SI Vault
 
EVERYONE CAN'T BE FIRST STRING
George Plimpton
December 18, 1972
...not even Johnny Unitas. When the premier quarterback of all time was axed, left kneeling on the sidelines, even the man who had made the decision knew that he had opened 'a can of worms'
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
December 18, 1972

Everyone Can't Be First String

...not even Johnny Unitas. When the premier quarterback of all time was axed, left kneeling on the sidelines, even the man who had made the decision knew that he had opened 'a can of worms'

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

"Hey," he said. He did not want to talk about the football game. "Have you ever been to Hawk Mountain?"

"No," I said. "I've heard of it."

"I read somewhere that during the fall migration thousands of hawks fly past there. It's in Pennsylvania. That's what I'd like to do when I quit football—take my kids up there and look at the hawks."

"Are your kids keen on birds?" I asked.

"They'd better be," he said firmly. He looked very determined.

"Which one's Irsay?" I asked. "Is he here?"

"The new owner?" Vogel squinted. Bird watcher's eyes, I thought. "He's the one over there—beyond the towels—the florid one. Reddish plumage and beak."

I grinned at Vogel and went over to Irsay. He was staring at the floor. I introduced myself. I had heard he was painfully shy. He shook hands. He has red hair, a big friendly face, red from the cold outside, with a flat nose set upon it. He was wearing a red tie and a red-striped shirt. Vogel was right. He was florid. I told him I was sorry about the Baltimore defeat.

"Let me tell you something," he said, and he gave me a quick look.

"What's that?"

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11