It seems that
Fido's old mentor, Hunk Anderson, was then coaching the Detroit defense and had
telephoned Fido for help. "We don't have much material here," Anderson
told him, "but there's one guy I want to beat—Halas. Scout him for
back: "Their offense is practically the same as the T formation I used at
Samuel Johnson Academy. It's all sideswiping. So don't let your defensive
linemen charge. Have them wait and slide. But while they're sliding have a
linebacker fly in on Bill Osmanski. If you stop him, you stop the Bears. Use a
sliding five-man line with a linebacker flying in."
"My best man
for that," said Anderson, "is John Wiethe. I want you to talk to him on
the phone and tell him what to do."
Detroit beat the Bears. But that isn't important. "What's important,"
says Fido, "is that now we're getting into why I'm a great scout. Nobody
had used a five-man line—never. So the middle guard is invented. Also, the
first linebacker that ever red-dogged and blitzed was John Wiethe! Bill
Osmanski gained 46 yards for the day, and the Lions did it with my suggestions.
But the next year, 1940, Shaughnessy turns up at Stanford and uses my T and
goes undefeated and wins the Rose Bowl. The only thing he did with my T was put
a man in motion, and he gets credit for inventing the modern T formation."
(Halas concedes Fido is "an excellent talent scout and a good team
scout" but differs with him on the origin of the T. "Fido," he
says, "was a devotee of it, but the T was used before he was
who obviously knew genius when he saw it beating him, had added Hunk Anderson
to his coaching staff and in the bargain got Fido as a scout. The Bears, too,
were surging forward with the T—"with Fido Murphy behind the scenes,
sharpening the pencils," says Fido sarcastically. By his own account, Fido
fashioned the Bears' 73-0 slaughter of the Washington Redskins in the 1940
championship game. He told the Chicago coaching staff: "That team's got two
different teams. They're one team when Sammy Baugh's in and another team when
Frankie Filchock comes in to give him a rest. Baugh is pass-completion crazy.
He'll throw 1� yards if he can get a completion. He won't run. Back up your
tackles and back up your secondary kids deeper. Baugh won't run, and if he
overshoots the short stuff, we'll pick 'em off.
Fido continued, "when they put Filchock in, he'll run. So we won't drop
back. We'll give him the rush."
intercepted eight Redskin passes. Filchock made a costly fumble. "We picked
off the short stuff and buried Filchock, and that was the story," says
A blazing success
as a scout, Fido expanded his scope. When Buddy Parker became head coach at
Detroit in 1951, Fido hired out to Parker while continuing to take Halas'
money, and later shifted to the Steeler payroll when Parker moved to Pittsburgh
in 1957. From his Hollywood location since his marriage to Miss Adrian in 1950,
Fido has plagued the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers, whom he
regularly scouts. "For Pete's sake, I been beating the Rams for 10
years," he declares. Three years ago the 49ers began rolling over the
league with Coach Red Hickey's surprise shotgun offense. "This is Dutch
Meyer's old Texas Christian single wing," Fido shouted at Halas over a
long-distance line, "and what's more, 15% of it is illegal. Now here's how
to beat it...."
shotgun had averaged 33 points a game for five games, but the Bears held it
scoreless. Alas, Clark Shaughnessy—then Halas' defensive coach—again got credit
for Fido's brainwork. Roars Fido: "I said to Halas, 'What's going on here?
What's all this foolishness?' And he said, 'Well, Fido, I know you done it, but
I gotta say Shaughnessy done it because he's called our defensive coach.'
Titles! I got the Bears practically their whole team, but Halas has to give
George Allen the credit because he got the title of head scout. Personnel
Director, he is called."
Fido's claim to
having solved the shotgun is circumstantially supported by the fact that
Pittsburgh, his other client, held the 49ers to 10 points and beat them the
very week after the Bears. "He gave me a lot of good information,"
Buddy Parker confirms. "For example the big thing was putting a man right
on their center. The center had to pass that ball back instead of just handing
it to a T quarterback, so that kind of took him away from doing his job as a
blocker. We put Big Daddy Lipscomb on him. Fido told us to."