use of kidding ourselves?" he asks. "You got to get the
This is an
around-the-clock, around-the-calendar job. Bob Nussbaumer, who played with
Green Bay, Washington and the Chicago Cardinals, is a full-time player talent
scout for the Lions. Nine other part-time scouts are scattered over the country
and draw regular salaries. Other talent comes from friendly college coaches,
former Detroit players and active players. Detroit spends approximately $20,000
a year on scouting. The N.F.L. high is the $35,000 of the Los Angeles Rams; the
low is $2,500 of the Chicago Cardinals, which shows it. Of the 33 players on
the Lions' current squad, 27 were selected in the annual draft and all these
choices have been made since 1950.
YOUNG BUCKS FOR
every year; that's the ticket," says Buddy. "You get a little
self-satisfied and fat-headed and your team falls apart on you. Five or six new
men every season is about right."
Parker picks his
men for speed, size and eagerness to play football. He can spot an All-America
phony a mile off and is not impressed by "name" schools or newspaper
build-ups. The annual player draft is a giant lottery, but Parker reduces the
gamble by intensive investigation before a choice is made. From the 1953 draft,
six of the Lions' first eight draft choices made the squad. The other two were
Parker inherited a
hornet's nest when he took over for Bo McMillin at Detroit. The team was
wracked with dissension and the players were going over Bo's head with
complaints to the Board of Directors. Nobody likes to criticize McMillin, one
of football's legendary heroes, and the trouble can possibly be attributed to
the fact that the team wasn't winning. This always brings on an explosive
situation and Parker had to be prepared to act fast when he took command.
He solved the
players difficulty at the outset by establishing a "Players Executive
Committee." The group acts as spokesman for the players and gives the squad
a self-policing unit. The committee has five members, selected by the players
themselves. The members this year are Doak Walker, Bob Hoernschemeyer, Les
Bingaman, LaVern Torgeson and Thurman McGraw.
Parker is an easy
disciplinarian, but there has been no general movement among the Lions to walk
you plenty of rope," Bobby Layne says, "and he can also yank that
Leon Hart, the
gargantuan end who played under Frank Leahy at Notre Dame before he came to the
Lions, compares the policies of the two men.