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The NFL Player Who Scored for the Other Team

NFL lineman Jim Marshall was part of the revered “Purple People Eater” Minnesota Viking defensive line. For twenty seasons he never missed a game, earning a reputation for toughness and reliability. On October 25, 1964, playing against the San Francisco 49ers, Marshall recovered a fumble in the fourth quarter and ran untouched for sixty-six yards to the end zone.

After crossing the goal line, he tossed the ball away and began celebrating. Imagine his surprise when an opposing player trotted up, patted him on the back, and thanked him. Marshall suddenly realized that he was standing in the wrong end zone. He had just scored a safety, giving two points to the 49ers. The Vikings still won that day, thanks to eight total turnovers from the 49ers.

On the return flight to Minnesota, teammates ribbed Marshall, who said he simply got confused. “They kept telling me to get up in the cockpit and fly the plane. That way we'd end up in Hawaii instead of Minnesota.”

In football, as in much of life, it doesn’t matter that you’re doing something earnestly if you aren’t doing the right thing.

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