SI Vault
 
PARKER KEEPS IT SIMPLE
Tommy Devine
November 15, 1954
In an age when it takes a battery of IBM machines to run some football teams?and players must be a cross between a buffalo and an automatic calculator?the coach of the Detroit Lions uses only four plays and wins
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
November 15, 1954

Parker Keeps It Simple

In an age when it takes a battery of IBM machines to run some football teams?and players must be a cross between a buffalo and an automatic calculator?the coach of the Detroit Lions uses only four plays and wins

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue

DETROIT ROSTER

OFFENSIVE

BOTH

DEFENSIVE

CENTERS

ANE, CHARLES T.
23, 6'2", 260 lbs. U.S.C.
MIKETA, ANDREW J.
24, 6'2", 225 lbs. U.N.C.

TORGESON, LAVERN E.
25, 6', 215 lbs. Wash. St.

GUARDS

STANFEL, RICHARD A.
27, 6'2", 240 lbs. San Fran.

MARTIN, JAMES
30, 6'2", 220 lbs. N.D.
SEWELL, HARLEY
23, 6'1", 225 lbs. Texas

BINGAMAN, LESTER
28, 6'3", 330 lbs. Illinois
SCHMIDT, JOSEPH P.
22, 6', 220 lbs. Pitt.

TACKLES

CREEKMUR, LOUIS
27, 6'4", 250 lbs. Wm. & Mary
McGRAW, THURMAN F.
27, 6'5", 235 lbs. Col. A&M
MILLER, ROBERT M.
25, 6'2", 235 lbs. Virg.

MAINS, GILBERT
24, 6'3", 230 lbs. Murray St.
PERRY, GERALD
24, 6'4", 235 lbs. Calif.

ENDS

BOX, CLOYCE K.
31, 6'4", 220 lbs. W. Texas
DIBBLE, DORNE
25, 6'2", 195 lbs. Mich. St.

DORAN, JAMES R.
26, 6'2", 200 lbs. Iowa St.
HART, LEON J.
25, 6'5", 250 lbs. N.D.

CAIN, JAMES E.
26, 6'4", 200 lbs. Alabama
DOVE, ROBERT
33, 6'2", 220 lbs. N.D.
GANDEE, SHERWIN
25, 6'1", 210 lbs. Ohio State

QUARTERBACKS

DUBLINSKI, TOM
24, 6'2", 190 lbs. Utah
LAYNE, ROBERT L.
27, 6'1", 200 lbs. Texas

HALFBACKS

CARPENTER, LEWIS
22, 6'1", 200 lbs. Arkansas
HOERNSCHEMEYER, BOB
29, 6', 190 lbs. Indiana
KERCHER, RICHARD
22, 6'2", 205 lbs. Tulsa
WALKER, E. DOAK
26, 5'10", 172 lbs. S.M.U.

GIRARD, EARL
27, 5'11", 175 lbs. Wise.

CHRISTIANSEN, JACK
26, 6'1", 185 lbs. Col. A&M
DAVID, JAMES T.
26, 5'10", 175 lbs. Col. A&M
KARILIVACZ, CARL E.
24, 6', 185 lbs. Syracuse
STITS, WILLIAM D.
23, 6', 190 lbs. U.C.L.A.

FULLBACKS

BOWMAN, WILLIAM E.
23, 6'2", 210 lbs. Wm. & Mary
SMITH, ROBERT L.
24, 6', 204 lbs. Texas A&M

Buddy Parker is tall, taciturn and Texan. His Detroit Lions have won the national professional football championship two years in a row and have a good chance of winning again this year. Not only is Parker the top football coach of America, but he has another distinction: he is almost totally unknown to the general public.

This takes some doing and Parker is the man for it. He has no "color" whatever; he has never in his life dropped a brilliant impromptu quip; he keeps out of controversy and he regards football banquets and Monday-Morning-Quarterback-Clubs with a deadly loathing. Even at private interviews he squirms painfully, shifts position constantly in his chair and chain-smokes cigarets. He came out of Kemp, Texas (population 881, U.S. Census, 1950) and 20 years as professional football player and coach have not cured his shyness.

When Parker took over the Detroit job from the late Bo McMillin, the Lions were a chronic second-division club and there was expectation that the next visitor to the downtown offices would be the sheriff with the usual notice. The team was a small Balkan province filled with internecine warfare, and the directors alternated between bleats of pain and cries of rage. Since that time Parker's record with the Lions has consisted of 30 victories, 10 defeats and one tie. The Detroit franchise is now generally regarded as an uranium mine.

Raymond K. (Buddy) Parker is 40 years old and looks like an athlete. He is trim and well-conditioned, with 200 pounds on a six-foot frame. He retains the nasal twang of his Southwestern drawl and has the leathery lined face of an apple that has been too long in the sun. His dark hair hasn't even a fleck of gray and is parted neatly on the right.

Parker's greatest achievement is in beating Paul Brown, once regarded as the miracle man of football. No Parker-coached team had ever lost to Brown's Cleveland monsters, either in exhibition, regular season or play-off games until Brown pulled a mild upset last season when his Eastern All-Stars beat the West. The Lions N.F.L. championships in 1952 and 1953 were gained by beating Cleveland, 17-7 and 17-16. Brown is balding, complicated and morose. Before each play, he sends in a guard with orders for the next play; Parker gives his quarterback all the leeway in the world.

"That 'play messenger' stuff is the bunk," says Parker. "What's so mysterious about football?"

WHY BUMFOOZLE THEM?

Parker's coaching reflects his personality. His manner is plain and simple. He coaches his team that way.

"If you ask me," he says, "what ruins most teams is over-coaching. I can sit here in my office and think up plays by the yard. You set up an offense and then you think 'I'd better add this play' and a helpful assistant suggests 'Let's put this in.' What about the players out there on the line of scrimmage who have to solve these masterpieces on the spur of the moment? They're smart enough, but why bumfoozle them? We've gone through games where we used only four basic plays and the variations you get off them. You don't outmaneuver teams in this league, you beat them with good solid blocking and tackling."

In a game this year at Briggs Stadium against Los Angeles ( Lions 21; Rams 3), Parker motioned Quarterback Tom Dublinski to the sidelines during a time out.

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5