SI Vault
Tex Maule
December 05, 1960
Philadelphia, responding to a wave of good fortune, is closing in on its first championship in 11 years. For the story of how the breaks were made
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December 05, 1960

Then The Eagle Swooped

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The formation is not that new: "That's not what beat us," Colt Coach Weeb Ewbank said later. "We have it in our play book. It was our own errors. You can't give the ball away six times in the National Football League. And win." Brodie left the game late, under the persuasion of a rattling tackle by Big Daddy Lipscomb, but a third-string quarterback named Bobby Waters, passing from the double wing, got the winning touchdown for the 49ers.

Now the Western Division is an unholy mess. The Colts lead by half a game over the Chicago Bears with the Green Bay Packers and the 49ers a full game behind. Theoretically at least, even the Detroit Lions could win the title, although at the moment they have won four and lost five. The Packers and the Bears play Sunday, the Colts play the 49ers and the Lions in the next three weeks and the Packers play the 49ers, too. It is unlikely that the San Francisco team, refurbished with the double-wing offense, will win the championship in the West, but it would appear now that the 49ers do hold the key to the division title. Red Hickey, the 49er coach, is ingenious and resourceful, as he proved last Sunday. But he doesn't have the manpower. The Colts, like the Giants, may finally be feeling the twinges of age. The Green Bay Packers, under Vince Lombardi, have made a wonderful comeback in the last couple of years, but they lack the balance and the quarterback to win the division title.

That leaves the Chicago Bears. George Halas' team is sound and strong, and, most important, healthy. The Bears have good quarterbacking in Ed Brown and Zeke Bratkowski, a quick, intelligent defense ably informed by Defensive Coach Clark Shaughnessy, and strong running from Rick Casares, Willie Galimore and Johnny Morris. But they have a tough closing schedule—Green Bay, the Cleveland Browns and Detroit. If they can get by the Packers in Chicago, they might very well play Philadelphia for the championship.

As for the championship itself—well, against the Dutchman no team in the league is a good bet.

[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

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