Preseason: Pittsburgh Steelers 26, Green Bay Packers (1-3) 23
Saturday September 12th 1953 (at Milwaukee)
GAME RECAP (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE)
(MILWAUKEE) - The 1953 Packers haven’t forgotten how to score after all. After settling for a total of 13 points in eight quarters against the Chicago Cardinals and Washington Redskins, the Packers counted a “monumental” 23 points in the first two quarters against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the fourth annual Shrine game in Marquette stadium here Saturday night. But the Steelers, apparently finding the defensive key, slammed the door shut on the Bay offensive and added nine points themselves in the third quarter to produce a 26 to 23 victory in an interesting game of non-league football before 16,859 fans. Thus, the Packers were blanked in the second half for the third straight game. In four non-loopers this season, the Packers scored 67 and only 14 came in the second half – all in a 31-7 victory over the New York Giants in their opener Aug. 22. What now? The Packers, to coin a phrase, leap from the frying pan into the fire – from the Steelers to the blazing Cleveland Browns. The Green Bays and Clevelands will close out their non-league activity in Cleveland next Saturday night – a dress rehearsal for the league opener between the same two squads in Milwaukee Sept. 17. The Packers had designs on victory Saturday night. In a bruising first half that reminded of the Packers’ play last season, the Bays found themselves behind 10-0 in the first seven minutes, but they closed the cap to 10-9 at the end of the first quarter. Pitt upped its margin to 17-9 early in the second heat, but Tobin Rote’s two touchdown passes to Bob Mann (38 yards) and Bill Howton (64 yards) gave the Pack a choice 23-17 lead at the intermission. The Steelers scored nine points in the first 11 minutes of the third quarter to settle it as the Bay offense went into a shell, or rather, a stall. This was probably the most unusual game in league history for the simple reason that each team got a safety. Only 11 safeties were recorded in 72 league games last year – no two in a single game. The Packers got theirs in the first quarter when John Martinkovic tackled quarterback in the end zone to make the score 10-2, and the Ironmen picked up theirs in the third period when Billy Hair’s blocked punt rolled out of the end zone, cutting the Pack’s lead to 23-19. To round out the small-point scoring, tackle Nick Bolkovac booted a 21-yard field goal in the first quarter for Pittsburgh’s 10-0 lead. A few minutes later, Fred Cone missed a chance to enter the Pack in the three-point column when his field goal try went wide from the 31. The match marked the “return” of veteran QB Rote. After Babe Parilli played the first quarter and scored the first Packer TD himself on a fine open field run of 22 yards, Rote displayed the accuracy that characterized his pitching in 1952. He threw for 13 to Stretch Elliott and to J.R. Boone for five more before putting the ball smack in Mann’s arms on the 12, from where Bob outdistanced two defensemen for the score. Six minutes later, Rote threw a 40-yard perfecto that landed in Howton’s mitts as he raced between two defenders. Howton zig-zagged away from the two Steelers to complete the 64-yard TD scamper. Generally, the protection afforded Parilli and Rote was better than a week ago but the Pitchin’ Partners were rushed considerably in the second half – a big factor in the Packers’ inability to score. The Bays completed 10 out of 28 (still below .500) for 195 yards - their best of the season- with Rote making seven out of 17 for 171 yards. The Packers, held to almost a standstill on rushing, gained an even 100 yards – best of the training games. Coach Gene Ronzani gave just about all of the backs a shot at lugging and played two defenders, Clarence Self and Dan Sandifer, on offense in the first quarter. The Packers’ chance for victory received a low blow in the third period. Defensive back Bennie Aldridge was thumbed out for slugging a moment after DB Val Joe Walker had to be removed because of injuries. It wasn’t long before Pitt took its final lead on Ted Marchibroda’s 24-yard TD pass to George Sulima. The Packers were facing what the eastern experts call the best Steeler team in history, although Pitt was playing without its captain and best pass catcher, Elbie Nickel. The two clubs meet in league competition in Pittsburgh Saturday night, Oct. 24. The Steelers rushed for 202 yards – the largest chunk off the Bays defense this preseason – including 117 yards in the second half. Rookie Marchibroda had his best night, completing 16 out of 27 for 135 yards in a fine exhibition. The Steelers made 89 of their 138 air yards in the second half. The Packers displayed their intentions early by forcing the Steelers to punt right after the Packers kicked off. But the Packers went behind the eight-ball in a hurry. On their first play, Parilli’s first down pass was deflected by Matuszak into the arms of Ed Fullerton, who returned the ball 38 yards for a TD. Bolkovac kicked the first of three extra points to put Pitt in front, 7-0, at 2:40. A holding penalty killed the Pack’s comeback and the Pitts started a drive from midfield. A 20-yard pass from Marchibroda to Brandt have the Steelers position on the 20, where the Packers held, thus setting up Bolkovac’s field goal. The Packers soon entered Pitt territory for the first time when Walker intercepted Finks’ pass on the 50 and returned to the Pitt 40. Parilli threw to Elliott for nine and Breezy Reid ran four before the attack stalled on the 24. Cone missed a field goal from the 31. On second down, Martinkovic chased Finks into the end zone and tackled him for a safety. On the free kick following the safety, Dawson took the boot on the Packer 30 and returned to the Pitt 42. Parilli went up the middle for 10, passed to Boone for 10 and then worked his 22-yard scoring run. Dawson kicked the first of three extra points and the Packers had closed the gap to 10-9. The Steelers proceeded to march 78 yards and score in 13 plays early in the second frame. Marchibroda passes to Sulima and Rogell and Spinks’ 14-yard run ate up most of the yardage, with Rogell going over from the two. With Rote, Carmichael, Boone and Cone in the backfield, the Packers covered 64 yards (plus a 15-yard holding penalty) for a TD. Carmichael took a pitchout and ran 18 yards to the Pitt 46. Rote threw to Elliott for 13 and then to Boone for five. Carmichael counted five but the Packers were clipping, the ball going back to the 38. On second down, Rote and Mann worked their TD. The two clubs exchanged punts before the Packers went ahead. Taking over on their own 35, Carmichael gained two into the line and a Rote pass to Howton went incomplete. On the next down, Rote and Howton produced the 64-yard strike with less than two minutes left in the half. A penalty for too much time “set up” the Pitt two-pointer in the third quarter. The Packers were stick on their own eight after an out of bounds punt by Brady. Dawson and Larry Coutre made six yards in two tries to the 14. A substitute came onto the field as the Packers were in the huddle. As the Pack lined up for the play, too much time was called and the ball was moved back to the nine. Parilli then passed incomplete on the “new” third down. On fourth down, Hair’s punt was blocked for the safety. The Steelers scored from 56 yards following the free kick. A roughness penalty on the Pack and three Marchibroda passes did the damage, the last going to Sulima for 24 yards and the last scoring of the game. The Packers worked the ball near midfield late in the third quarter but Rote was smeared for a 14-yard loss to end the threat. Early in the fourth quarter, the Pittsburghers started a drive on their own 14 and bolted to the Packer 28, when Sandifer ended it by intercepting Marchibroda’s pass on the 5 and returning to the 30. The Packers again worked the ball for 15 yards and Pitt recovered on the Pitt 36. The Steelers slammed to the Packer 17 where the Bays held, with Dillon and Marv Johnson throwing Rogell for a three-yard loss on fourth down. The Packers couldn’t gain, what with Cone dropping a screen pass from Rote – not to mention an offside penalty on the Bays, so the Steelers started another drive, going from the Pack 43 to the four-yard line when the game ended.
PITTSBURGH - 10 7 9 0 - 26
GREEN BAY - 9 14 0 0 - 23
PITTSBURGH GREEN BAY
First Downs 20 13
Rushing-Yards-TD 23-100-1 43-202-1
Att-Comp-Yd-TD-Int 29-17-148-1-3 28-10-195-2-2
Total Yards 340 295
Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-1
Turnovers 3 3
Yards penalized 10-98 6-80
1ST - PIT - Ed Fullerton, 37-yard interception return (Nick Bolkovac kick) PITTSBURGH 7-0
1ST - PIT - Bolkovac, 21-yard field goal PITTSBURGH 10-0
1ST - GB - Safety, John Martinkovic tackled Jim Finks in the end zone PITTSBURGH 10-2
1ST - GB - Babe Parilli, 22-yard run (Gib Dawson kick) PITTSBURGH 10-9
2ND - PIT - Fran Rogell, 2-yard run (Bolkovac kick) PITTSBURGH 17-9
2ND - GB - Bob Mann, 38-yard pass from Tobin Rote (Dawson kick) PITTSBURGH 17-16
2ND - GB - Bill Howton, 64-yard pass from Rote (Dawson kick) GREEN BAY 23-17
3RD - PIT - Team Safety, blocked punt recovered in end zone GREEN BAY 23-19
3RD - PIT - George Sulima, 24-yard pass from Ted Marchibroda (Bolkovac kick) PITTSBURGH 26-23
GREEN BAY - Babe Parilli 2-38 1 TD, Larry Coutre 4-18, Fred Cone 4-16, Al Carmichael 3-15, Tobin Rote 2-10, Floyd Reid 3-6, Clarence Self 3-3, Gib Dawson 2-(-6)
PITTSBURGH - Jack Spinks 8-38, Tom Calvin 8-36, Jim Brandt 4-31, Fran Rogell 11-31 1 TD, Leo Elter 3-29, Lynn Chandois 5-23, Ted Marchibroda 3-15, Jim Finks 1-(-1)
GREEN BAY - Tobin Rote 17-7-171 2 TD, Babe Parilli 12-3-24 2 INT
PITTSBURGH - Ted Marchibroda 27-16-135 1 TD 2 INT, Jim Finks 2-1-13 1 INT
GREEN BAY - Bob Mann 4-89 1 TD, Carlton Elliott 2-22, J.R. Boone 2-15, Bill Howton 1-64 1 TD, Floyd Reid 1-5
PITTSBURGH - George Sulima 5-69 1 TD, Fran Rogell 5-57, Jack Butler 2-8, Tom Calvin 1-5, Jack Spinks 1-5, Smith 1-3, Jim Brandt 1-1, Lynn Chandois 1-0
COMMISSIONER SEEKS BAN ON POINT AFTER TOUCHDOWN
SEPT 13 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - As far as Bert Bell is concerned, the point after touchdown is strictly for the birds and should be thrown out of football. The NFL Commissioner, dead set against this traditional part of the sport for many years, is even more so now and doesn't care who knows it. In the current issue of Sport magazine, he backs up his conviction with these arguments: 1. The try for point has little spectator appeal. 2. Kickers have become so proficient that it is virtually an automatic score. 3. It is not nearly so much a team effort as it is the effort of three men - center, ballholder and the kicker. 4. It doesn't prevent ties. The league has averaged about two deadlocks a season the last seven years. 5. It has no effect on the outcome of games. None of the championship playoffs and only nine of the 462 league games over the seven-year stretch were won by the extra point. 6. Contrary to general belief, there would be more field goals if the extra point were ruled out. 7. It encourages gambling because it offers an easy way to figure a small and therefore attractive point spread in many games.
ASK WAIVERS ON FIVE; FAVERTY TRADED
SEPT 14 (Green Bay) – The Packers today asked waivers on five players – veteran halfbacks Clarence Self and Dan Sandifer, rookie halfback Billy Hair, halfback Carl Mayes, who played with the Los Angeles Rams last year, and rookie defensive end Bill Murray. Veteran end-center Hal Faverty was traded Saturday to the Philadelphia Eagles for an undisclosed draft choice. The Packers have 41 players on their current roster.
PACK CAN PLAY DETROIT ON EVEN TERMS - BACH
SEPT 14 (Milwaukee) - Can the Packers play the world champion Detroit Lions on even terms? Even in defeat, Green Bay’s NFL standard bearers convinced balding Joe Bach, one of Notre Dame’s immortal Seven Mules and now head coach of the spirited Pittsburgh Steelers, they can. Back said as much – at least by implication. “The Packers are just as good as anybody we’ve played,” Joe, relaxing in his Hotel Wisconsin suite here Saturday night, contended. And repeating his emphasis, “They can hold their own with anybody we’ve played.” The Steelers, often tabbed as a prime contender for the NFL’s Eastern conference championship, have met the Lions, along with four other rivals and the Packers, thus far along the non-league trail. “It would be an interesting series,” the former college tackle great mused, “if we could meet the Packers on a home and home basis in league play (the Bays and Steelers collide again in championship competition at Pittsburgh Oct. 4). We won this one, but it was a tough game and I don’t think the next one in Pittsburgh will be any easier. If it isn’t, it won’t come as a surprise,” Joe, presently in his third NFL coaching hitch, admitted, “because the Packers have a lot of weapons. Mann and Howton are two men who scare you to death every time they start down the field. And Cone, Parilli and Dawson are strong threats.” “And our scouts forgot to tell us one thing,” the Steeler chieftain confessed with a wry smile, “that Parilli can run with that ball. The scout didn’t say anything about it.”…ALL CLUBS STRONGER: “Green Bay has a nice ball club,” Joe insisted, “but, of course, in the league all clubs will be stronger this year. I don’t see who anybody can through the season without losing three or four games. But I think we’ll give all competition – we definitely think we’re in the race.” “It’s nice to bounce back,” he went on, “after losing three close ones in eight days and then win two in a row. We beat the Redskins Wednesday night, you know, and now the Packers – two good strong ball clubs, both great teams.” Continuing to assay the non-league scene, Bach explained, “It’s getting so you have to go out and really win these exhibitions. You like to experiment, but you don’t get much chance to because the pressure’s always on you to win these games. Like tonight, for example. It was a rugged ball game. Both teams ran hard and tackled hard which proves that the pros play for keeps.” Joe revealed that quarterback Jimmy Finks, injured when borne to the turf under a wave of tacklers in a second quarter Packer safety, had suffered “bruises of the kidneys but it’s nothing serious. He wanted to play in the second half, but I made him undress and get into civilian clothes between halves to make sure he wouldn’t get in there. Of course, if Marchibroda had been hurt, we would have been in bad shape.” Bach, incidentally, was pleased with the work of Marchibroda, a 5-10 ½ rookie from the University of Detroit – as well he might have been. “You’ve got to have that one-two Parilli-Rote punch,” Joe said, “so I was glad to see Marchibroda come through like he did.” The freshman QB, who reminded Packer fans of the defunct New York Yanks’ Bob Celeri, was at the controls all the way save for a few plays in the second period when Finks held forth until he was injured. In a speculative mood, the Pittsburgh mentor volunteered, “It will be interesting to watch college football this season with the single platoon to see whether it will be all offense and no defense or all defense and no offense.” Bach, at the same time, predicted that “the two-platoon will always remain in pro football because we want to give the public the specialists they want to see.”…Disappointed but not downcast, Packer coach Gene Ronzani, who thought “the game was the best in the four-year Shrine series,” actually was inclined to optimism. “We showed improvement on offense and our defense was all right. Naturally, when Ben Aldridge was thrown out of the game and Val Joe Walker was hurt, our defense was definitely weakened.” Aldridge was thumbed as the result of an “altercation” and Walker sustained a knee injury in the third quarter. “If we could have made only one concentrated drive in the second half and scored a touchdown,” Ronzani pointed out, “we could have won the ball game. Of course, we had three bad breaks, two interceptions and a fumble, that made it impossible. But,” Gene declared, “the boys are coming along. I think Pittsburgh played as good a game as they have played all year. I don’t think there’s any question about that. On the whole, I feel the boys restored some confidence in themselves offensively and that is bound to be a big help. I think the longer intermission (occasioned by lengthy Shrine ceremonies) gave them a chance to recoup (the Steelers trailed 23-17 at halftime) and took the edge off us,” Gene concluded, “because when the third quarter opened we started as we did in the first quarter.”…”This losing’s getting to be damned tiresome, I’d say,” which came from defensive back Marv Johnson, summed up the general post-game attitude in the Packer dressing room beneath the Marquette stadium stands. Mountainous Clayton Tonnemaker, in a brown study of the concrete floor, was recalled to the present by Val Joe Walker, seated on an adjacent bench. Pointing to his left shoe, Walker asked, “Clayt, jerk that off, will you?” Tonnemaker complied and queried. “You need help!” Walker, obviously in pain, responded, “No, I just can’t bend that knee.” Though patently unhappy, veteran campaigner Bob Forte trumpeted, “Men, let’s don’t count ourselves out. We got ourselves a ball club.” Later analyzing the night’s developments, the Packer captain confided, “I don’t know whether it’s the lack of experience in some spots – I don’t know what it is. I do know we made a lot of mistakes. As soon as we correct them, we’ll have a good ball club. As a matter of fact,” he conceded, “we just made more mistakes than they did. In this league, you can’t relax for one minute. If you relax for even one play,” he said ruefully, “you’ve had it. I knew when we had a six-point lead, it wasn’t going to hold up. I figured we’d need a couple of more touchdowns to make sure of it.”…Bach and Adam Walsh are the only two members of Notre Dame’s fabled Seven Mules of the middle 20’s still in football. Walsh, center and captain of the Irish during that golden era, now is head coach at Bowdoin college. Bach, who apparently has kept in touch with his old teammates, disclosed that the balance are engaged in a variety of occupations throughout the nation. “Edgar (Rip) Miller, our right tackle, is assistant athletic director at Navy, right end Ed Huntsinger is in business in Philadelphia, left end Chuck Collins is with the Universal Car Loading company. Both of the guards, John Wiebel and Noble Kizer, are deceased.” As for the Four Horsemen, Green Bay’s Jim Crowley is “in business at Ithaca, N.Y., Harry Stuhldreher is with U.S. Steel, Elmer Layden has a position with the America Car Foundry and Don Miller, who is a former federal judge, is a practicing attorney in Cleveland.”…This will come as a surprise to the officials, but the Packers had 12 men on the field on the last two plays of the second quarter. On the first, Bobby Dillon intercepted a Marchibroda pass on his own 18-yard line. When informed the Packers had been playing with an extra man, Marv Johnson whistled, “No wonder we made that interception.”…Though no fisticuffs developed, tempers became heated at times – so much so that Referee Ronald Gibs was prompted to step between the teams as they lined up for play in the third quarter. “If anybody wants to hit anybody, we’ll just thrown ‘em out.”…The Cleveland Browns, who entertain the Packers Saturday night, apparently leave nothing to chance. Four of their representatives, assistant coaches Fritz Heisler and Blanton Collier, chief scout Howard Brinker and another analyst, Fred Jacoby, were diagramming the action. Also on hand were the New York Giants’ Jack Lavelle and Russ Thomas of the Detroit Lions, who commented, “The Packers are an improved ball club over last year of what I’ve seen.”…”No excuses, coach,” J.R. Boone, with a sheepish smile, told Ronzani in the dressing room between halves. “I was counting the stars.” The diminutive halfback had reference to a pass, a perfect strike from Tobin Rote, that bounced off his fingers late in the second quarter. It would have been a certain touchdown, since Boone, an elusive fellow, had maneuvered behind the Pittsburgh secondary.
SELF AND FOUR OTHERS CUT OFF PACKERS
SEPT 14 (Green Bay) - Gene Ronzani cut five players off his roster Monday and picked up one new one. Put on the block in a further move to reach the player limit of 33 before the league opener with Cleveland here September 27. They were Clarence Self, Dan Sandifer, Billy Hair and Carl Mayes, all halfbacks, and end Bill Murray. Picked up on a "look-see" basis was end George Hays of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The moves left the Packers with a roster of 40. Self, a former Wisconsin star, was in his fifth year of pro ball, Sandifer of LSU in his sixth, Hair of Clemson in his first, Mayes of Texas in his second and Murray of American Institute in his first. The tip-off on Self and Sandifer was probably given in the game with Pittsburgh here Saturday night when both started in the offensive backfield. Self had never appeared in a ball carrying role for Green Bay before. It was their last chance to convince the coaches that they ought to stick. Hair did most of Green Bay's punting in the four exhibitions so far but little else. Mayes saw only spot action. Murray was injured in the game with the Cardinals at Spokane two weeks ago. Hays, a veteran of two years with the Steelers, was released last week and picked up as a free agent. The hope is that he can pick up some of slack of the defensive end left open by Ab Wimberly's decision to go into coaching. He weighs 210 pounds and stands 6 feet 2. He played his college football at St. Bonaventure under Hugh Devore.
SCORING IN LAST HALF, PACK'S CLEVELAND AIM
SEPT 15 (Green Bay) - The streamlined-a-little-more Packers had this in mind today as they continued to practice for the Brown game in Cleveland on Saturday night: How to score points in the second half! Next to victory, the producing of markers in the last two frames ranks as the Pack's No. 1 project in the final non-league engagement of the current season. The Packers have been shut out in the second halves of their last three games. The only second half points (14) they scored came in the 31-7 victory over New York. Here's the composite scoring by quarters in the four games so far:
PACKERS - 23 30 7 7 - 67
OPPPONENTS - 13 16 16 14 - 59
The Packers had their best first half offensively against Pittsburgh - nine in the first quarter and fourteen in the second, for a total of 23. They counted 17 in the first half against the Giants. Defensively, the scoring shows that the Packers have been consistent. None of the four teams have been able to score two touchdowns in any one period against the Pack, and Pitt was the only team to get over seven points in a single quarter, scoring 10 in the first and nine in the third...Speaking about the defense, linebacker Clayton Tonnemker, when reminded Saturday night that the Packers didn't score any points in the last half, had this to say: "Yeah, but we (defense) didn't get the ball enough for the offense."...The waiving of defensive halfbacks Clarence Self and Dan Sandifer, who tried to make it on offense this year, left the Bays' defensive outfield in the hands of two newcomers and two Bay veterans. Only rookie in the foursome is Val Joe Walker, the lanky speedster obtained in a trade with the New York Giants. The other newcomer is Bennie (Mitts) Aldridge, former Yank and Forty Niner. Back from last year are sophomore Bobby Dillon and the onetime Los Angeles Ram, Marv Johnson. The Packers lost half of this four in the third quarter against Pittsburgh and the Steelers quickly became strong in the air. Walker went out with an injury and Aldridge was thrown out by the officials for super exuberance. Also cut adrift were halfbacks Billy Hair and Carl Mayes and defensive end Bill Murray...The Packers roster, cut to 41 by the release of five, went up yesterday to 42 when George (Gabby) Hays reported for duty. Hays, who is a former St.
Bonaventure star who stands 6-2 and weighs 220 pounds, was obtained from the Steelers. A native of Glassport, Pa., Hays played in 1950-51-52 with the Steelers and opened the '53 campaign with the same club. The arrival of Hays will step up the competition for Ab Wimberly's defensive end position. Already battling for the job are Bob Noppinger, who is making a strong comeback after two years in service, and Bill Georges, the rookie from Texas. Earlier, veteran Hal Faverty and rookie Murray fought for a defensive end position. But Hal was traded Saturday to Philadelphia for an undisclosed draft choice and Murray was placed on waivers...The Packers held two workouts yesterday and the morning session turned out to be a costly one. Halfback Gib Dawson and end Georges, both of whom saw considerable action against Pitt, suffered painful muscle pulls. They suffered that strange "knock" (pulling a muscle is like getting trapped with a hammer) doing the same thing - going out for a pass. The team came out of the Steeler game in good physical condition. The squad has two "break" cases - center Jim Ringo, who has a broken hand, and halfback Don Barton, who has an ankle fracture...And speaking about broken bones, etc., veteran tackle Dick Wildung received a pair of crutches in the mail this morning from "the gang" in Redwood Falls, Minn., where Dick has a hardware store. From the ringleader of the group, Wildung received an air mail special delivery letter - two pages long. It contained the greeting on the first page and the writer's signature on the bottom of the second page. The rest was blank. "My pals," laughed Dick...Six games this week will mark the close of the non-conference activity for 1953. Two games are set Thursday night - Detroit at Philadelphia and San Francisco at New York; one Saturday night - Green Bay at Cleveland; and three Sunday afternoon - Washington at Baltimore, Los Angeles at Pittsburgh and Bears vs. Cardinals at Chicago's Comiskey park. It might be interesting to note that, under the new schedule setup, the Bears and Cardinals, traditional rivals, will play only one league game against each other. The new schedule rule, adopted in January, calls for home and home games among teams in the same conference and two games with two different teams of the opposite conference.
LEAGUE PLAY TO ANSWER A FEW DOUBTS, GENE TELLS KIWANIANS
SEPT 15 (Green Bay) - Packer coach Gene Ronzani dropped an interesting hint at the Kiwanis club's annual How-Do-You-Do luncheon for the Packers at the Northland hotel Monday noon. He said, among other things, that "a few doubts might be answered when league play starts." And added: "You'll see an improved Packer team." Ronzani didn't amplify but these few remarks came as a wonderful shot in the arm for the Kiwanian fans and their guests, who couldn't help but visualize three straight losses as the football giants took up their eating tools. Ronzani unearthed his old trusty, "there's nothing wrong but what a few wins won't cure," and then flatly stated that "we're really all very happy, the players and coaches, and everything looks encouraging for the future." The burly mentor indicated that the No. 1 object this year is to improve the defense 25 percent. "If we can do that and the offense plays at the same level it did in 1952, then we'll be among the best teams in the league." The Packer coach said that "the reduced squad (five players were released yesterday) will give us a better chance to conduct our instructions and will remove a lot of tension from the players." The squad roster lists 42 players - still nine over the league limit, which goes into effect a week from Saturday at midnight. The Cleveland Brown non-leaguer there Saturday night will be the last chance for at least six or seven of the athletes. All 42 of the athletes, including new defensive end George Hays, were introduced individually to Kiwanians by Packer scout Jack Vainisi. John Torinus, a member of the Packer executive committee, served as master of ceremonies and introduced Packer president Russ Bogda and assistant coaches Hugh Devore, Ray McLean and Chuck Drulis and several Packer officials. Bogda officially thanked the Kiwanis club for "giving the Packer players an opportunity to meet club members and guests."...Milwaukee aide W.A. McGrath discovered during Saturday night's Packer-Pitt game that a total of 85 tackles were made by the Packers. This indicated that the Packers' defense was, to put it mildly, "most active". Twenty-one different Packers got one or more tackles. One unusual note was that the six Packers who played in the defensive "outfield" made 26 tackles, including seven each by Bobby Dillon and Bennie Aldridge. Aldridge might have made even more, but he was asked to leave the game by the officials in the third quarter. Clarence Self made five, Val Joe Walker four, Marv Johnson two and Dan Sandifer one. Captain-linebacker Bob Forte, playing in his hometown, led the tacklers with 10 clean shots, while LB'er Clayton Tonnemaker made six and LB'er Deral Teteak five. Big John Martinkovic, the defensive end, made seven tackle, and, among the tackles, Dave Hanner led with five while Howie Ruetz had four. Middle guard Floyd Harrawood also had five.
BAD OMEN? PACK'S NON-LOOP MARK MAY BE WORST SINCE '50
SEPT 16 (Green Bay) - The 1953 Packers stand a good chance of turning in their poorest non-conference record since the "new regime" took over in '50. But a poor non-league finish isn't always a bad omen! The current Bays posted one victory in four starts thus far. Saturday night at Cleveland, they'll either come out with 2-3 (.400) or 1-4 (.200) to set the stage for the NFL opener against the same Browns in Milwaukee a week from Sunday. Back in '50, the Packers posted 3-1 along the exhibition trail but came up with 3-9 when it really counted. A year later, the club posted 2-3 and again hit 3-9 during the league season. The 1952 Packers produced only a 2-4 (.333) record in non-league play, but came up with their best "new regime" mark, six wins and six losses. Thus, in 1952, the Packers turned their poorest exhibition record into their best league mark since '50. Here are the non-league and league figures compiled by the Pack since 1950:
YEAR W L W L
1950 3 1 3 9
1951 2 3 3 9
1952 2 4 6 6
1953 1 3 0 0
TOTALS 8 11 12 24
So, friends, if you're superstitious - or ready to toss in the towel, it can be reminded that the non-conference results (note the 1952 figures) don't always mean that the blue-chip drive will be disastrous. However, it is interesting to note the world champion Detroit Lions have an unbeaten record, although they were tied by Cleveland, 24-24. It can be noted too, that the Lions reached a peak three weeks earlier than any other team because of
their participation in the College All Star. The Browns, who firmly believe that winning is the best and only habit, and Philadelphia Eagles are battling in second place in the "grapefruit" standings, each with three wins and one loss...Bob Forte, the linebacker, was chosen the most outstanding player for the Bays against Pittsburgh in Milwaukee Saturday night, and was presented with a new watch from Colonial Jewelers of Milwaukee at practice yesterday afternoon. The selection was made by Lloyd Larson, Milwaukee Sentinel sports editor, sportscaster Earl Gillespie, and this writer. A Packer will be honored by the jewelry firm after each game...Coach Gene Ronzani sent the Packers through two workouts yesterday - in the morning and afternoon - as they sharpened various phases of their offense in preparation for the final non-league against the Browns. The morning practice wasn't without an unfortunate note for the second straight day. Bobby Jack Floyd, the veteran fullback recuperating from a heel operation, pulled a muscle. Monday morning, Gib Dawson and Bill Georges pulled muscles. Also on the injured list are Bob Mann, Don Barton and Jim Ringo. Dave Stephenson, converted from guard to center, stayed out after the regular drill yesterday morning to practice passing the ball back on punts. Stephenson played center at West Virginia university but toiled at guard as a pro until this campaign...The Packers won't waste any travel time on the Cleveland trip. They'll fly out of Austin Straubel field about 7:30 Saturday morning on a chartered Capital Airliner and arrive there at 11:30, eastern daylight time. They'll leave Cleveland at 11:30 Saturday night (EDT) and arrive home, oddly enough, at 11:30, Green Bay time. They'll relax in the afternoon at the Cleveland hotel...Assistant coach Hugh Devore, a college coach for 19 years, now making his debut in pro ball with the Packers, said the other day that pro football is "every bit as great" as the college brand. United Press writer Carl Eifert, writing the UP's daily feature, Today's Sportrait, talked with Devore in Milwaukee over the weekend and penned these paragraphs: Immediately, the new staff member was "impressed by the spirit of pro ball players." He said he gained that impression not only from the Packers, but also from watching the other pro teams in exhibition battles. The pros have "all the hustle of any college organization," Devore said, "and "are just as anxious to make the first team as college boys." There are some subtleties to the pro game, however, which Devore was quick to see. But those differences are things he likes. "Practices are well organized to stress every phase of the game," he said. "Coaches try to make practice interesting because pro players show a remarkable degree of perfection in fundamentals. They know they have to be in shape to play." For that reason, Devore compares pro football players to big league baseball players. He thought pros pass better than college boys because college coaches can't turn up a good passer every year. But when it comes to running, he compared the pros to the collegians, instead of vice versa. But one thing where the two brands of football equal each other is in spirit. "The reaction after a pro game is the same...Get licked, and the players don't feel too good about it," he said. "It's every bit as great as college ball. Winning never changes."
PACKERS' KNOTHOLE CLUB TO BE ORGANIZED FRIDAY
SEPT 16 (Milwaukee) - The Green Bay Packers Football Knothole Club, with John Zussman of the school board recreation department in charge, will be organized at a luncheon-meeting of representatives of 20 youth agencies at the Eagles club Friday noon. The Packers have turned over 500 tickets for the Cleveland Browns league opener at the Stadium September 27 and 500 for the San Francisco 49ers game November 22 for the club's use. Representatives of the following agencies have been invited to attend: Milwaukee Boys' Club, Christian Center, YMCA, Jewish Center, CYO, Urban League, Neighborhood House, Salvation Army and the recreation department of Milwaukee, West Allis, Shorewood, Whitefish Bay, Cudahy, West Milwaukee and the county parks. A plan similar to the one used so successfully by Zussman in organizing the Braves Knothole Club has been proposed. Each boy will play 10 cents for membership in the club and will receive a membership club. Agencies will make membership in the club a reward for helpfulness and good conduct. At the game themselves each group of 15 boys will be in charge of an adult league. The age limit of 10 to 13 followed in baseball will be raised to 16. The Braves Knothole club accommodated about 12,000 boys at nine contests.
INJURIES CUT PACKERS' TOP-FIT ROSTER TO 34; LOOMIS REPORTS
SEPT 17 (Green Bay) - The Packers were down to 34 able-bodied athletes today, and Coach Gene Ronzani was beginning to wonder whether he'd be able to present a backfield against the Browns in Cleveland Saturday night. To start with, the Packers opened practice Monday with a 43-man roster. Two members of this group were sidelined earlier - halfback Don Barton, with a broken ankle, and center Jim Ringo, with a broken hand. Then it began to happen. Halfback Gib Dawson and end Bill Georges pulled muscles Monday morning. Fullback Bobby Jack Floyd, just recovering from an operation on his heel, and end Bob Mann pulled muscles Tuesday. And yesterday, end John Martinkovic and halfback J.R. Boone came up with muscle ailments. At the moment, the Packers face the Browns with 34 athletes - just one over the player limit for NFL games. Whether all of the injuries will be held out of action is not known, but it's for sure they won't be operating at full speed. The leveling of Boone and Dawson leaves the Packers with only three top-fit halfbacks for the Brown game - veterans Breezy Reid and Larry Coutre and rookie Al Carmichael. The club has five other halfbacks, but they're all listed as defensive specialists - veterans Bobby Dillon and Marv Johnson and newcomers Bennie Aldridge, Val Joe Walker and Paul Devan. The Packers' two fastest backs are Dillon and Walker - both nine-second men. Walker, incidentally, isn't in the best of health, either, what with shoulder and leg ailments. The rest of the athletes, it is a pleasure to report, are in the best of health - at this writing, that is. Ringo is moving around good and likely will be ready to wheel come the league opener against Cleveland in Milwaukee Sept. 27. Barton is still wearing his cast, but watches practice every morning and serves as sergeant-at-arms at Bluejay park at the same time. Incidentally, the new concrete fence around the Bluejay park outfield gives the Packers much more privacy than in previous years. Holes in the wooden fence along the first and third base lines have been patched up, reducing the number of knotholers to practically nothing...The Packers currently have 14 rookies, four players who had experience (before 1953) with other pro clubs, and 24 Packer veterans on their roster...The Browns may start six charter members of their first team (1946) against the Packers Saturday night - Dante Lavelli at right end; Lin Houston at right guard; Frank Gatski at center; Lou Groza at left tackle; Otto Graham at quarterback; and Marion Motley at fullback. The club has two other members of the original group - defensive end George Young and middle guard Bill Willis. The only doubtful offensive starter among the charters is Motley, who likely will be replaced by the hard-driving Jagade. Other offensive starters are John Sandusky at right tackle, Ace Gibron at left guard, Darrell Brewster at left end, Dub Jones at right half and Ken Carpenter at left half. The Packers will meet an old friend, Walt Michaels, who played with the Packers on "leave" from the Browns in 1951. A fullback and guard, Michaels is a regular linebacker with Cleveland. The Browns will show one of the biggest men in football - Doug Atkins, their No. 1 draft choice, who stands 6-8 and weighs 250 pounds. He plays at defensive left end. Len Ford, no midget himself at 6-4, 240, plays right DE..The Packers spent considerable time practicing punting formations after drilling their defense in yesterday morning's workout. No practice was held in the afternoon. Babe Parilli handled all of the punting as the backs and linemen worked on their protective blocking assignments. Protection for the punter against the Steelers wasn't exactly airtight, and one of Billy Hair's punt was blocked for a safety. After the regular drill, tackle Bill Forester practiced punting, and got off two or three high long ones. He had done considerable punting in college. The Packers Wednesday turned over 500 tickets for the Cleveland and San Francisco games at Milwaukee County stadium to representatives of the Packers' newly organized Knothole club. The club, similar to the Braves Knothole club, is open to boys 10 to 16 years old. Each boy will pay 10 cents for membership and receive a membership card.
HB LOOMIS REJOINS PACKERS
SEPT 17 (Green Bay) - Ace Loomis, former defensive ace with the Packers, Thursday rejoined the club as it closed out workouts in preparation for it's exhibition battle Saturday night with the Browns at Cleveland. Loomis, who rejoined the Packers last season after being traded to the Browns, has been playing semi-pro ball with the Wausau Muskies and appears to be in excellent shape. The former La Crosse State College star will play as an offensive halfback. His previous experience with the Packers was as a defensive halfback. Pulled muscles will keep halfback Gib Dawson and J.R. Boone, and defensive end Bill Georges from playing Saturday. Others not making the Cleveland trip include fullback Bobby Jack Floyd, halfback Jack Barton and center Jim Ringo. Floyd is still sidelines following a leg operation. Barton is out for the season with a broken leg and Ringo is still nursing injuries sustained in the Cardinal exhibition. Coach Gene Ronzani indicated that end Bobby Mann, halfback Val Joe Walker, and fullback Fred Cone would make the trip but would not see too much action.
BOB FORTE NAMED STAR IN PACKER GAME HERE
SEPT 17 (Green Bay) - Captain Bob Forte, veteran linebacker for the Green Bay Packers, has been named outstanding Packer player in last Saturday's Shrine benefit game at Milwaukee. Forte was picked up by three sportswriters and a radio sports announcer who will pick the outstanding Packer game this season. The players named will receive watches from a Milwaukee jeweler.
LAST CHANCE FOR SOME PACKERS
SEPT 18 (Cleveland) - Saturday night's exhibition with the Browns at Cleveland is the last chance for nine Green Bay Packers. The Packers still have 42 players intact. Under league rules, coach Gene Ronzani must meet the player limit of 33 before the circuit opener against the Browns at County Stadium September 27. On the current roster are 14 rookies, four players who saw action with other pro clubs and 25 Packer veterans.
GOOD PACK NEWS: NO INJURIES TODAY!
SEPT 18 (Green Bay) - Best news today is that the Packers didn't sustain any more injuries. But they're walking on eggs and keeping their fingers crossed in the hopes that "what's left" will be ready to meet the Browns in Cleveland Saturday night. Something like eight players were hurt in three days of practice this week. One of the most unusual twists out of the mass of injuries concerns Ace Loomis, the veteran halfback who returned yesterday after a brief stint with the Wausau Muskies. Loomis, a
defensive halfback regular with the Pack last year, always wanted to play on offense. Since the Packers are in need of heavier offensive backs (Loomis goes around 190), Ace came to camp with a fine chance of making the club as a runner. But what happens? Val Joe Walker comes up with a shoulder injury - not to mention a leg ailment - and Loomis finds himself back on defense the very first day he reports. But as soon as Walker gets well, Ace likely will get his shot on offense. Loomis' arrival came at an opportune time since he'll be able to play against his "alma mater." Ace originally was drafted by the Browns and played off and on with them - between trips to and from Green Bay. Coach Gene Ronzani isn't sure who won't make the trip to Cleveland, although today's workout - the last before the game - will determine who's ready. Doubtful passengers are halfbacks Gib Dawson, J.R. Boone and Walker, fullback Bobby Jack Floyd, end Bill Georges, Center Jim Ringo, just recovering from a broken hand, and Bob Mann and fullback Fred Cone likely will see limited service. Cone has been ailing since the week before the Washington game here, though he played in that contest and the Pittsburgh game the next week. Freddy's injured leg hasn't responded much this week. Mann, slowed down with a muscle pull, has been working hard this week in an effort to heal himself. But he still will be unable to go at top speed Saturday night, which means that Bill Howton and Stretch Elliott will handle the bulk of the pass-catching from Tobin Rote and Babe Parilli. Along the same line, it is interesting to present a United Press dispatch from Cleveland today in which coach Paul Browns announced a change in his defensive plan for the Packers. Brown, seeking more speed behind the line to stop the Packers' air game, says he'll use only two linebackers instead of three and four defensive backs instead of three. Paul added that he hopes to use Ken Gorgal and Ken Konz as the deep safety men , but that if Konz's stiff neck is still bothering him, Ray Renfro, another fast back, will take his place. The Browns' plan is a takeoff on coach Steve Owen's famed umbrella defense - a 6-1-4 or 5-2-4. Owen's Giants beat Cleveland twice with the defense in 1951 but then lost the Eastern division playoff to the same club...The cigar box was passed among the Packers today by tackle Wash Serini, who became the proud pappy of a son in Chicago yesterday. The newcomers has been named William E. Lee. The Serinis also have a daughter...The Packers will leave for Cleveland on a chartered Capital Airliners from Austin Straubel field at 7:30 Saturday morning. They'll fly back in the same plane, arriving here at 11:30 Saturday night. Both teams will be playing their final non-championship game. The Packers won one and lost three, while the Browns won three, lost one and tied one. Three other non-loopers are scheduled this weekend - all Sunday. The Bears and Cardinals play at Chicago's Wrigley field; Los Angeles invades Pittsburgh and Washington goes to Baltimore.
PACK, BROWNS VIE
SEPT 19 (Cleveland) - The Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns put on a "scouting" match in this city's huge Municipal auditorium tonight. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30, Green Bay time, and around 25,000 will watch the final non-league football game for both teams. Tonight's fracas could be a hard-fought, bruising battle, but chances are both sides will keep their heavy attacks under wraps in preparation for their big NFL opener in Milwaukee Sunday afternoon, Sept. 27. Actually, the 80-odd players and nine coaches of the two clubs will be scouting each other right down to the last movement. The teams won't learn much about each other's strategy for the loop kickoff, but the exhibition will give the players a sort of a "dry run" against their respective opponents. Chiefly at stake tonight will be that well-known and important psychological advantage for the blue-chip starter. A lopsided win, for instance, for the Browns would give the Pack a revenge incentive for a week from Sunday - not to mention a talking point for Coach Gene Ronzani. A victory for Green Bay, likewise, would give Cleveland coach Paul Brown excellent speech material all week. The Browns, incidentally, will be playing their first game of the season at home. The Packers are in terrible physical condition and Ronzani isn't likely to take any chances in complicating the situation by playing injured athletes. Hurt in drills this week were halfbacks Gib Dawson, J.R. Boone and Val Joe Walker, end Bob Mann, fullback Bobby Jack Floyd, end John Martinkovic - to mention a few..."LAST" CHANCE FOR SOME: With Dawson and Boone due to sit it out, the Packer halfback will be entrusted mainly to three individuals - Larry Coutre, Breezy Reid and Al Carmichael. Possible help may be obtained from Paul Devan, a rookie who has been working mostly on defense, and veteran Ace Loomis, who reported two days ago. In addition to Dawson and Boone, three other players will miss tonight's contest. Fullback Bobby Jack Floyd, and Bill Georges, and halfback Don Barton, who has been sidelined since the Cardinal game in Spokane Aug. 29 with a broken ankle, were left behind when the Packers boarded their Cleveland-bound Capital Airliner at Austin Straubel field this morning. With 100 yards to their credit by rushing against Pittsburgh last Saturday night, the Packers probably will continue to "practice" their ground game during most of the game, with rookie Carmichael and newcomer fullback Howie Ferguson getting the big test. Ferguson, who started the 1952 season with Los Angeles, will share FB'ing duties with Fred Cone. Tonight's game will be the "last chance" for the number of rookies - able-bodied ones, that is. Among these healthy men will be Floyd Harrawood, Vic Rimkus, Bill Skyinskus, Bill Forester, Bob Noppinger, Jack Morgan and Roger Zatkoff in the line and Carmichael and Devan in the backfield. Exhibition or not, the Packers tonight will be getting the stiffest test of their non-league schedule. The Browns already have produced a 3-1-1 record, against the Packers' 1-3, and the long record of Cleveland success needs no introduction. The Browns lost to Los Angles, tied Detroit and beat Baltimore, Chicago Bears and San Francisco. The Packers beat New York and lost to Chicago Cardinals, Washington and Pittsburgh. Four of the slickest quarterbacks in the business will work at various times tonight - standby Otto Graham and assistant George Ratterman for the Browns and Babe Parilli and Tobin Rote for the Pack. And they'll probably do a lot of passing which means
that Bill Howton and Stretch Elliott will be kept busy. Mann may not see much action. The Browns will start one rookie - left end Bob Schnelker of Bowling Green, but at the other end will be one of the Browns' "charter" members, Dante Lavelli. Dub Jones will open at right half but rookie Billy Reynolds of the University of Pittsburgh will give him plenty of relief. Chick Jagade will open at fullback, Ken Carpenter at left half and Graham at QB. The Packers' starting QB is a tossup between Rote and Parilli. The rest of the backfield will have Reid at left half, Coutre at right and Cone at fullback. The Packers will be going for their first victory over the Browns. Cleveland defeated Green Bay 38-7 in Toledo in 1950, and 21-14 in Green Bay in 1952. The Packers left Austin Straubel field in Green Bay in their chartered Capital Airliner at 8 o'clock this morning and arrived here at 10 o'clock, Green Bay time. They will leave in the same plane around 11:30, Cleveland time, and arrive in Green Bay around 11:30 Bay time. The trip takes two hours and there is a two-hour difference in time.
NO PLAYER AGREEMENT WITH CANADA, BELL SAYS
SEPT 19 (Pittsburgh) - There will never be a player agreement between the NFL and the Canadian Football league, if NFL Commissioner Bert Bell has his way. That was Bell's comment Friday night when newsmen questioned him about American college football stars who have been signed by the Canadians after being drafted by NFL teams. "I will never sign any agreement," Bell said, adding, "in the first place that would draw fire from the government as a monopoly in restraint of trade. We don't want to restrain any boy from making as much as he can in pro football. Secondly, and more important, we shouldn't need a signed agreement to be honest. We have legal contracts with players. If the Canadians refuse to recognize them...what good would any agreement be?"