"Winning is a state of mind," Lee said after the game. "I never thought we would lose today. You have to assume that you will win. If you think you will lose, you are going to get whipped."
When the Falcons were having difficulties during the exhibition season, some Atlanta writers speculated on the possibility of Van Brocklin making a trade for Craig Morton, the Dallas quarterback now playing behind Roger Staubach. At that time Van Brocklin had gone on record as saying that in Shiner, Sullivan and Lee he had three quarterbacks as good as anybody's. He batted .333 on that bit of bluster, which is better in baseball than it is in football.
He told an Atlanta writer, anent the trade for Morton, "To heck with Morton and to heck with your readers." The Dutchman comes up a little short as a P.R. man, although he has his warm moments. Just after abruptly cutting off his postgame interview in Philadelphia because of what he considered a stupid question, he asked an old friend into the coach's dressing room so that he could recommend a young Atlanta reporter for a promotion.
But just before that, a writer using a tape recorder thrust the microphone under his nose. Said Dutch, "Don't put that thing in my mouth, Sonny, or you'll be wearing it in a different part of your anatomy."
That hardly fits Lee's assessment of Van Brocklin as a gracious man. But, of course, all coaches are gracious with quarterbacks who put up five wins in a row. If Lee can add four more, the Dutchman will be positively genial.