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.
"Ken," Danowski said to his famed running back, "what do you think of tax-free municipals?"
"My agent-manager was strongly recommending them earlier in the year," Strong said. "You can get a better return in commercial paper, of course, but the economy is fairly uncertain, as we all know."
Mel Hein said, "I was chatting with Bronko after their touchdown and he said Keith Molesworth may be quitting as their player representative."
"Yes, I'd heard that," Strong said. "He's been very disturbed about the minimum-salary and disability-benefit issues."
Hein said, "Frankly, I was surprised that Jack Manders came in and kicked their last field goal. In the first quarter I overheard him tell Link Lyman that if George Halas didn't become more responsive to the questions of pensions and preseason pay he might sit out the rest of the game."
Bo Molenda spoke up. "Has anyone else read the progress report on the option-compensation clause?"
"I've only glanced at it," said Hein. "The Bears' Gene Ronzani showed me a copy when we bumped into each other coming out for the second half. He had asked me why we had all changed into tennis shoes, and while we were talking I scanned the report."
"Personally, I don't think I stand up any better in these things," Ken Strong said. "Your feet are certainly colder. It's still 10� out here, you know. When I phoned my agent-manager at halftime and told him about it he suggested I go ahead and finish the game, but he said there might very well be a criminal negligence suit in this against the Maras, Steve Owen and Manhattan College."
Danowski said, "I think I'm going to have to call a play now, Ken. Did you get an answer on whether you can run off tackle anymore?"