authority with avidity; the one place he knocks himself out is with the
quarterbacks. He spends endless hours with them, checking movies of past games,
studying rival defenses and discussing strategy. On the day of a home game, the
other players go directly to Briggs Stadium, but Parker and his quarterbacks
stop at the Lions office for a last check of films and a blackboard
quarterbacks are the bread-and-butter guys of a winning team," he says,
"and the toughest to find. We picked Dublinski out of Utah University three
years ago and have been grooming him ever since. He's figuring big in our plans
now, but we had to bring him along slowly. You can ruin a kid by rushing
dividing the quarterback assignment this year with Bobby Layne, the
$20,000-a-season veteran who was the key performer in the title matches of the
past two years. Having two fine quarterbacks can look like a blessing and it
can also mean trouble. When Los Angeles had Bob Waterfield and Norm Van
Brocklin, the Ram players split down the middle, backing one signal caller
against the other. It was a pretty mess, and the parallel has been pointed out
to Parker, but he shrugs it off. "Who ever complained about having two good
quarterbacks?" he asks.
like being wrong. He needs a good public relations man at his elbow when he
loses, for his shyness deserts him and he speaks up with vehemence. After
Detroit lost to San Francisco this year, he went into a staff meeting with his
coaches that lasted six hours.
tomorrow for a football coach," he says. "You either win today or you
find yourself back in Texas."
Parker draws approximately $40,000 a year. He works under a one-year contract,
with bonuses based on home attendance and team performance. The Lions drew
370,186 for seven games in 1953, which is fabulous.
Parker is a winner
for good reasons. He is an organizer who pays attention to the smallest detail
and he is also a keen judge of talent and a real horse trader Two of his best
linemen, Jerry Perry and Bob Dove, were picked up as free agents after they had
been dropped by other clubs. The deal that made the club, and also Parker, was
getting Bobby Layne. What the rest of the league was thinking about, nobody
will ever know. Layne had been drafted by the Chicago Bears and then shunted
off to New York, where he was getting nowhere fast. Parker bought him, paired
him with his old high school teammate, Doak Walker, and proceeded to ruin the
Parker is the
boss, but his coaching staff is run on the committee plan. He never takes a
major step without the advice of his assistants, and the organization runs like
something that has come off a Detroit assembly line. George Wilson, who played
for 11 years on George Halas' greatest Chicago Bear teams, terms Parker
"the most thorough organizer in the business."
But Parker is a
hard-boiled gentleman who prefers not to live on illusions. Organization is all
very well, provided you have something to organize.