Former Colts lineman Joe Staysniak reflects on ’95 Hail Mary, Super Bowl challenges

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Joe Staysniak

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — It was the play that would have sent the Colts to their first Super Bowl since moving to Indianapolis.

It’s sometimes forgotten…unless you were there.

“I remember being step for step watching the ball go into Aaron Bailey’s hands,” says Joe Staysniak.

Joe Staysniak watched firsthand as the Hail Mary pass slipped from Aaron Bailey’s hands. The play ended a magical run for the Colts. The former offensive lineman remembers it well.

“I remember running down there and being with Aaron and saying, ‘Did you catch it, did you catch it?’ He said, ‘Naw.’ I said, ‘Aaron! Lie!'”

Staysniak took a tour around his adoptive hometown just a few days before the Super Bowl. He knows more than most about the big game. Unfortunately, he lost two of them with the Buffalo Bills–the first one when he was just a rookie in 1991 while the country was at war fighting Operation Desert Storm.

“You mention going to your first Super Bowl. I remember everybody watching it. At that time, it was so important to pull everybody together. The patriotism was unmatched,” he said.

Big Joe, as he’s called, understands the emotions the Los Angeles Rams feel right now. He says it’s harder than you can imagine.

“All these emotions, these are guys that you had played with and known for years and your friends…and yet, there were some guys who were so upset, they wanted to fight, and then there were guys crying their eyes out and other guys…you deal with your emotions your own way.”

Joe’s Super Bowl past is never far from his mind this time of year. He still hosts a daily sports talk show on 1070 The Fan and still does interviews in the Colts locker room before games.

He sees some similarities between that 1995 team and the current Colts squad. He knows how just one play can make all the difference.

“In the big game, you have to make the play, when you’ve got the opportunity to do it and it’s up to the coaches to put you in that position to make those plays.”

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