So he says, "That's all right. We realize you probably didn't know what the rules are. We just don't want it to happen again, Steve."
So I tried. I was on my best behavior for the rest of camp, yet somehow I still managed to get in trouble. For one thing, Rosey Brown, the old lineman, was coaching the tackles, and he didn't agree with the way I played my position.
I played four years at Green Bay, where I was taught how to play football by someone I consider the greatest offensive tackle ever, Forrest Gregg. Now Rosey was, to say the least, not the quickest or the most agile of tackles. Strong, yeah, he could take on anybody. He believed in brute strength. I believed in quickness and finesse, because there was no way in the world I was going to take on a guy who weighed 280 and handle him physically. I'll take him out one way or another, but I'm not going to try to outmuscle him because I'd lose. I knew this.
Rosey and I had different philosophies but I tried to play it Rosey's way. One day Allie came up to me and said, "Steve, I'd like to talk to you for a minute." I knew I hadn't been playing good football so I knew what he wanted to talk about. He said, "I don't want you to get excited. I don't want you to get nervous or anything. But if you don't play better football this next game, I'm going to trade you."
Beautiful. No problem, don't worry about it, don't get nervous, but I'll trade you while your name's still good. I'd been around long enough to know I could still play football but I was thinking. What happens if he tells this to a rookie?
I told Rosey that Allie wasn't satisfied with the way I'd been playing, and I wasn't either, and I was going back to playing the way I knew how. Rosey said, "O.K., but just remember one thing. If you get beat playing my way I can stick up for you. If you get beat playing your way, I can't say a word."
Did he think his word was going to save my job if I was getting beat? I said, "If I get beat, I get beat, whether I'm playing my way or your way. It doesn't make any difference. So I'd rather play it my way." He said, "O.K., but I warned you." Oh, man. But I started playing my kind of football and there was no problem there.
Things started getting disturbing on the Giants' first road trip, which was to Green Bay, ironically. When I was getting on the plane the guys asked me if I was married. I said, no, and they said O.K., you're all right then, because if you're married and Wellington sees you, messing with one of the stewardesses he'll trade you tomorrow. And watch your language or you're in trouble. And don't talk about the game if we lose, because Wellington will be mad.
And since Wellington and his friends always sat right there in the middle of the players, this automatically created a feeling of tension throughout the back of the plane. In addition to this, a number of select players, like Tucker, always sat in first class. If I sat there it was made clear to me that, no, you can't sit there, that's my seat. Well, who says it's your seat? I'm going to play out there tomorrow just as much as you are and I'm 6'6" and you're only 5'10" and I'm going to be more comfortable here than I am back there in coach. Well, you can't sit here. All right, the hell with it, I'm not going to sit here and argue with you, I'll move. It was all really great for team unity.
That's one thing I did get changed with the Giants, at least temporarily. The thing I put across was that the press and the coaching staff and Wellington Mara and his friends ought to move up to first class with nothing but football players in the back so you could sit and talk, do what you want, bitch if you want, say, anything you want and not have to worry about being overheard.