"Yes," said Temerario.
"Well," said Brown, "Washington looks like Pittsburgh to me."
Brown had grown up in Pittsburgh and as a high school senior he had given up baseball, his favorite sport, so he could learn football and win a scholarship, for which he had to travel all the way to Dodge City Junior College and then to Kansas State. He had not done all that, said Brown, just to wind up in another place that looked like Pittsburgh to him.
Well, the Redskins had a black scout in those days named Bob White, who was dying of cancer. White's health kept him confined to his beautifully furnished home in suburban Washington. Temerario sent Brown there and within half an hour White and his house had convinced Brown that Washington need not be a ghetto; he signed.
When practice got under way, however, Brown kept blowing his assignments. The coaches knew there was something wrong with his hearing and they tried moving him around in the huddle, but that did not help. Tests showed Brown was practically deaf in one ear. When a hearing-aid specialist was consulted, he said he could put an amplifying system in Brown's helmet but Brown would still never hear anything that came from his deaf side. That meant he could not hear audibles unless he lined up on the same side every time, which was impractical.
Temerario, who had thought of sending Brown to Bob White, then thought of something else. He suggested they put the hearing aid in Brown's bad ear, to pick up sound coming from that side, and run a tube from the aid and over his head inside the helmet to carry the sound to the good ear. So it is that Brown wears a $400 helmet and has rushed this year for an average of 120 yards a game.
"You don't tackle Brown," says St. Louis Defensive Tackle Bob Rowe, "you just hit him and hope help comes along." "He's a small Jim Brown," says Giant Defensive Coach Jim Garrett. "He gives you the dead leg." What that means, says Rover Gregory, is that "he gives you his leg and then relaxes it"—when you hit him he goes slack while you clamber for leverage, and then he takes off again. Alive, the Brown leg is a marvel—the muscle in back of the thigh is so large that he appears to have two thighs tied together on each leg. He keeps these astonishing limbs built up by working with leg weights. "My legs," he says, "mean as much as my heart."
Though Brown is the wonder of his team, Coach Allen's heart belongs to his defense. He will often huddle with them on the sidelines, oblivious to what his offense is doing on the field. Garrett of the Giants holds the Redskin defense up as a model. "They're what we want to be striving for," he says. "Each player knows the other like the palm of his hand."
Allen meets for an hour and a half after every practice with Pardee, who is referred to by some teammates as "the quarterback." The coach prepares—and uses—great doses of psychology. And the Redskins are believers. "If we lose another game," says John Wilbur, a guard, "we'll negate the Dallas game. Can you believe that? That makes every game as important as the Dallas game."
It was the 24-20 victory over the defending world champions two weeks ago that forced people to seriously consider that Washington has a good shot at its first championship in 30 years. So the Redskins had no reason to take New York lightly. Besides, they were up against that iron imperative: no win, no ice cream.