One is put in mind of John Brodie's accident back in 1963—the one that shattered his passing arm and developed into that highly serviceable "service facsimile." Brodie had plowed into a tree while driving up in the hills of the coastal range near his country club, Sharon Heights, just west of Palo Alto. "I took my eyes off the road for a moment and that caused me to misjudge a sharp turn," he says. "Fortunately, I had time to throw myself to the right, away from the steering wheel." Curiously, John Ralston, who had just taken over as head football coach at Stanford and who had never met Brodie, was driving only 300 yards behind. Ralston stopped and his wife placed a call for help from a nearby phone.
Brodie chuckled at the once painful memory. Slick and ambitious in the past, he had felt unfulfilled because he hadn't won a championship ring. Now that he has been turned on to Scientology, he realizes that happiness should be defined as measurable progress toward a desired goal, not just the final achievement of it. Working with the team in practice, Brodie put his new beliefs into effect. Holding the tackling dummies for beefy rookies, coaching the new quarterbacks in handoffs and dumping procedures, he appeared to be the soul of selflessness, yet he had never been more "self-directed" by his desire that the 49ers win the NFL title. A most valuable player in all respects, and the upcoming season may witness his true worth. This, after all, is the prime of Mr. John Brodie.