NEWS AND NOTES
OFFICIATING WORST HE'S SEEN - PARKER
NOVEMBER 25 (Detroit) - Buddy Parker, coach of the Detroit Lions, Thursday night called the officiating at Thursday's Detroit-Green Bay game "the worst I have
seen in 20 years of pro football." Parker, who started his
professional career as a fullback with the Lions in 1934,
made the angry comment on a television program. The
veteran coach's statement was doubly unusual in that
his team won the nationally televised game, 28-24, and
virtually clinched its third straight Western Division title.
Parker, apparently angered by a series of offside
penalties against Detroit, suggested "it might be a idea
to have a special TV program for officials who like to
parade in front of the cameras." The team of officials,
who usually works the league's nationally televised
Saturday night games, include William Downes,
referee; Joseph Connell, umpire; Louis Palazzi, head
linesman; Henry Wisenbaum, back judge and Sam
SCOUTS PEG ROTE 'MOST FEARED' QUARTERBACK
NOVEMBER 27 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Take it from a NFL
scout - Green Bay's Tobin Rote is the most feared
quarterback in the pro ranks. "It's frustrating to map a
defense against Rote. He's a good passer, but what
makes him doubly dangerous is his running ability. No
other quarterback in this league can step out of the
pocket and run like Rote. He can kill you because a
defense never exactly knows what Tobin is going to do."
Taking in Detroit, Thursday, was Chuck Drulis, assistant
coach of the Packers last season who was scouting the
Lions for the Eagles, their next opponent. Rote, a one-
man team if ever there was one, handled the ball on 98
plays, passing for one touchdown and scoring another.
He was masked and taped to protect his broken nose
and bruised shoulder. "Tobin was quite dejected, losing
this one," said Coach Liz Blackbourn Friday. "He played
a tremendous game, but what a bad day our receivers
had." Blackbourn revealed that Rote is in better physical
condition now than since the day he broke his nose in
Chicago several weeks ago. His charley horse in his leg
is not jammed - an indication that more running is
a-comin. "We went over to Detroit to win this one," said
Liz of the Packers' sixth too-close defeat. "Frankly, I
didn't believe it would be that close with our defensive
secondary weakened." Val Joe Walker was sidelined with
a wrenched knee and Gene White missed his fourth
game because of a back injury. Both will be available for
the 49ers game in San Francisco December 5. "We didn't
use anything difference on Detroit this time," added
Blackbourn. "But it was line which must have bothered
the Lions mostly. It played its bruising best. And did you
know John Martinkovic had a touch of the flu Wednesday
night? I wasn't going to use him, but what a game he
played!" Coach Buddy Parker of the Lions singled out
Roger Zatkoff and Clayton Tonnemaker as the best
linebackers in the business. The Packers' first touchdown
was scored on a pitchout from Tobin Rote to Breezy Reid
who praced 48 yards for the score. Al Carmichael was
sent out as a flanker and did not lateral to Reid as was
previously reported. Blackbourn gave his club a four-day
holiday before setting strategy and drills Monday for his
West Coast invasion.
LIONS DON'T QUALIFY AS GRACIOUS WINNERS
- EMPHASIZE 'BAD' DAYS - NO CREDIT TO PACKERS
NOVEMBER 27 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Following
Detroit's 21-17 victory over the Packers at Green Bay
last Sunday, a member of the Lions' official family was
heard to predict: "We had a terrible day. We'll annihilate
those guys Thursday." The inference was obvious. The
Packers didn't belong on the same field with the Lions,
who were overconfident and nowhere near up for that one.
Came Thursday and another thriller that the Packers
finally lost, again by four points, after threatening to win it
right down to the final gun. So what came out of Detroit?
A news service story that emphasized the "bad game the
Lions got our of their system" and explained that the
champions played "loosely on both offense and defense"
and were "dull and unimaginative." And some lusty
screaming by Coach Buddy Parker about the officiating - "the worst I have seen in 20 years of pro football." According to the only specific part of the report, Buddy "apparently was angered by a series of offside penalties against Detroit." Significantly, he made no mention of the serious penalties dished out to the Packers in key spots for roughing the kicker and passer. It would have been interesting, too, to have the coach build up a "we were robbed" case out of the pass interference call against Carl Karilivacz, especially after publication of a picture in a Detroit paper showing the Lion defender hooking Max McGee's arm. In other words, the Packers were a lucky bunch of stiffs. Lucky they caught the Lions in a charitable, unimaginative mood and playing completely uninspired ball - not once, but twice over a four day span. Lucky they had the officials on their side. That's just plain silly on two counts. In the first place, winners serve their own purpose best in graciously giving the losers a pat on the back. No. 2: It isn't true that the games were close only because the Lions had an off day each time. The Packers had a lot to with that "off" business. All of which points to some underlying danger signs for the entire organization. The Lions have a fine football team but they have yet to prove they are blood relatives of Superman. They can be run and passed against. They can be tackled and blocked. Others are just as smart and fast and tough as they are. The day they start thinking otherwise, the day they get the idea the other team should pay to get in - that day can mean the beginning of the end. Bigger and better organizations have collapsed under their own weight. Maybe they're all overwhelmed by the tremendous attendance in recent years. Sure, they've packed 'em in. But they shouldn't forget the not too distant past when crowds of fifteen to twenty thousand weren't unknown the Auto City. Watching a game over television, it is impossible, of course, to pass judgment on individual calls. But I had the feeling that the officiating was the best I've seen in the pro league this year from the standpoint of mechanics. Referee Bill Downes and his co-workers gave signals clearly, spotted the ball accurately, kept the game moving and apparently were decisive in everything they did. A coach doesn't always agree with an official's judgment. Liz Blackbourn, for instance, probably questioned the roughing the kicker foul called against the Packers when Jug Girard was bumped and decked as an incidental part of a near block. Had a righto to question it, too. When it's all over, however, a fairminded coach usually looks only at the total job. Was it snappy or sloppy? Did the officials have the game under control? Did they call 'em as they saw 'em? If the coach's answer to himself is yes in each case, as a rule he soft-pedals difference of opinion in judgment matters.
'CALIFORNIA HERE WE COME', PACKERS CHANT
NOVEMBER 30 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - The Packers went back to work Monday preparing for the 49ers at San Francisco Sunday, and the oddsmakers promptly installed the West Coast club a 7 1/2 point favorite. It could be they're figuring the 49ers will be boiling after falling flat on their dignity at Baltimore Sunday, losing to the hapless Colts, 17-13. Coach Liz Blackbourn's troopers, addicted to losing the close ones too often, should be ripe to steal some paydirt glory. They have never found success in 49er territory. Physically, the Packers should be in good shape. On the other hand, San Francisco almost went to pieces when halfback Hugh McElhenny suffered a shoulder separation. The only doubtful starter for the Packers is defensive halfback Val Joe Walker, still bothered with a wrenched knee. Gene White, out since the Philadelphia game with a back injury, will bolster the Packer defensive backfield. Tobin Rote, the key man in Green Bay's success this season, was still nursing a charley horse as the Packers worked out lightly at City Stadium. However, Rote should be ready for the works Sunday. A Detroit game casualty was Stretch Elliott, who sprained his ankle. Trainer Bud Jorgenson will have Elliott ready for the 49ers. Breezy Reid, the Packer workhorse, continues to be the club's top ground gainer, having picked up 469 yards in 88 carries for a 5.3 average. Veryl Switzer, the league's best punt returned, dropped to 11.7 yards a return, having a fair catch tacked on him in the Detroit game. Rote needs only 40 more yards passing to surpass Cecil Isbell's 2,021 yards passing in one season. Incidentally, a 96-yard Rote to Billy Grimes pass in 1950 was the longest play in Packer history. Rote and Max McGee combined for a 82-yard touchdown thriller against the Lions. An 83-yard touchdown aerial play, New York's Frank Gifford to Eddie Price, is the league's longest this season. The Packers will enplane to San Francisco Friday with a workout scheduled there Saturday morning. It will give the team a chance to see the telecast of the Los Angeles-Baltimore game Saturday afternoon. Green Bay moves into Los Angeles after Sunday's game for the season's finale against the Rams.
DECEMBER 1 (Phoenix) - Halfback Dick Curran said Tuesday he filed suit for $26,000 against the Green Bay Packers for being released by the Packers while his leg was still in a cast as a result of an injury. He said that under NFL rules a "player is protected against release while on the injured list."
PACKERS HAVE YET TO WIN AT 'FRISCO
DECEMBER 2 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Hopes will be higher than Uncle Walt on a Saturday night when the Packers try to shake their heartbreaking luck and beat the 49ers for the first in San Francisco Sunday. Six league losses by 27 points! Playing the World Champion Detroit Lions to a near standstill twice! There's little doubt that any one of those six losses could have resulted in Packer wins with a decent break here and there. But the record shows four wins and six losses. And Sunday the 7 1/2 point underdogs will try to snap a six-game losing streak to the 49ers, the last Packer win being a 25-21 decision in the snow at Green Bay in 1950. Coach Liz Blackbourn's club almost turned the trick at County Stadium this fall before Y.A. Tittle came off the bench to engineer a 23-17 win. Tittle will be going all the way Sunday, but the 49ers will be without their great running halfback, Hugh McElhenny, out for the season with a separated shoulder. With the NFL season in the home stretch, Joe Perry of the 49ers is well on his way to a successful defense of his ball carrier honors. Perry has gained 870 yards on 135 attempts for a 6.4 average. Second is teammate John Henry Johnson with 634 yards. Norm Van Brocklin of the Rams maintained his passing leadership with an average gain of 10.34 yards and 11 touchdowns. Cleveland's Otto Graham moved up from fifth to second. The Packers' Billy Howton is tied with Pete Pihos, Eagles, and Bob Boyd, Rams, as runnerups to Bill Wilson of the 49ers as the league's best pass receivers. Wilson has grabbed 49 and Howton 44. Fred Cone, who did not play football until he tried out with Clemson, has developed into one of the NFL's greatest kickers - thanks to Ted Fritsch's teaching. Cone's career total of 108 extra points (24 this season) is second only to Don Hutson's mark of 174. Fred has also kicked nine field goals this season to give him a four year total of 20. Cone has thus kicked his way into fifth spot in Packer all-time scoring