With Allie, they used to have one bed check, two bed checks, three bed checks a night, stuff like that. One night they got my roommate, Bruce Maher. Bruce was always playing cards or talking in another room, never in his room where he was supposed to be. But this time he had a legitimate reason. One of his kids was sick and he was up on the third floor making calls to his home in Michigan. About 12:30 one of the coaches came in. "Where's Bruce? Not here? O.K., tell him to come down and see me when he gets back."
I guess it was about 1:30 when Bruce came in, and he had to go down and, like a little kid, tell the coaches where he had been. The whole coaching staff was there, and Wellington, too. When Maher came back to the room, he said, "First time in my life I told the truth and nobody believed me."
That's how it was then, kid stuff. One time at camp, Allie decided to put on the whole bag for us. He got a hall and he hired a band and a couple of acts, including a magician. Beautiful. You're going to have a good time and that's an order. But no girls. They had a six-piece band playing and there isn't a chick in the place, not one. Forty guys sitting there going, oh boy, wow, come on, honey, you wanna dance? It was Stalag 17 all over again.
There was no way there could be a girl around. That wouldn't be locking in, would it? Pete Gent came to the Giants that year and he showed up at training camp with the girl he later married. She stayed at a motel nearby but, even so, Pete was guilty of not locking in. It wasn't the proper thing to do, according to the Giants, and I have to believe that his bringing his girl friend up there had something to do with his being cut. He told me that Wellington gave him a line like "Pete, we think you're one of our best receivers. We've been watching you and you're doing fantastic. But we're gonna cut you anyway."
We really did lock in before the first Giants-Jets game, the exhibition in the Yale Bowl, the first game ever played between the two teams. The Jets had waited for this for years. And Wellington had kept them waiting. The Giants had not only refused to play the Jets, they wouldn't admit the Jets existed. And then, when they finally did play, the Jets were the world champions. Everybody on the Giants was very uptight. We were told not to say a word about the game. Allie said, "If I see anything in the paper, I'll cut you, I'll trade you in a minute. Don't give 'em a thing to work on. It's just another football game. We're gonna lock in and we're not gonna cop out."
So when anybody talked to a Giant, the Giant would say, "It's just another game, just an exhibition. We're not going to do anything different."
Meanwhile, the Jets were saying, "We'll kill 'em. We're going to annihilate 'em. We're going to eat 'em up and spit 'em out."
So we finally played and we did get annihilated, 37-14. The following Tuesday we're looking at the films when Allie came up with the most fantastic explanation of what happened.
"All right, you guys," he said. "We got beat, and you know why we got beat? You see that? Look at their bench. They're all sitting down. Look at ours. We're all standing up. That's why we got beat. There's no organization on our bench. Nobody knows what's going on. Look at them. Everybody's in the right spot."
He was dead serious. We lost the game because we stood up on the sideline. He also told us, "Incidentally, Wellington Mara says he's never been so hurt in all his life." It made tears come to your eyes. And this was the team that was saying it was just another game.