Brandon Bostick found a new friend in Earnest Byner


In the time it took to make one mistake on the football field, Brandon Bostick lost a chance at a Super Bowl and a job.

But he’s at least found a new friend, someone who empathizes with his plight.

In a first-person account for The, Bostick said he was surprised to get a call out of the blue from a man who understands — Earnest Byner.

Byner’s fumble (and not just any fumble, but The Fumble) cost the Browns the 1987 AFC Championship, so he understands the pressure on Bostick after he cost the Packers a shot at the Super Bowl by misplaying an onsides kick.

“In times of adversity you find out who really has your back,” Bostick said. “One guy in particular has been a big help. His name is Earnest Byner, and you may know him as the running back responsible for The Fumble, which cost the Browns the 1987 AFC title.

“Byner called me out of the blue, and now we talk about once or twice a week. His biggest advice: Face your mistake, don’t run from it.”

Bostick will get that chance in Minnesota now, as the Vikings were quick to claim him off waivers, as they do many Packers cast-offs.

“I’m excited to get out there and seize the opportunity, but I know 2015 won’t be easy,” he wrote. “I will still be haunted by that onside kick, and I will still be remembered as the guy who blew a trip to the Super Bowl. That’s just the way it is.

“Even though I will think about it every day, I hope one day I will be remembered for something else. I do know this: If I ever get another chance to play in a conference championship game, no matter what uniform I’m wearing, I will take a moment to apologize to my teammates on the 2014 Packers. I sincerely wish I didn’t jump up for that ball. I wish we were celebrating a Super Bowl right now.”

Byner probably has similar thoughts about the Browns, and has probably told Bostick that the infamy won’t fade anytime soon.

54 responses to “Brandon Bostick found a new friend in Earnest Byner

  1. Although it was a monumental screw-up on his part, he should take solace in the fact it was a complete collapse across the board for the team in that game. The team failed as a whole, alot of other people need to shoulder that blame, starting with the coaches. Oh, and that 2 point conversion that was inexplicably not defensed probably was just as bad.

  2. I remember raising my arms, thinking Byner scored.

    It was hard to see the ball come out but man, what a bummer.

  3. Hahahahahahahaha!!!!
    Viking signed him only for story-time at bed time…
    They are going to get nightly accounts of the biggest choke job in playoff history by the Packers, and how EVERYONE, from the top-down choked, But he got the blame.
    The blame falls only on McLardy!!!

  4. Biggest playoff CHOKE by the WHOLE team, and coaches … just not on Bostick, that I’ve seen in recent memory. The Packers collapsed in every phase of the game, and though I’m not quite sure he’ll make the Vikings finial roster this year … I do wish him the best.


  5. This kid sounds like he has a great attitude. I wish him the best of luck with the Vikings.

    He needs to understand that the Packer fans (me, at least) blame McCarthy for his game-long “play not to lose” mindset for the loss, not one play by one unfortunate player.

    And there was a Keystone Cops sun-moon-and-stars aligned series of circumstances, but I’m over it. It was a missed opportunity and the Packers are positioned well to return to the same opportunity next year. Not many teams can say that and keep a straight face.

    The only people still dwelling on it and the only ones taking satisfaction in it, are the trolls without a life.

    I have one.

  6. Those posters that say that GB collectively lost that game are right. The Seachokes had no business coming back in that game, but GB collectively let them. ‘sokay, they lost their next game in hilarious fashion.

    And Bostick should take comfort in the fact that Byner soldiered on, and helped to power the Redskins to a Super Bowl championship not long after. Just keep getting up and swinging, the rest will work itself out.

  7. Shawn Slocum apparently screamed at the top of his lungs to the hands team, “If your name is not Jordy Nelson or Micah Hyde, do not try to catch the ball!!”

    15 seconds later, Bostick jumps up to try to intercept it from Jordy Nelson, who is in the perfect position to field it.

    I wish him the best, but it was truly one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen on a football field at the worst possible time.

  8. Even if the Packers did recover the onside kick, Super Bowl would’ve been 45-20 Patriots.

    His options are:
    1) Feel down about blowing a Super Bowl bid, or
    2) Feel down about getting blown-out in the Super Bowl.

    Nice options.

  9. Even if the Packers did recover the onside kick, Super Bowl would’ve been 45-20 Patriots.

    His options are:
    1) Feel down about blowing a Super Bowl bid, or
    2) Feel down about getting blown-out in the Super Bowl.

    Nice options.

  10. That was a brutal play for Bostic. its’ one thing to follow your assignment and just fail. it’s another entirely to do the opposite of what you were supposed to do and have disaster strike as a result.
    Good to hear he’s getting his mind right though.
    I hope the best for him long term.

    As for Byner–who’s always a class guy; I still feel bad for the guy every time that play comes up. Cleveland loses by 2 touchdowns if not for how well Byner played in that game.

  11. It’s only “his fault” because it happened at the end. The entire packer team gave that game away. They were ahead by double digits and got crushed in 4-5 minutes.

    I’m glad that his perspective on the situation seems healthy. Great job Byner for helping a young player get his head right.

  12. The one team the Patriots did not want to play in the SuperBowl, was the Packers. The Patriots won the SuperBowl. Congratulations.

    But they didn’t beat the Packers this year. Remember that.

  13. There are a couple of kickers that could join that support group too. Scott Norwood and Gary Anderson coming immediately to mind.

  14. I thought Adrian Peterson was the running back responsible for The Fumble, but it was in the 2009 NFC Championship game. I guess it doesn’t get a name if it happens at the end of the first half instead of at the end of the game, but it’s no less memorable to me.

  15. Byner didn’t just win a Super Bowl with the Redskins (scoring a TD in the big game) during his tenure, he proved to be one of the hardest running Redskins running back ever, second only to John Riggins. I watched almost every Redskins game during the Byner years, and the dude was a freaking stud who, ironically, almost never fumbled.

    If Bostick’s career plays out like Byner’s did, he not only has a very bright future, he’ll be a key reason an NFL team wins a ring.

  16. Ernest Byner, is not responsible for the fumble, He is responsible for the Browns success in those days.
    Cleveland should not have traded him away. One of the great Browns

  17. One play does not lose a game, there were many plays that the packers blew that cost them the game, but it is always real easy to remember the last one. I hope he comes back and plays great against the packers.

  18. The Packers didn’t fire this guy for that one play alone. Bostick was unable to pick up the offense after a couple seasons. He has nobody to blame but himself for his failed run in GB.

  19. Pretty sure that even after the onside kick the Packers D could have tried not allowing Seattle to go down the field like a hot knife through butter. So much easier to point the finger at one guy I guess.

  20. The Packers lost that game for many reasons- not just Bostick’s on-side-kick faux pas.

    If the Packers were out to fire those responsible for that epic choke, they’d start with Mike McCarthy.

  21. Good gesture by Byner. Bostick contributed, but didn’t lose that game, Green Bay did.

    Jackie Smith’s drop in the end zone in a Super Bowl may have left the worst feeling.

  22. This makes me sick to my stomach. Let it go man! Your team did not lose the game on that play alone. They lost it by kicking 2 Fg’s from the 1, falling down after int #4, playing conservative after int #4, blowing coverage on a 2 pt conversion, blowing coverage on a deep ball in OT, and lastly, but most laughably, having John Ryan toss a TD pass on a fake FG! Ginger John Bro!! Just typing this , makes me realize the Packers have a coaching problem. Step off the ledge, and throw McLardbuns off instead!

  23. Bostick is just a footnote to the meltdown that was the McCarthy/Rodgers tango.

    Also, the New England Patriots were the only playoff team that didn’t end their season with an agonizing meltdown. It’s kind of amazing, actually.

  24. “If the Packers were out to fire those responsible for that epic choke, they’d start with Mike McCarthy.”

    You’d quickly run a franchise into the ground with recommendations like this.

    McCarthy is a very good coach and is more responsible for putting Green Bay in the position to win that game than he is for Bostick’s game-losing play or the now-fired Slocum’s inability to defend a fake field goal.

  25. As I recall, had Byner scored and the Browns kicked the extra point, that would simply have tied the game, not won it. No guarantees there. Still, making that call was a classy move by a classy guy. Byner and Mack were a great backfield.

  26. You know, not every fumble is the fault of the ball carrier. Sometimes it’s just a helluva play by the defense! And sometimes stuff happens.

  27. the difference is Byner was supposed to be handling the ball when he made his mistake. Bostick not only dropped it he wasn’t even supposed to be touching it. as a packer fan i’m glad the vikings now have somebody that mentally weak.

  28. Bottom line, Packers were run over those last 3 drives like a speeding train running over a Prius. The onside kick only played a minor part in it.

  29. He received countless death threats, merely reinforcing the fact that so many Packer fans have a hard time maintaining perspective.

  30. ” the running back responsible for The Fumble, which cost the Browns the 1987 AFC title.”

    Actually no, Byner’s potential score would have just tied the game. There would have been over a minute left with 3 time outs to get a FG for John Elway to stick the dagger in the Browns again. Byner just saved the Browns from more late game agony from Elway.

  31. McCarthy gets no credit for 6 straight playoff appearances or the first 55 minutes of that game but gets all the blame for the last 5 minutes… go figure.

    Viking fans know better than anyone else what a choker is right.

  32. tangysizzl says:
    Feb 26, 2015 3:52 PM
    McCarthy gets no credit for 6 straight playoff appearances or the first 55 minutes of that game but gets all the blame for the last 5 minutes… go figure.

    Viking fans know better than anyone else what a choker is right.

    So you’re saying his run,run, pass, punt play calling was appropriate?

  33. Bostick caught like 5 passes in 3 years. The two words that reflect why this guy was cut aren’t “Onside Kick”, they are “Richard Rodgers”, rookie tight end with major upside. No room for special team only players that can’t follow simple instructions.

  34. I love how Viking trolls rip the Packers for “choking”. Yet 30 seconds after the Packers cut the guy who “choked” the vikings sign him. Viking troll will always live vicariously through the Packers. This would explain why they are always going after the Packer cast-offs

  35. C’MON football fans–Bostick wasn’t CUT for the fumbled kickoff recovery, it was a FAILED ASSIGNMENT that he blew AFTER he was specifically told by special teams coach Shawn Slocum–NOBODY but Micah Hyde or Jordy Nelson was to go after the kick–Bostick and everybody else was to BLOCK for the ‘hands’ players. Bostick FAILED to do what he was told and his job as a TE has been in jeopardy all season because of failure to accomplish much on the field. He was expected to step up as the next starter IF he presented competition for Andrew Quarless but was outplayed by both Quarless and rookie Richard Rodgers. It was obvious to management he’s not the answer at TE at this point and it was magnified by his failure to do what he was instructed on that flawed recovery.

  36. Packers fans, take solace in fact the Pack LOST the game, the Hawks didn’t win it. IF Burnett had ran the 10-20 available yards AFTER the INT before taking knee or going out of bounds, Rodgers could’ve gotten them just a few yards closer and Crosby’s FG right there would’ve made the last TYING FG, the WINNING FG instead. McCarthy’s willingness to run Lacy 3 times vs. 9 MEN in the box to stop it, forced Packers to punt instead of moving ball just a few yds. closer to a Crosby kick. McCarthy’s not willing to attack as much as trying to get a lead and sit on it–once again it cost Packers a game they should’ve won.

  37. These are two totally different situations… on one hand you have a RB running the ball…(i.e. his job) on the other you have a backup TE overstepping his assignment…(i.e. not doing his job) So please tell me how these compare… best of luck to the guy… I only hope he learned to do his job… and good luck in those horrible purple uniforms!!!

  38. I think Earnest Byner is a truly inspirational fellow. It’d be one thing if the Browns had a few AFC championships post-fumble, but it’s been a dark age in Cleveland for decades now. I’d imagine that it’d be a lot to bear for someone who once worked so hard for the team to succeed. It should mean a lot to Bostick for Byner to reach out.

    It’s easy for an organization to pin its failures on one single person while the team remains blissfully unaware of the series of failures that led them to that point of desperation.
    If you’re playing in a championship game and you’re relying on one single play from the opposing team to dictate the momentum of the game, then you have failed. The only theory I could honestly give for why these mishaps occur, and this definitely applies to what happened during “The Fumble”, is that the players and coaching staff drop their guard when they think the game is in the bag.

    Best of luck to Bostick! The one thing Byner definitely is able to share is the importance of resiliency as it’s better to redeem yourself by using the failures of life as fuel to rise above than to bury yourself six feet under.

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