The mild-mannered young man sat hunched over a thick, rare steak, munching happily and listening to a three-piece band play progressive jazz.
"I prefer classical music," he said reflectively through a mouthful of steak. Then, in answer to a question, "I expected the worst and it happened."
The mild, hungry young man was Lee Grosscup. A couple of hours earlier he had risked life and limb quarterbacking the College All-Stars against the Baltimore Colts in hot, humid Soldier Field in Chicago. The worst which had fulfilled his expectations was the 29-0 beating the Colts handed the All-Stars. Grosscup had performed well enough under the circumstances; the circumstances, in this case, were something over a half ton of Colt linemen, under whom Grosscup and the other All-Star quarterbacks spent a good deal of the evening. The Colts proved conclusively that which really requires no further proof: any time the pro team cares enough in this annual charity game, it can beat the All-Stars about as it pleases.
This is no reflection on the All-Stars and certainly none on the very capable All-Star coaching staff, headed by Otto Graham. The 1959 All-Star team was not as good as the 1958 squad, which beat the Detroit Lions, principally because it lacked speed. At a pregame banquet, when someone finished a speech by remarking, "May the better team win," Graham replied, unhappily and prophetically, "It probably will."
The reasons for the All-Star defeat are fairly simple. First, the collegians could never contain the massive Colt defensive line. As the game wore on, Graham, who had been sending out four and five receivers on pass plays, kept more and more men in to block. Even when he had seven blockers protecting Grosscup, or Baylor's Buddy Humphrey, or Michigan's Bob Ptacek, or Washington's Bob Newman, the Colts poured through. The All-Star quarterbacks, always hurried and often in the grip of Colt linemen when they threw, could never mount an effective passing offensive. The All-Star running attack shattered against the same line.
Although it is doubtful that the-All-Stars could have done much better under any conditions, they suffered a disastrous blow to their morale late in the first quarter from which they never recovered. With Gross-cup at quarterback and the All-Stars moving as well as they ever did, Houston's Don Brown started a pass pattern and was smashed to the ground by Colt Linebacker Bill Pellington. So severe was the impact that Brown swallowed his tongue. He lay on the ground, jerked spasmodically and finally stopped breathing. Only frantic work by trainers and doctors saved his life. By the time he was carried from the field and taken to the hospital, the game had been delayed 15 minutes, the All-Stars were completely demoralized, and they had been deprived of one of their most effective running backs. A couple of plays later, on fourth down, the All-Star center lofted the ball high over Punter Dave Sherer's head into the end zone and past the end line for an automatic safety, giving the Colts a 2-0 lead which mushroomed to 29-0 in the next 18 minutes.
Given time enough to compose a sonnet on every pass play, Baltimore Quarterback Johnny Unitas picked holes in the eager but often inept All-Star defense. He threw almost casually to Jim Mutscheller, Raymond Berry and Lenny Moore, three of the best receivers in professional football. Once, to add to the confusion in the ranks of the All-Star pass defense, he threw to Halfback L. G. Dupre for one of the three touchdown passes he brought off.
By the time the half ended, the game was over. In the second half Colt Coach Weeb Ewbank took a long look at his rookies and tried out Ray Brown at quarterback. Brown will have to backstop Unitas this season, now that the Colts have dealt George Shaw to the New York Giants. Working with a second-string line and backfield, he seemed good enough, although no one can deny that he is fortunate in having a secure job as a defensive halfback.
Incidentally, the All-Star scouting reports had listed Brown as vulnerable on defense. Brown plays a deep back in the Colt secondary; against the All-Stars he was all over the field, knocking down innumerable passes and intercepting one. His replacement, Rookie John Sample, intercepted a pass, too, and looked capable of fitting into the Colt secondary easily whenever Brown has to fill in for Unitas at quarterback.
None of the Colt weaknesses that All-Star coaches passed along to their players before the game materialized. "The scouting reports said Marchetti was one of the best pass rushers in pro football," Grosscup said, "but that we could gain outside of him. And they said Big Daddy Lipscomb was great at defending his part of the line, but that he didn't put on much of a rush. And that we could take advantage of Ray Brown, and that Carl Taseff came up too fast on play passes." He shook his head. "You forget a lot of that stuff in the heat of the game," he said, "but if those were weaknesses, I'd hate to see the things they're good at."