You played, you indicated earlier that you decided not to go into professional baseball, but to concentrate solely on pro football.
That is true, because I already made a commitment with the Cardinals as I said. I had a contract that baseball could not match really. Back then, baseball wasn’t a really high paid profession, unless you established yourself in the league and played three, four years, then you could command a pretty good salary, but if I started out in baseball back then, I would have probably made about $10,000 compared to $25,000. I could see the difference.
Talk to us. Describe the Dream Backfield of the Chicago Cardinals. You did win the NFL Championship that first year. Talk about that.
The Dream Backfield was a group of men that we all pulled for each other. We had a good chemistry between us, and we enjoyed watching each guy do good on the football field. And we always felt, regardless who scored, the team scored, and we never looked back and say one guy won the game or lost the game. We were a team, and that is the way we played as the Dream Backfield, and as I said, we enjoyed watching each of us do good on the field, and, of course, when you win the National Football Championship, that is about the best prize you can get in professional football. And the following year, actually, we had a better team in ‘48, and we lost in the championship game in Philadelphia. We played in a foot of snow almost. You couldn’t even see the lines, and the officials improvised the game as we went out. They would say first down. So what? So what? You couldn’t say measure it, because you couldn’t see the lines. So it wasn’t really a football game actually. What the commissioner should have done then, and he was there, he should have called the game off and said this is not a football game. Here we are, we played all year to reach that point and then play under those conditions, and the fans got cheated too, because it was really a push and pull, and we lost that game 7-0 and it really wasn’t an exhibition of football.
Who was the coach of the Cardinals, and who was in the Dream Backfield?
Well, our coach was Jimmy Conzelman, quite an individual. Sharp, sharp individual, and the Dream Backfield had Paul Christman from Missouri was our quarterback. Elmer Angsman from …well, actually, Marshall Goldberg started out as part of the Dream Backfield, but then he went to defense. Marshall played at Pittsburgh, but Elmer Angsman was a Notre Dame ballplayer. Pat Harder was from Wisconsin, and, of course, then I played from Georgia. That was the makeup of the team.
And you all ended up playing the Philadelphia Eagles…
Twice in the championship games, yes. We reached the championship plateau two years in a row.
So you thought that was the way it ought to be every year, didn’t you?
Boy, I was fooled, but you know when you win like that you become more susceptible to being beaten because everybody likes to beat a champion.
Right. It is fun to win.
You are not kidding!
You played nine seasons for Chicago?
Nine seasons and coached five years with them. So, actually, I spent fourteen years with them.
Did you enjoy coaching?
And then came to Georgia and coached here a little.
And then I coached here five years.
Now, do I have it right? Weren’t you the head baseball coach here?
Yes, two years I coached baseball.
That is great.