"You forget you're after my job," he said, and walked away. He never forgot.
Frank was the leader of the team, and he was the quarterback most of that first season. I got in some games late in the year and managed to get Buck Shaw angry—one of the few times I have ever seen him that way—by making a thoughtless crack to a newspaperman.
I had gone in for Albert late in a game with the New York Yankees in San Francisco and I completed a touchdown pass to win it with only minutes left. As a matter of fact, I overthrew my intended receiver and another 49er picked the ball off, but I didn't mention that at the time. Two weeks later we played the Yanks in New York, and we were tied with them 10 all with a couple of minutes to go, when Shaw put me in again.
I hit Gordy Soltau with a pass on the Yank 15 that would have put us within easy field-goal range, but Gordy tried to lateral and the Yanks recovered and ran out the clock.
Later, in the dressing room, one of the San Francisco writers sympathized with me.
"You came close, Yat," he said.
I'm not an easy loser, anytime. Let the good losers play for other teams. I was upset about not winning this game, and I said, "You can't expect me to do it every week with two minutes left to go!"
There are some members of the press who have a real gift for embroidery. I should not have said what I did, but it was built up into a major criticism of Shaw for not playing me more and the 49ers for not throwing more. Naturally, this made a big story in San Francisco.
When we got back to San Francisco, Shaw pointed out to me the error of my ways. It was not a long interview, but it was a memorable one. But when I left his office, it was all over just as if it had never happened.
The next year I split lime with Albert down the middle. He played the first and third quarters and I played the second and fourth and we won five games in a row that way. It is not a system I recommend; it is impossible to split the responsibility of quarterbacking without splitting the loyalties of fans, writers and, most important, players. It may be subconscious on the part of the players, but it has to be there. The Rams tried it with Waterfield and Van Brocklin for a while and it worked, but only briefly.