YES, IT WAS A GREAT YEAR, SAYS PACKERS' ASSISTANT
DEC 23 (Green Bay) - The boss was gone, so the Redhead has charge of the Northern building office. He took his work seriously - very seriously - and phone calls kept him busy, but between replaying that "Mr. Lambeau is not in. He will be gone about a month," he found time to remember a few things about the football season. The Redhead is Richard Smith, a product of the Fox river valley, who is assistant to Coach Earl L. Lambeau of the Green Bay Packers. To him goes credit for conditioning and developing a tough Packer forward wall. Where material was lacking, he plugged the gaps with more headwork than plaster. Red is a rough (ask Sham O'Brien), big-hearted, kidding practical joker away from grid affairs. During a Packer game he is serious to gloomy Dean Inge proportions. Yesterday, with the holiday spirit probably a contributing factor, his mood was almost sentimental as his thoughts reverted to the last few months. "Think," he said, "of Cecil Isbell." When Red says something, action follows, so Isbell was remembered. "Yes," he interrupted, "but you never got that first thrill of seeing him in the all-star game. He didn't amount to much in the draft - as far as the other coaches went - but Curly (Lambeau) had an idea. When we saw him step and pass in the all-star game, we know that the idea had clicked."...NEVER REACHED PEAK: "His possibilities are tremendous. He never reached his peak in college. He didn't hit it this year. But he is a greater football player today than when he reported to the Packers last September." And Red's view is one that is shared by Mr. Isbell himself. Before leaving here early last week, Cecil declared that "if Curly wants me, I'll really be set." Isbell returned to Purdue for work on a degree. But the lad from Texas wasn't the only football memory of Red. He went on: "Think of the great ball Bunny Schoemann played until he was hurt. We thought so much of him we wouldn't risk permanent injury. Next year he should be the outstanding center in the league. And Baby Ray. He was just a big kid when he reported. He wanted to learn, so he learned fast. He worked into left tackle even better than we anticipated in the first year. Don't forget that it was Clarke Hinkle's greatest year...I mean that...I saw Hink for more than a couple of years before I came up here...This was his greatest. The comeback of Tiny Engebretsen cannot be overlooked. Not only his kicking was remarkable, although that alone would merit any coach's praise. He also did a right smart job in the line. The last two games - the two New York games - probably showing him at his best...STOPPED BY INJURY: "I was glad that Herber came back in that last game the way he did. A lot of undeserved criticism was heaped upon his shoulder. He had a slow start. But, as Dutch Clark says, when it really counts he is the best pitcher in the league." Red stopped to answer another phone call. By this time he was beginning to suspect that it was a gag, but he didn't know for sure. After assuring the party on the other end of the wire that "Mr. Lambeau will not be home for another month", he continued: "O.K. (and what the O.K. was for needed explanation). Did you ever see a more seriouslike return to the game than that of Hank Bruder? Hank meant it when he said quits. He reported late. His start was late. But when he arrived, could you ask for anything better?" There were no dissenting answer to that. Red's biggest thrill of the season can be listed easily. They are Tiny's field goal that won the second game against the Cardinals at Buffalo; Bobby Monnett's two forward passes in the early moments of the second game against the Chicago Bears; the spirit of the team. Disappointments? One stands out. It was Darrell Lester's second consecutive bad pass from center that lost the first Bear game for the Packers. "In all my years of football, it was the first time I ever saw a bad pass lose a ball game," Red said of that one. And then there was the much discussed decision of Larry Conover, title game umpire, on Milt Gantenbein's catch of the pass when he was declared ineligible...HAD NO BUSINESS: "In the first place," says Red, "if Conover would have been minding his business he would have seen that Gantenbein was eligible. Secondly, if he wasn't, he had no business calling a penalty. And finally, it was not his business to call the turn." That is a lot of business for one paragraph, but Red is not a kicker. He never beefed at Wisconsin, and up to the Stuhldreher era that is something of a record. "When they lost that playoff in New York, the emotional letdown was almost too much to take," he says. "Still, it was nice to know that the fans were behind us, even in defeat." Smith leaves next week for Montgomery, Ala., to see the North-South game, even as Curly is at San Francisco for the East-West fracas. Green Bay has draftees in both contests. The coach and his assistant will confer here after those tilts, and then Red goes to Ocala, Fla., in his new capacity as assistant to the manager of the Milwaukee Brewers.
NATIONAL LOOP GRID GAMES AGAIN DRAW LARGE CROWDS
DEC 23 (Green Bay) - Major league football as played in the NFL enjoyed its greatest season in 1938, with record attendance marks being established for the third consecutive year. The increased use of the forward pass as an offensive weapon was largely responsible for six team records and three individual records which were shattered during the season. In addition two individual marks were tied. There was a 15 percent increase in attendance over 1937, with more than 1,100,000 fans attending league games. A new record attendance was established for the championship playoffs for the Ed Thorp Memorial Trophy, when 48,120 watched the New York Giants capture the 1938 title by downing the Green Bay Packers, Western division leader, 23 to 17, in the Polo Grounds...HAVE FINE RECORDS: New York won the Eastern division championship with a record of eight victories, two defeats and one tie, and the right to meet Green Bay in the playoff. Green Bay finished with eight victories and three defeats in the Western division. Four of the six team records established this season were in forward passing. There were 824 completions out of 2,030 forwards thrown in the league for an efficiency of 40.5 percent, a new record. The New York Giants set a new league efficiency mark with 91 completions out of 186 tosses for 48.9 percent, breaking the old mark made by Brooklyn in 1933 by more than 2 percent. The Chicago Cardinals and Washington Redskins completed 114 passes each to break Green Bay's old mark of 108 completions in 1936. The Cardinals, in 240 tosses, had an efficiency of 47.5 percent, which broke the record for a team throwing 200 or more passes...SETS SCORING MARK: The other two team records were in scoring. There were 1,484 points tallied by the 10 teams in the circuit this season, breaking the form3er record of 1,424 made in 1937. Green Bay broke its own scoring record for 11 games with 223 points, three more than it tallied last season. The three individual records put in the books this year and the two which were tied were also the result of forward passing. Ed Danowski, New York Giants ace, completed 70 out of 129 for 54.2 percent, breaking his own season's record by nearly four percent. He also bettered his lifetime efficiency with a five-year record of 255 completions out of 512 thrown for 49.8 percent, an increase of one percent over his former league lifetime record. Gaynell Tinsley, Chicago Cardinals, caught 41 passes to tie the mark of Don Hutson, Green Bay, made in 1937. His catch of a toss from Dougal Russell for a 98-yard gain and a touchdown broke the former record of 95 yards on a Pat Coffee to Tinsley pass made last year. Hutson caught nine touchdown passes to tie his own league mark of touchdowns scored in one season...HINKLE TOP SCORER: Individual leaders for 1938 in addition to Danowski in forward passing and Tinsley in pass receiving, were Whizzer White, Pittsburgh; Clarke Hinkle, Green Bay; Ward Cuff, New York; and Ralph Kercheval, Brooklyn. White, the only first year man to gain an individual title, gained 567 yards in 152 attempts to lead the ground gainers. HInkle was the leading scorer with 58 points. Cuff and Kercheval were tied for field goal honors with 5 successful placements each. Green Bay won team ground gaining honors with 3,037 yards in addition to scoring. In addition to the Chicago Cardinals, who won the passing title, other team honors went to New York for its defensive ability. Only 79 points and 2,029 yards were registerd against the Giants in 11 games. The Giants and Green Bay Packers each placed three men on the 1938 all-league team chosen by coaches at the end of the season. Hutson, Green Bay, and Tinsley, Cardinals, were the ends; Widseth, New York, and Stydahar, Bears, were placed at tackles; Fortmann, Bears, and Letlow, Packers, were chosen guards; and Hein, New York, center. The all-star backfield combination was Parker, Brooklyn, quarterback; Danowski, New York, and Cardwell, Detroit, halfbacks; and Hinkle, Green Bay, fullback. It is the sixth consecutive year that Hein was chosen at center, and the third consecutive year that Hinkle was named at fullback.
MCGLYNN DEMANDS CLEANUP FOR PRO LOOP OFFICIATING
DEC 23 (Green Bay) - Just when everyone was forgetting about that forward pass ruling in the Green Bay-New York football game, and was setting down to enjoying the Christmas season, Stoney McGlynn of the Milwaukee Sentinel broke loose with a signed article regarding the general subject of officiating in the NFL. Stoney, who included a few suggestions for clearing up whatever inefficiencies may exist, wrote as follows: BY STONEY MCGLYNN: If what this column hears is correct, the 23 to 17 defeat the Green Bay Packers took at the hands of the New York Giants in the NFL title game may not have been in vain. First of all, it proved to one and all that officiating in the league is anything but up to the big time standard and it awakened to the other league magnates to the belief the Giants must be made to play more than a "Polo Grounds" schedule...DIDN'T SEE GAME: This writer did not see the title game, but he has seen the disputed pass play in which Gantenbein shifts over to the left end, Isbell moves out to a flanker position outside right end, and the regular left end drops back one yard, making all three eligible. There is nothing illegal about the play and it doesn't take more than a spattering of brains to be firmly convinced the Packers, with the title at stake, would not attempt to pull a "fast" one in the clutch. Judging reports from Packer players and officials and from New York press reports as well, Head Linesman Cononover ACTUALLY did not know where Gantenbein was lined up as the ball was snapped. First he ruled Gantenbein was ineligible because Isbell had taken a position on the line outside of Milt. When it was proved Gantenbein was not playing right end on that play the head linesman asked Bernie Scherer, left end, if he had been back a yard to make the "left tackle" eligible. As a matter of fact Gantenbein was the so-called "left tackle" so the reader can judge just how capable Conover was as an official and how intelligent was his decision. However, this is not a belated "alibi", but is written to point out why league officials have at least awakened to the firm belief something must be done to put the caliber of officiating somewhat nearer the caliber of play in the league. For the first time in history there is a general trend of thought among middle western grid fans that the Big Ten officiating is not up to standard. Previously one of the most frequent plaints of the "die hards" who fought pro ball was that the pro officiating was putrid. Now, the Big Ten followers are forced to cross their fingers when talking officiating and the pro league can step into the driver's seat by snapping up the young, highly capable officials who have been accorded the cold shoulder bu the august powers that be in the Big Nine and Chicago...NEED YOUNGER OFFICIALS: There are any number of young officials who have the knowledge, the poise and the speed to make most of the present Big Ten whistle tooters look like a bevy of tin soldiers, but they have been unable to crack into the "trust". The smart thing for the pro league to do would be to grab off these younger officials, pay them enough to make it worth while and leave Major Griffith, Big Ten commissioner, holding the bag with his Spanish warpatriarchs. In addition to reacquiring the cream of the younger crop this column advocated the appointment of two veteran officials to act as officials-in-chief for the Eastern and Western sectors of the league. An officials such as Edward W. Cochrane of Chicago, with a wealth of experience behind him, would be the ideal chief for the league at large and he could appoint a sub chief for the Eastern half of the league. By this method frequent rules interpretation meetings could be held without too great an expense and the league would not only have uniform interpretations of rules, but actually might have smart officiating as the general thing rather than the exception. Information at hand is that the magnates are going to have a thorough housecleaning at their next meeting, that the boys are going to take down their hair and let the wigs fall where they may. They plan to get good officials and to back up the officials with drastic penalties. If they do they'll only be doing themselves a big favor...BUSH LOOP SETTING: The "Polo Grounds" schedule of the Giants is also under fire. For year it has been all but impossible to get the Giants out into the West and only on few occasions do they leave their home bailiwick. The excuse that the Giants are the best drawing power in the league at home is nothing more than an excuse and a poor one. The Yanks, the Tigers and the Cubs all draw well at home, but they take their road trips with the Phils, the Macks and the Browns. And only by following the baseball idea can the football wheel get rid of the reputation of being "money crazy" - claims that are heard all too frequently these days. These reforms have been desired by this column for several years. Right now, with the league financially set, is the time to prove the circuit is major league in things other than mere football playing ability. A major league team playing in a bush league setting doesn't quite fit into the fans' scheme of things - nor should it - and by taking a few, if drastic, steps, the league can be in the position where its most ardent followers would like it to be - at the top in football ability and in the conduct of its games.
LEAD SCORING LIST
DEC 23 (Green Bay) - Two Green Bay Packers all-league stars, Clarke Hinkle, fullback, and Don Hutson, end, led the NFL scorers for the 1938 season. Hinkle tallied seven touchdowns, seven extra points and three field goals for 58 points. Hutson garnered nine touchdowns and three extra points for 57 points. In catching nine touchdown passes, Hutson tied his own 1936 National league mark for scoring niine touchdowns in one season. Joe Carter, Philadelphia end, and Ward Cuff, New York back, were third and fourth with 48 and 45 points, respectively. Jack Manders, Chicago Bears back who led the scorers in 1937, finished in a tie for fifth this season with recruit Andy Farkas of the Washington Redskins, with 37 points. Cuff kicked the most extra points - 18; and was tied with Ralph Kercheval, Brooklyn, for most field goals - five.
TIES HUTSON'S MARK
DEC 23 (Green Bay) - Gaynell Tinsley, former L.S.U. end playing his second season of major league football with the Chicago Cardinals, tied one NFL mark in pass receiving and shared in breaking another. Although Tinsley caught passes in only nine of the 11 games played, he captured the pass receiving title from Don Hutson, Green Bay end, who led the league in this department in 1936 and 1937. Tinsley caught 41 passes to tie Hutson's league mark, established in 1937. One of his catches from Dougal Russell was good for a 98 yard gain, breaking the 1937 record of 95 yards gained on a pass play on a Pat Coffee to Tinsley aerial. Hutson, playing in ten games, finished second this season with 32 receptions for 548 yards and nine touchdowns, the most yards gained and the most touchdowns by an individual pass receiver in 1938. Joe Carter, Philadelphia, was third with 27; Charlie Malone, Washington, fourth with 24, and Jim Benton, Cleveland, fifth with 21. Benton, former Arkansas end, was the only first year man to place among the first five this season.
BOOT FIELD GOALS
DEC 23 (Green Bay) - Ward Cuff, New York Giants, and Ralph Kercheval, Brooklyn Dodgers, finished in a tie for individual field goal honors in the NFL in 1938 with five successful placements each. They displaced Jack Manders, Chicago Bears ace and 1937 leader who had previously shared the title or held it exclusively four out of the last six years. Cuff attempted nine while Kercheval attempted 13. Kercheval had the longest of the season, a 45 yard kick. A total of 41 field goals were successful out of 101 attempts throughout the league, a 40 percent average. Five players had perfect records. Bill Reissig, Brooklyn; Dutch Clark, Detroit; Bill Smith, Cardinals, and Nelson Peterson, Cleveland, all had two in two attempts. Bob Masterson, Washington, had one in one attempt.