebacker who played from 1976-1986 for the San Diego Chargers in the National Football League...

 on the 24-yard line. Stabler fumbled the ball forward, and it rolled towards the San Diego goal line. Running back Pete Banaszak
Pete Banaszak
Pete Banaszak is a former player of college and professional American football. A running back, he played college football at the University of Miami, and played professionally in the American Football League for the Oakland Raiders from 1966 through 1969, and for the NFL Raiders through...

 appeared to try to recover the ball on the 12-yard line, but could not keep his footing, and pitched the ball with both hands even closer to the end zone. Raiders tight end
Tight end
The tight end is a position in American football on the offense. The tight end is often seen as a hybrid position with the characteristics and roles of both an offensive lineman and a wide receiver. Like offensive linemen, they are usually lined up on the offensive line and are large enough to be...

 Dave Casper
Dave Casper
David John Casper , nicknamed "The Ghost." is a former American football player. He was an offensive lineman and tight end.-High school:...

 was the next player to reach the ball but he also evidently could not get a handle on it. He batted and kicked the ball into the end zone, where he fell on it for the game-tying touchdown as time ran out. With the ensuing extra point by placekicker Errol Mann
Errol Mann
Errol Denis Mann is a former American football placekicker who played in the National Football League from 1968-1978. He was a member of the Oakland Raiders' Super Bowl XI winning team...

, the Raiders won, 21-20.

During the play, the game officials ruled that Banaszak and Casper's actions were legal because it was impossible to determine if they intentionally batted the ball forward, which would have been ruled a penalty. The National Football League
National Football League
The National Football League is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing...

 (NFL) also supported referee Jerry Markbreit
Jerry Markbreit
Jerry Markbreit is a former American football referee in the National Football League for 23 seasons and became one of the most recognizable referees in the game. Markbreit officiated football games for 43 seasons. From 1965 to 1975, Markbreit officiated college football games in the Big Ten...

's call that Stabler fumbled the ball instead of throwing a forward pass.

However, Stabler's fumble was deliberate. "I fumbled it on purpose,” he said after the game. “Yes, I was trying to fumble.”
Banaszak and Casper also admitted that they deliberately batted the ball towards the end zone.

The San Diego Chicken was performing at this game. After Dave Casper recovered the winning touchdown in the end zone, the Chicken fell on the ground and lay motionless as though he'd been shot.

In response to the Holy Roller, the league passed new rules in the offseason, restricting fumble recoveries by the offense. If a player fumbles forward after the two-minute warning
Two-minute warning
In the National Football League, the two-minute warning is given when two minutes of game time remain on the game clock in each half of a game, i.e. near the end of the second and fourth quarters. There is an additional two-minute warning in the rare event only two minutes remain in an overtime...

 in a half, or on fourth down at any time during the game, only the fumbling player can recover and advance the ball. If that player's teammate recovers the ball during those situations, it is placed back at the spot of the fumble.

The NBC Sports
NBC Sports
NBC Sports is the sports division of the NBC television network. Formerly "a service of NBC News," it broadcasts a diverse array of programs, including the Olympic Games, the NFL, the NHL, MLS, Notre Dame football, the PGA Tour, the Triple Crown, and the French Open, among others...

 broadcast of this play (with Jim Simpson
Jim Simpson (sportscaster)
Jim Simpson is a retired American sportscaster, known for his smooth delivery as a play-by-play man and his versatility in covering many different sports. In 1997, he won the Sports Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2000 he was inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...

 and Paul Warfield
Paul Warfield
Paul Dryden Warfield is a former professional American football wide receiver in the 1960s and 1970s known for his speed, fluid moves, grace, jumping ability and hands.- Football career :...

 on the call) has been made available for viewing on YouTube
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos....



See also

  • NFL lore - Famous and infamous moments in NFL history
  • Immaculate Reception
    Immaculate Reception
    The Immaculate Reception is the nickname given to one of the most famous plays in the history of American football. It occurred in the AFC divisional playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on December 23, 1972...

    - The Holy Roller's alternative nickname, "Immaculate Deception," is a play on words based on the name given to this famous play.


External links

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