So a lot of the disaster was my fault, and some of it was no one's fault. I am sorry I went out that way, but I had decided even before the season began that 1964 would be my last year. I owed it to my wife Minnette and our children to quit football; you can't last forever, and 27 years is just about as close to forever as you can get in this game.
I'll miss it, certainly. I like the insurance business, but there is nothing like football for excitement. I mean, you might make the biggest sale in the history of the insurance business and it wouldn't approach the excitement you feel on any Sunday when you go out on the field with at least a shot at the championship riding on that game.
Even if I did go out on a bad year—for me and for the club—I went out with a good taste in my mouth. I never got a critical letter about my performance in 1964. I heard about the signs they used to hang out saying "Goodby, Charlie" when Conerly was having a tough time, but that didn't happen to me. I suppose that, after three real good years, the Giant fans figured you can't have it all the time.
A couple of years ago the fans gave me a yacht. I named it Giant Blitz, after Sam Huff, Andy Robustelli and Company. For three years, every time we had to have the ball to win a big game the defense got it for us.
It's a funny thing. The defense can get a quarterback out of the game anytime. He is one of the most vulnerable players on the field. He is spread-eagled. As he throws he steps forward onto his left foot with all his weight on it, and all any defensive player has to do is drive into the left leg. Out goes the knee, because the quarterback's cleats are set and he has no way to protect himself. Instead, the tacklers all come in high and knock you onto your back, and while that may jar you it doesn't hurt you.
Also I've noticed that the popular concept of what makes a good runner is all wrong. You read about the great runners with high knee action, but the really great runners barely lift their feet from the ground. You watch Jim Brown or Jim Taylor and you'll find they run with a gliding stride. When they are hit, they are in position to brace themselves immediately with the foot that is off the ground at the time. The high-knee-action runners get knocked down easy and they get hurt.
Jim Brown is the greatest all-round runner I have ever seen, but the greatest back in a broken field was Hugh McElhenny. Even at the end of his career, when he came to the Giants and was running on his memory instead of his legs, he was great. He only had enough gas left to go for a few yards, but in those few yards he still had beautiful moves.
Billy Wilson, the 49er end, had the best hands I ever threw to. And he was the best receiver at splitting the cracks in a zone defense. If Billy could touch the ball with one finger, he could catch it. In that way he was like Raymond Berry of the Baltimore Colts.
Frank Gifford was the smartest receiver, with the best knowledge of defenses and defensive personnel, and Kyle Rote had the best moves. He was a master. Del Shofner was the best and most dangerous of all because he could score from way out.
A lot of people have asked me what is going to happen to the Giants now. I honestly don't know. I still work for the Giants as a scout, so I'm not free to criticize them and I wouldn't if I were.