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MUDDLE IN THE HUDDLE
Dan Jenkins
September 22, 1975
It was the moment for a big decision on the arctic turf of the Polo Grounds that Sunday in the hopeful year of 1934. The Chicago Bears had battered the New York Giants all afternoon and seemed to be headed for another NFL championship, one that again would be shaped by the legendary cleats of Bronko Nagurski and George Musso and those other Monsters of the Midway. Now in the fourth quarter with the Bears leading by a field goal there was a time-out, and Ed Danowski, the Giant quarterback, knelt on the frozen surface and gazed at the scarred and weary but noblest of the Giants: at Mel Hein, Ray Flaherty, Ike Frankian and, finally, at the half-crippled but gallant Ken Strong.
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September 22, 1975

Muddle In The Huddle

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"Carrying the ball from scrimmage is all right," Strong said, "as long as I don't run anywhere near Musso. Sidney says I have to sit for some commercial stills tomorrow—Ovaltine cans or something—and I can't afford to get banged up like Harry Newman and Red Badgro."

"When Mel hups me the ball I'll slip it to you and you can go into left tackle," said Danowski. "Hup me the ball on hike, Mel."

"I'll do it," Hein said, "but I want to go on record as saying that this entire afternoon has been a dehumanizing experience."

"Debilitating as well," said Strong. "Somebody actually heard Halas tell them to step on our toes."

Danowski said, "You might expect the owners' Management Council to do something as arbitrary as that but I don't think a fellow union member would."

"Musso would," said Strong.

"Well, cut for the sideline, Ken," Danowski said, "and maybe they'll all slip on the ice."

Hein hupped the ball to Danowski and Danowski gave it to Strong, who skittered through the line and then loped 40 yards down the sideline while the Bears imitated Sonja Henie in a death spiral. His touchdown moved the Giants ahead 17-13. Moments later Strong did it again, and then Danowski scored, and as suddenly as all that the Monsters of the Midway had been historically upset, 30-13.

It was this shocking result that did much to increase the interest in pro football and collective bargaining.

Afterward, the players of both teams issued a statement through the Sidney Wolfe & Associates Theatrical/Sports Management Corporation. In part, the statement said the players were delighted to see that "competitive balance" had reached the league but they still deplored the "suffocating paternalism" of the owners and coaches.

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