TWO RIVAL PRO GRID LEAGUES MOVE CLOSER TO A SETTLEMENT
DECEMBER 20 (Philadelphia) - There was no peace on the far fling professional football front Tuesday but prospects for a settlement of the three year war were brighter than ever before. One crystal clear fact emerged from the meeting between representatives of the NFL and the All-America Conference here over the weekend: Both leagues are genuinely interested in trying to find a solution to their problem. They did not solve it after 12 hours of discussions Monday, but they could hardly be expected to settle something of three years' standing in 12 hours. It was the first formal meeting between the two leagues since the All-America conference was formed in 1946. More meetings will undoubtedly follow and each will probably bring the rivals closer together. There is a strong possibility that within a month the two will have had a meeting of minds. Most difference were apparently ironed out here. It was agreed that the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco Forty-niners enter the National leaguee, that the Boston Yankees move to New York with Jim Breuil of the Buffalo Bills as a partner of Ted Collins, that Dan Reeves' Los Angeles Rams and Ben Lindheimer's Los Angeles Dons amalgamate, and that the Chicago Rockets and New York Yankees disband. The long stumbling block, and a big one, was Baltimore. National league owners do not want Baltimore. It would give them 13 teams and create an impossible problem in dividing the reorganized league into two equal divisions. American league owners, having made ironclad commitments, cannot, however, how they can drop Baltimore. They countered with the proposition that both Baltimore and the Los Angeles Dons be admitted into the National league in addition to Cleveland and San Francisco, the Dons separate from the Rams, which would give Los Angeles two teams, and that the National league operate as a 14 team league instead of a 12. George Marshall, whose Washington Redskins play only 60 miles from Baltimore, was said to have vigorously led the fight against Baltimore's inclusion. George Halas of the Chicago Bears later was asked point blank if Baltimore was the "holdup" in a settlement. "I'd rather not discuss that," he said. "All I can say is that we had a nice meeting and friendly relations were established." All of the details and most of the comment on the meeting were presented by NFL publicist Joseph Labrum in a formal statement which said: "Representatives of the NFL and the All-America conference concluded a meeting in Philadelphia Monday night. Efforts by both sides to formulate a mutually satisfactory agreement were not consummated. The committee terminated the meeting with the expectation that future meetings might provide some formula for a common understanding, between the two leagues." Neither league commissioner - Bell of the NFL nor Admiral Jonas Ingram of the AAC - would comment on the negotiations.
DWORSKY, MICHIGAN, IS DRAFTED BY PACKERS
DECEMBER 18 (Philadelphia) - The Green Bay Packers
picked Stan Heath of Nevada, Dan Dworsky of Michigan
and Bob Summerhays, Utah halfback, as their first three
choices at the "secret" meeting in Pittsburgh a month ago,
it was announced here Tuesday as National league
coaches and owners got together to complete their annual
draft. All three have already been approached, it is
understood, and while none have signed, all have
promised they would as soon as they have completed
their participation in college sports. Ben Bendrick of
Wausau, Wis., Wisconsin fullback, was picked by the
Chicago Bears, and Terry Brennan of Milwaukee, Notre
Dame halfback, bu the Philadelphia Eagles. The Boston
Yanks drafted Doak Walker of Southern Methodist and the
Detroit Lions Johnny Rauch of Georgia, then swapped the
rights to the stars in the first big deal of the session. A Lion
spokesman said the club already had two good passers
in Clyde LeForce and Fred Enke and needed a runner like
Walker. On the other hand, Boston badly needed a passer.
Rauch tossed the Georgia Bulldogs to one of their most
successful seasons this year. The draft meeting opened at
10 o'clock. Only the Los Angeles Rams' selection list was
not disclosed immediately. The draft will continue until
each club has picked 30 men.
WHY ADD THE WEAK? ASKS NATIONAL LEAGUE
DECEMBER 21 (Philadelphia) - A spokesman for the NFL
came up with the answer Wednesday as to why his league
and the All-America conference did not come to terms at
their weekend peace meetings here. The spokeman, who asked that his name be withheld, epigramatically put it this way: "There is no way of strengthening the strong by adding the weak." His reference was to the insistence of the All-America conference that Baltimore be included in any reorganization plan. It was this above everything else that kept the two leagues from getting together. The spokesman pointed out that the Boston Yanks of the NFL lost between $15,000 and $20,000 the day they played the Chicago Bears in Boston and added that undoubtedly some All-America teams experienced similar losses. "Now, if we added Baltimore, we'd have another weak sister," he said. "What do you suppose would happen if Baltimore played the Yanks? It just wouldn't be good business. The National league doesn't have a thing against Baltimore. We think it's a great town for football. But we don't think a 40 mile metropolitan area of less than 2,000,000 people (Washington and Baltimore) can support two teams. Our Washington club couldn't do any better financially. It has made money in its last 28 games. A Baltimore franchise in our league would certainly hurt Washington. That's the way it is now. Maybe in a couple of years, the picture will be different and we'll be anxious to take Baltimore into our league. Not now, though." Meanwhile, the attempt of two rival leagues to reach an understanding has not been abandoned. There were strong suggestions from owners in both leagues that all the differences which still remain might be resolved at meetings to be held within the next few weeks. Commissioner Bert Bell of the National league said that he was "definitely hopeful" that peace could be attained. At the same time he issued a statement in which he said that George Preston Marshall, Washington Redskins' president, was not involved in the difficulties surrounding the Baltimore franchise. Some observers assumed that Marshall's objections caused that impasse. "Regardless of what has been said or written," Bell said. "Mr. Marshall at the meeting requested to be kept out of any discission of the Baltimore controversy. Nine members went on record as opposed to Baltimore, and Mr. Marshall, at his own request, did not enter into any discussion regarding the matter." Bell admitted that he would meet Ben Lindheimer (owner of the Los Angeles Dons and chairman of the All-America's peace delegation) in Chicago within a day or two to resume negotiations. "We'll see George Halas then and do some more talking," he said. The National league, meanwhile, completed its draft here Tuesday. The All-America conference did the same in Cleveland. Because of the outside chance that the leagues will not get together, most clubs declined to reveal their full draft lists. The Green Bay Packers announced only their first three choices. In Cleveland the Chicago Rockets announced they had drafted Stan Heath.
BROOKLYN THROUGH, SAYS NEW YORK NEWS
DECEMBER 21 (New York) - The New York Daily News said Wednesday that the Brooklyn football Dodgers of the All-America conference would not operate as a football team in 1949. The News said it had "definitely learned that the Dodgers will drop their All-America franchise regardless of how the pro grid muddle eventually irons itself out." The article predicted that all Dodger players "will be thrown in a talent pool for the hybrid team that eventually will operate out of Yankee stadium."
PEACE NEAR - 49ERS OWNER
DECEMBER 24 (San Francisco) - As Anthony J. (Tony) Morabito see its, "the door is open for peace" between the two warring professional football loops, the All-America Conference and the National League. Morabito is owner of the San Francisco 49ers of the AAC. "The two leagues are in disagreement on only a few points," Morabito said, "and it shouldn't take too many more meetings before cooperation is reached on even those points." With reference to NFL Commissioner Bert Bell's expressed hopes for peace before the next National League meeting in January, Morabito said: "If peace isn't declared within 30 days, it'll probably be so late that the 1949 seasonal plans will have gone to the extent that they can't be called off. In that event, the All-America Conference would play with its eight teams again."