Story three: George Allen ran the team defense and the college draft in Halas' last years of coaching. The '63 club won because of its defense, Allen's defense. When Allen got a chance to take over the Rams a couple of years later, Halas refused to let him out of his assistant's contract and took him to court over it. As soon as it was routinely established in court that Allen and the Bears did have a contract, Halas rose and withdrew his objections. Then, all he asked of Allen was that he hand over his Bear playbook.
George Allen says now, "Grudge? I understand completely what he was doing. George Halas is a great man, and every day I appreciate him more and more. Just a great, great man."
Probably it has never had anything to do with money. It was just that Papa Bear valued the Bears more than anyone else, and no one was going to take a piece without his extracting fair payment. Buying jewelry, giving Jim Finks his authority, parceling out a $500 raise—it is all the same when you are the guardian of an institution and/or you are the institution itself.
So, Coach, do you have any regrets? Any at all?
"Well, I'd be glad to do it all over except for two things."
"First would be the goddamn rubber-shoe game."
And the other thing?
"It was the Depression, and I decided to buy out my partner, Dutch Sternaman. But to get his half of the team for $32,000, I had to pledge everything, including my half. You understand? If I couldn't get all the $32,000 in time, Sternaman got the Bears. And I couldn't find the last $5,000. It was the Depression, and I couldn't raise it anywhere.
"Luckily, a few years before, in '28, I had invested in a development in Antioch, Ellanoy, and so I knew Mr. C. K. Anderson, who was the president of the First National Bank of Antioch, and so I went to see him at his office at 134 South LaSalle Street, and I explained my predicament, and he gave me the $5,000, and I got the money to Sternaman five minutes before I would have lost the Bears. Now, that is the other thing I would not like to go through again."