The Galloping Ghost

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I don’t think so. I suppose it did represent a tremendous change in their attitude in a fairly short period of time, because all they had done before was to give me hell for being in the pro league. But by that time more and more college graduates were turning professional. You see, right after I dropped out of school and joined the Bears, the pros passed a rule that they could not draft anybody until his class had graduated, and that rule took a lot of the fear out of the colleges, who were afraid the pros would raid their teams. Later on, in 1950, somebody nominated me to run as a Republican candidate for trustee at the university. I didn’t ask for the nomination, and I didn’t campaign at all, but I still received more votes that year than anyone in the state, including Governor Adlai Stevenson. But I didn’t enjoy being on the board. I hadn’t been a trustee more than a couple of days, and I started getting phone calls from politicians, telling me to put this guy or that guy to work or else you won’t get your budget through. I don’t believe it’s the right way to run a university, and I got out as soon as I could.

Your last year with the Bears, 1934, was one oj their best, wasn’t it ?

That’s right. We won all thirteen of our regular season games, and that record stood until 1972, when the Miami Dolphins broke it. Then on December 9 we played the Giants again for the championship, this time on the frozen turf of the Polo Grounds. That was the famous “sneaker” game. We dominated them in the first half, and at half time the Giants borrowed some basketball shoes from nearby Manhattan College. When they came out wearing those sneakers, we thought they were crazy. But the second half of that game was probably the funniest, most ridiculous game ever played. There we were, running along with our cleated football shoes, and our feet were going out from under us. And the Giants, although not running fast, were just trotting along, doing all the things we couldn’t do. They beat us, 30-13, although it was a shame that we were forced to play a game of that importance in that kind of weather.

Tell me about your last game .

We played an exhibition game against those same Giants on January 27, 1Q35, in Hollywood’s Gilmore Stadium. Everybody, including the Giants, knew it was going to be my last appearance as a player. I sort of thought it would be nice if I could score one more touchdown, and then I’d just walk right to the clubhouse and that would be the end of it. Well, I went back into the game in the last quarter, and the Bears had the ball on about our ao-yard line. I ran a simple off-tackle play, and although I can’t prove it, I think the Giants let me get loose. So I started running as fast as I could, only it seemed like the doggone goal posts kept getting farther and farther away. At any rate, I could hear one of the Giants—a huge tackle named Gecil Irvin, who was so slow you could have timed him with a calendar —sneaking up on me. Finally, around the Giants’ 39-yard line, he caught up with me. I know he didn’t want to tackle me, but he had to. I said to myself, when a 23o-pound lineman can run me down in the open field, this is it, brother. I’ve had it. That’s the last time I ever played football.