History needs to be corrected on one vital point. Ken Strong never said, "If we don't get a $12 raise out of this, they're going to see anarchy in the marketplace."
The next most memorable event in the growth of pro football and the accompanying corporate problems was the day a new batch of Chicago Bears overwhelmed the Washington Redskins 73-0 in the championship game of 1940. Volumes have been written about it. But recently some new and penetrating questions have been posed about that bizarre game by friends of the National Football League Players' Association.
A few examples:
1) The lopsided score may well not be an official NFL championship-game record because the Bears' starting lineup of George Wilson, Lee Artoe, George Musso, Bulldog Turner, Danny Fortmann, Joe Stydahar, Dick Plasman, Sid Luck-man, George McAfee, Bill Osmanski and Ray Nolting did not contain a single black. Why?
2) George Halas may have openly and flagrantly practiced discrimination against linemen that day because, even though it was evident the Bears could score at will, Halas denied four Bear starters—Artoe, Fortmann, Musso and Wilson—the opportunity to get a touchdown or an extra point. Why?
3) Halas may have practiced further discrimination against the remainder of the team. The squad numbered 33 players and yet only 10 Bears scored the 11 touchdowns and only six different Bears contributed seven extra points. Why?
4) A summary of the scoring reveals that Bulldog Turner, the Bears' immortal center, intercepted a pass and made a touchdown that raised the third-quarter score to 54-0. Why was Turner in the game at this point, risking needless injury that might have shortened his career and earning capacity? One answer—that the Washington Redskins by that time were laughing harder than the Bears—has been deemed wholly unsatisfactory by some members of the NFLPA research committee.
5) The Bears' T formation may have been illegal. It did not have a wide receiver, and Sid Luckman, the quarterback, could not "isolate" on an opposing linebacker. Thus, there was no clear explanation for any Bear touchdown. "Unless a broadcaster or sportswriter can be assured that the quarterback has isolated a fast receiver on a slow linebacker, in the event of a touchdown pass, the reportage of any game, past or present, can only be regarded as fragmentary at best," a spokesman for the NFLPA has pointed out.
6) It was not the fault of the Bear players that their epic 73-0 win occurred in the pretelevision era. It has been estimated that if the sport had enjoyed a wider national appeal at the time, the 1940 Bears, through various marketing devices, would have earned $8,987,000 more than they did. This money should now be put into a special fund and divided among today's players for preseason games, along with the $16,576,000 the Redskins' Sammy Baugh could have earned from Superstars and panty-hose commercials.
7) It is conceivable that Baugh's Constitutional rights were abrogated when George Preston Marshall removed him from the game in the third quarter when his team trailed by only 41-0. An arm of the Players Association is said to be working on a proposal to be presented to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in which the players will ask that less emphasis be placed on the final scores of games.