You could hit him
as hard as you could, as hard as you could take it, but only with your hands
and arms. You couldn't throw a shoulder into the one with the ball.
Anyway, on one
play Howie had caught this guy from Perth Amboy by mistake with an elbow in the
mouth and loosened his front teeth, not that this seemed to bother him any.
Not at first, but
on the next play I could hardly get the ball off because of the way he looked.
He had this big flat face and the blood was coming out of his open mouth like
Victoria Falls, down off his chin all over the front of his shirt. There was
blood all over everybody. My only thought was to keep it, or my own blood, off
When it finally
happened we were down inside their 45 with fourth down coming up. We were two
touchdowns ahead and had maybe eight yards for the first down. We were over on
the right hash mark, and the whole left side of the held was open.
I had been going
pretty well all afternoon except for this series, and we had them beat. I
guess, having not yet been killed, I was feeling a little cocky. And so,
kneeling in the huddle, I said, "The hell with fourth down. We're going for
it," and called a swing pattern that would delay the blocking back out into
the open side of the field where he could outrun their linebacker for the
marker. I sent everybody else to the short side.
It's still clear
to me even after what happened. I called the play on four because we had been
going on two or three counts all afternoon, and I thought maybe we could pick
up five on the offside penalty, but we didn't. They didn't budge, and on four
the ball came back and I moved to set up looking right.
I waited for the
delay, and then I saw our blocking back start off, but he was running too close
to the line and wasn't looking. He ran straight into that monster with the
bloody mouth, and down he went. I looked to the short side but they were all
jammed in there. Then I recalled Tittle again, and how when things got really
bad he'd take off. Remember that slow-motion way he used to run, going flat out
to the flag in those high-topped shoes? For one frightened minute that was
Even when I was
faster, years ago, I was never very swift, and things hadn't improved. But my
angle was pretty good, and I didn't see anybody on that side of the field. I
figured I'd just go for the touchdown marker and run out of bounds. I put my
eye on it and chugged as fast as I could for the sideline.
I was about
halfway there when I saw this guy coming out of the corner of my eye. He was
all red in the face and had a red shirt on, and then I realized that it was the
monster, and there I was out in the open field with him. I started to get a
little nervous and really poured it on. I thought I could make it, but I
didn't. I couldn't. Two steps from the stake this guy threw himself at me,
high, with his shoulder, and I took all of him in the chest, up on the right
I don't remember
much about the next 10 minutes or so. I recall going up in the air and feeling
this thing in my chest, and then a sharp pain, as though a lung had burst and
the inside of me was full of fluid. I thought for a second how Tittle must have
felt that afternoon in Pitt Stadium against Pittsburgh, and that was all. I
came down into the equipment box and the first-aid case, and went out.