"I don' see Big Daddy like that 't'll," said Harley. "Regretfully, I see him down across the line from me, maybe that shirt out and hanging down behind him like a tail, and then trying to move that boy—like running up agin a barn."
Big Daddy had died earlier in the year of an overdose of drugs, but his presence had been such that Harley spoke of him as if he were still around.
I'll tell you something, though—he could be humiliated," said Harley, and went on to explain that Lipscomb had a flaw Detroit was able to take advantage of, which was that he liked to pursue and tackle in the open field, preferably by the sidelines, where he could knock his man down in full view of the great crowds who had come to watch him do such things. He would reach down and pick his victim up by the shoulder pads, set him on his feet and whack his rear with a big hand.
The Detroit ruse was to get Big Daddy to range off toward the sidelines looking to make such a play, and then run the ball through his vacated position. The play was called 47 0 cross-buck takeoff, and it required the guard opposite Big Daddy—Harley, say—to pull from his position, indicating that he was leading the interference in a move toward the end, sucking out Big Daddy with him, and then the back—usually Pietrosante—would light out through the 7 hole with the ball. Of course, if Big Daddy didn't fall for it and stayed there in the 7 hole, refusing to trail out after the guard, it suddenly became very unpleasant for Pietrosante, and humiliating for him. But he was a showboat sort, Big Daddy, and the chances were—at least, at the beginning of his career—that he'd move off laterally after the guard, the long jersey shirttail, which always came out toward the end of a game, trailing behind him.
"He had his bad days, I'll tell you," said Harley, looking over at me.
"Like mine?" I said, grinning at him.
"Sure," he said, quite seriously.
Harley turned off the road, and we drove up a short driveway to a house on a wooded ridge. Friends of his were waiting on a screened-in porch. He hadn't told me we were going there, but it was like him not to. I was introduced around. Coffee was brought out. They'd heard about the game, and they were eager to get the details of my participation.
I sat down and took some coffee. I rather looked forward to telling them. "Well, it was a disaster," I said. "Just awful."
Harley was out in the kitchen overseeing something or other, the cutting of coffee cake, and he came hurrying in. He said, "Well, hold on now, I don't know about that."