Albert was virtually a unanimous All-America selection for 1940, and Shaughnessy was named Coach of the Year.
Three weeks before the Rose Bowl, the Chicago Bears scored an astonishing 73-0 win over the Washington Redskins in the NFL championship game. Shaughnessy, whose association with Halas dated to 1933, had taken time out from his own team's preparations to assist his old collaborator before the title game. Halas had described Shaughnessy as "the greatest play designer in the game," and the Bears' offense was at least partly his creation. In Sid Luckman, Halas also had found the quarterback he required to make the T work as it was meant to. What had once been an offense rooted to the brute power of Fullback Bronko Nagurski had become a magic show. The electrifying successes, one after the other, of the two T teams incited a revolution in both college and professional football. It was as if the two teams had had the same coaching staffs, which, in a way, they had. Shaughnessy watched Halas' landmark victory and Halas watched Shaughnessy's. They shared a common sense of vindication.
After graduating from Stanford in 1942 and serving three years in the Navy during World War II, Albert, still a legend, signed to play with the 49ers in their first season, 1946. A pioneer once again, he was the box-office draw the team required for survival in the new All-America Conference. His passing, bootlegging, quick kicking and incurable gambling endeared him to a postwar generation of fans hungry for entertainment. Albert was flashy; he was also very good. In 1948 he threw 29 touchdown passes to eclipse a pro football record held by Luckman. He also scored eight times to help account for an amazing 37 touchdowns. He was the team's quarterback when it entered the NFL in 1950.
Albert retired after the 1952 season. In his last game, a win over the Green Bay Packers, he flamboyantly tore off his helmet, jersey, socks and shoes and tossed them to admiring youngsters on the Kezar playing field. He coached the 49ers for three years, 1956 through '58, and nearly won a championship, his '57 team losing 31-27 to the Detroit Lions in a heartbreaking playoff for the Western Conference championship, after leading 24-7 at the half. Disillusioned, Albert quit coaching after 1958, declaring himself "emotionally unsuited" to the task. To those who questioned his decision, he replied, as he still does, "Have you ever seen a happy coach?" Albert would never again risk that sort of unhappiness, preferring to dabble in a variety of business ventures—real estate, restaurants, automobiles—most of which earned him healthy profits.
His old teammates seem surprised that he is not even more successful, that he is not the chairman of some conglomerate or the president of a television network, so unwavering is their faith in his originality and resourcefulness. But Albert has stayed out of the big races. "I'm not too much for working," he says. "I've got everything in life I require. I've just been lucky."
Shaughnessy quit Stanford after the 1941 season when it became apparent the university would discontinue football during World War II. He moved first to the University of Maryland, then to Pittsburgh and back to Maryland again. In 1948 he became head coach of the Los Angeles Rams, a job he held for only two seasons before owner Dan Reeves—charging Shaughnessy with creating "internal friction"—replaced him with Joe Stydahar. Shaughnessy's own parting remarks were characteristic: "When Stydahar gets through with the Rams, I can take any high school team in the country and beat him." It was hardly a prophecy; the Rams won a division championship in Stydahar's first season and shattered almost every league record for passing yardage and scoring.
Except for a fill-in job at the University of Hawaii in 1965, Shaughnessy never worked again as a head coach. He served Halas as an assistant from 1951 to 1962. When he quit, he complained of "differences," even with so rare a friend.
Clark Shaughnessy died on May 15, 1970 in Santa Monica, Calif, at the age of 78, his reputation for genius somehow intact despite a 149-116-17 record that scarcely compared with those of similarly acclaimed coaches. It was a reputation constructed largely on one all-triumphant, incandescent season. Never after 1940 did he find the right combination of time, circumstances and people to serve his restless intellect and turbulent energies. But it can be said that, perhaps more than any coach in the game's history, he left an enduring heritage.
There were many mourners at Shaughnessy's funeral, but the largest representation by far came from the Wow Boys of 1940. To them, prominent men in business and the professions, he remains "Mr. Shaughnessy, Coach."