But the rookies
spent the rest period wisely. First they congratulated themselves on still
being alive, and they took note that hardly anyone was bloody. Then one player
offered a startling discovery. "You know," he said, "during one
time-out I was just standing around so I started counting Biggs' arms and legs.
You know what, he's only got two of each." And, he informed everyone, he
had counted twice to make sure. It was, as Seymour would say later, the
collective realization that professionals are human, too.
not Namath," said Podolak, with-a cheerful grin. "You know. He's
"You can say
that again," said Ron Pritchard, the excellent linebacker from Arizona
State who is moving on to the Oilers. "One time we had a blitz and I know I
didn't give it away. But Namath picked it up. Before I even hit the line of
scrimmage Pete Lammons was in behind me and Namath had the ball to him. He
reads, man, he reads."
No longer awed by
the Jets, the Stars went out in the second half to play their game. Altie
Taylor got it going with a 78-yard return of a kickoff after the Jets had made
it 16-0 on Turner's third field goal. Then Cook, who had completed but one pass
for four yards in the first half, found himself. "He surprised us,"
said Podolak. "All of a sudden he seemed to get poise. The whole picture of
what was happening snapped into his mind. It was there and he called some
Three of the
plays were touchdown passes: 17 yards to Gene Washington of Stanford ( 49ers);
12 yards to Bob Klein of USC ( Rams); and then, with 16 seconds to play, 19
yards to Jerry Levias of SMU (Oilers). Those, with Roy Gerela's 28-yard field
goal after the aborted touchdown, were all the clock would allow.
The Jets, in the
meantime, had matched their first-half output, again getting a touchdown from
Snell, this on a pretty 35-yard run, and a fourth field goal by Turner. Namath
completed seven of 13 for 94 yards before leaving with five minutes to play. He
wasn't all that happy with his performance.
"I had some
receivers open and I overthrew them," he said later, with some disgust.
Then, shrugging, he added, "But we won, and that's what counts. We've got
five exhibitions to go and we'll be ready when the season opens."
Best of all, the
knees took several savage raps yet held up beautifully. "I just wish,"
he said, "I could come out of all the games feeling as good as I do
Namath even fared
better than Graham, who, after an argument with Sample, came away with a cut on
the bridge of his nose. Their quarrel was not new. They have been battling
since 1958, when Sample was on the All-Stars and Graham didn't let him play
until the last three minutes. Then Otto wrote Ewbank, who was coaching at
Baltimore, and said Sample would never make it as a pro.