putting a deadline, probably early September, on trading off future draft choices for talent immediately available. It's a step in the right direction to be sure. But why not go all the way and put a complete end to the practice that has been growing by leaps and bounds? Despite the fact that dealing in futures has worked out beneficially for one of the have-nots on occasion, there is no reason to believe it promotes, over the long haul, the balanced competition all concerned presumably seek and should seek. A much better plan would be force all clubs to give up their surplus talent at cutdown time each year. Thus they would not be in position to turn such surplus into more surplus the next year via rival clubs' draft choices. Then all would be assured of the same number of newcomers each season. There is another angle that nobody should overlook. Pro football have been under the gun on the draft itself in recent congressional investigations. The charge: A prospective pro leaguer has no freedom of choice and can't sell his services to the highest bidder under the present talent distribution system. Trading players long before their identities are revealed certainly does nothing to clear up the already dim view of the situation. Bell also will throw an expansion plan into the hopper at the league meeting in January. If it is accepted, two teams will be added to make it a 14 team league by 1960. Nothing terrific there is on the surface. The only question that pops is What about the schedule arrangement? Two divisions are necessary for championship playoff purposes. But what will happen to inter-divisional play during the regular season? Te trend is toward more of that. But how can it come about if they play home and home in each division? The ideal, of course, would be a complete round robin each season. It's doubtful that anyone would go for it unless baseball's post-season minor league playoff system is adopted. Come to think of it, that's the way the NHL does it. So maybe the footballers will wind up the top four clubs fighting it our for THE title too. Wouldn't that be something?
PACKERS BATTERED UP - BEARS ARE FAVORED TO WIN RETURN GAME
NOV 8 (Milwaukee Journal) - The handicappers figure the Chicago Bears will get even with the Green Bay Packers at Wrigley Field Sunday. Lisle Blackbourn, Green Bay coach, was not conceding, nor was he particularly optimistic Friday. "I'm afraid the Bears may be ready to roll," he said. "They usually do this time of the year, especially in Wrigley Field. I feel that our boys have played three real good ball games in a row. How will we do Sunday? I really don't know. It all depends on how we play. We've improved in the last few games, but so have most of the other teams." The Packers will hardly be at full strength for the NFL game which matches Western Division rivals with 2-4 records. Max McGee, first string end since Gary Knafelc's knee gave out for the season, spent two days in a hospital with flu complications. He will make the trip to Chicago but handyman Joe Johnson probably will play in his place. The interior lineman situation is also distressing. Guards Norm Amundsen and Jim Salsbury have knee and ankle troubles, respectively. Amundsen may be done for the season. Salsbury replaced him last Sunday due to necessity and made it through the game but came down with flu this week. Oliver Spencer, tackle, has been tried at guard this week. He will work there in emergency and rookies Carl Vereen and Norm Masters then holding forth as the only tackles on attack. Then, too, fullback Howie Ferguson will not play again. His knees may be finished. He is battered elsewhere, too. Blackbourn, then, will go with his very young backfield - rookies Paul Hornung at fullback and Ron Kramer at slot halfback and second year man Bart Starr at quarterback and Don McIlhenny at running halfback. Against the Giants last Sunday, Hornung and McIlhenny gave Green Bay surprising running strength. Blackbourn hopes they keep up it up. Starr has shown steady progress as Tobin Rote's replacement but still lacks the consistency the coach is seeking. Bill Howton, long distance scoring threat, will be at the end as usual. The Bears reported a sellout (49,000 fans plus) and that they were in "good shape" to get even for the 21-17 licking the Packers hung on them in the opener at Green Bay. Chicago suffered two other 21-17 defeats, both at San Francisco's hands. The Bears' high powered offense has lacked octane, failing to produce a touchdown in last Sunday's 16-10 victory over Los Angeles, the only team they have beaten. The Bears gained enough yardage against the Rams. It was just that when they got in close they would fumble or foul up. Harlon Hill also dropped three touchdown passes. That is not normal procedure.
PACKERS AND BEARS CAST A 'WEATHER EYE'
NOV 9 (Chicago Tribune) - Chicago's Bears and the Green Bay Packers focused attention on the weather yesterday as they concluded final vigorous drills for their 78th meeting tomorrow in Wrigley field. Both teams hope for a dry field to help offenses which have not been as potent as expected. The Packers would like to have ideal ball handling conditions for their pass attack quarterback Bart Starr to Bill Howton, and the Bears need similar advantages for their attack built largely around the passing of Zeke Bratkowski and Ed Brown and the receiving of Harlon Hill, Bill McColl and Jim Dooley. Ground crews at Wrigley field, anticipating the touch of winter, threw a protective cover over the girdiron on Thursday and are ready to guarantee the old rivals solid footing when they kick off at 1:05 tomorrow afternoon. The anxiety develops, however, over what in the way of weather might blow in after the huge tarpaulin has been removed from the field. Green Bay is due in the city tonight, following its final drill up north this morning. Word from the Packer headquarters indicates that Howie Ferguson, Green Bay's great fullback, still is too much of an invalid to be counted upon and that Paul Hornung, Notre Dame's All-American quarterback last fall, will start at the position. Hornung has been the most productive runner in the Packer attack, averaging slightly over 6 yards per carry as a halfback and a fullback.
FROZEN PACKERS HOPES TO THAW OUT SUNDAY
NOV 9 (Milwaukee Sentinel) - Liz Blackbourn tried to iron out Friday's wrinkles as his club ended preparations for Sunday's 78th Bear fight at Wrigley Field. But he almost gave up in disgust. "Why, it's like winter up here," said Blackbourn from the stadium dressing room before he sent his 35-man squad through their final drill. "The way it's snowing and blowing, I'm sure we're not going to accomplish much." A Blackbourn-coached Packer team has never beaten the Bears in Chicago. The oddsmakers figure this time won't be the exception. They favor the Bruins by nine points. But Blackbourn's bruisers turned the trick at Green Bay in the opener, trimming the Bears, 21-17. All told, Blackbourn's Bays have won two out of seven meetings with the Monsters. "I guess we've finally shaken the flu," Blackbourn continued. "(Max) McGee was released from the hospital Thursday night after staying there two days. I believe he will start. From what I've been reading we gave the flu bug to the Giants. But it's national concern when they get it. Some people must have thought we've been in the pink of health the last few games - you should have seen how sick some of these boys were." Blackbourn said he would start the backfield of Bart Starr at quarterback, Don McIlhenny at halfback, Ron Kramer at slotback and Paul Hornung at fullback. Two players are definitely out. Fullback Howie Ferguson may be out for the session if his knees don't respond to treatment. Guard Norm Amundsen is lost for two weeks because of a wrenched knee sustained in the New York scrap. Tackle Ollie Spencer, the Packers' holler guy, will take over for Amundsen at guard. Jim Salsbury may see some limited action at the other guard post because of an ankle injury. He will be spelled by Al Barry. Carl Vereen will move into Spencer's spot and Norm Masters will be the other tackle. The Bears credit an improve defense as the element which dumped the Rams, 16-10, last Sunday. "Almost every game we've played has been decided in the last half minute," said Coach Paddy Driscoll. "It was time we won one." George Halas said, "when you hold a team with the power of the Rams without a touchdown on offense, you've really done something. That big Doug Atkins and Fred Williams were the stars in that defensive line."
Driscoll said the Bears set up their defense and stopped Tom Wilson, the league's top ground gainer, to 46 yards in nine carries. Wilson also fumbled the ball to the Bears' lone TD. Blackbourn doesn't have to be acquainted with what the Bears can do - especially at Wrigley Field. But the Bruins have been had this season four times, one of those losses being on their happy hunting ground.
CONFIDENT PACKERS BATTLE CHI-BEARS 78TH TIME
NOV 9 (Chicago) - Like Bart Starr was saying the other day: “I hope we get on their one-yard line six times Sunday; we’ll score six touchdowns.” Starr, the Packers’ sophomore quarterback, was referring to two things: (1) The Packers inability to score in four plays from the New York Giants’ one-yard line in Green Bay last Sunday and (2) the 78th Packer-Bear contest in Wrigley Field here Sunday afternoon. Thus, Starr displayed some of the confidence that characterized the Packers’ workouts this week in preparation for the make-or-break struggle with the Bears. The two long-time foes have identical 2-4 records, each with a chance of sharing in some of the Western Division gold and glory. A sellout, standing room crowd of close to 50,000 fans will witness the show in the flesh – plus the television audience back home. Kickoff is set for 1:06. Actually, the Packers aren’t given much chance to win Sunday – despite the fact that they whipped the Bruins in Green Bay 24-21. The Bears are favored to emerge with the coveted 3-4 record by something like 10 points. The big, bad Bears are supposed to have fully recovered from the physical beating they took in the battle in Green Bay Sept. 29. And the story goes that the Bears want to get even tomorrow. So, the experts are practically certain that the Bays will take a clobbering. The Bears, however, haven’t shown any of the high-point offense that brought ‘em a 9-2-1 record last year. In fact, they whipped Los Angeles (16-10) last week without a touchdown from scrimmage, Vic Zucco counting on a scooped-up fumble and George Blanda kicking three field goals. But the Bears came up with a sound defense in that game, too, the Rams going without a touchdown from scrimmage. LA’s only TD came on Jon Arnett’s 98-yard kickoff return. That “new” defense is what’s bothering Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn, who feels that the Packers must get on the scoring ball to win. The Packers had four two-touchdown games and lost all of them; they won the only two games in which they managed to score three TDs. Blackbourn will bank on his two-sophomore, two-rookie backfield as a starter – Starr at quarterback, Don McIlhenny at left half, Paul Hornung at fullback and Ron Kramer at slot (right) back. Hornung could even move into quarterback for a spell if Howie Ferguson can make it at fullback. Hornung, with 112, and McIlhenny gained 200 yards rushing last Sunday. Injuries and sickness could hurt the rest of the Pack’s offense. Max McGee is just two days out of the hospital after a tough bout of flu and right offensive guard is on the shaky legs of Jim Salsbury and Norm Amundsen. Defensively, the Packers will have to be extra special alert since Willie Galimore and Rick Casares are due to explode. Harlon Hill, who hasn’t caught a touchdown pass since he did same in the opener in Green Bay, has recovered some from his sore back. He’ll join with Jim Dooley, Gene Schroeder and Bill McColl – not to mention quarterbacks Ed Brown and Zeke Bratkowski, to plague the Pack with passes. The Packers’ defense has a new flu spot – at left safety where the hard-hitting newcomer, John Symank, works. John started feeling punk Friday. Last Sunday, Symank’s safety mate and tutor, Bobby Dillon, played the entire defensive game against the Giants after spending two days in bed last week. The Packers will have the law of averages on their side. Green Bay hasn’t beaten the Bears twice in the same season for the last 22 years – since 1935, when Don Hutson made his debut. The ’35 Pack won in Green Bay 7-0 and in Chicago 17-14. The Packers have a start toward that objective, having won the opener in Green Bay. Thus, the LOA says the Packers are due to crack the spell. The Packers’ last two trips into Wrigley Field have been on the discouraging side. The Bears scored 80 points in the two games, beating the Pack 52-31 in 1955 and 38-14 last year. The Packers are headquartering at the Hotel Knickerbocker. They practiced on the lake front after arriving Saturday afternoon. The team returns to Green Bay on the North Western, arriving at 10:05.
TITTLE GETS EVEN FOR LION TACKLING IN '53
NOV 9 (Chicago-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - Saturday pro closeouts: Things have a habit of coming out right. Back in '53, quarterback Y.A. Tittle received a fractured cheekbone and other injuries when he was tackled quite vigorously near the goal line by the Lions' Jim David and Jack Christiansen. The 49ers hollered "dirty play" but Tittle was lost for the season and the Lions stepped away from the Tittle-less 49ers to win the title. Now comes 1957! Tittle threw a sharp pass to R.C. Owens, who leaped between two Detroit defenders for the winning touchdown in the last 11 seconds Sunday. The defenders? You guessed it: David and Christiansen. And the play may have been the one that knocked the Lions out this year...After last Sunday's 49er-Lion game, Detroit coach George Wilson phoned Commissioner Bert Bell about "the bad officiating in our two games on the Coast." "I'm not complaining through the newspapers or anything like that," said Wilson (inquote from Detroit News), "but there were some terrible calls in Los Angeles and San Francisco." The Lion fire is largely directed at head linesman Elvin Hutchinson. "He gave us a bad time both weeks," the Lions say. "I remember that fellow," said equipment manager Friday Macklem. "He played with the Los Angeles Bulldogs and had a tryout with the Lions. We didn't give him a job. Maybe he's still mad at us." Incidentally, Bell is shifting his officiating crews around considerably more than in the past