Barry Goldwater on a 1959 Law Labor

Barry Goldwater’s most important vote in the 50s was against the Kennedy-Ervin Labor Bill in 1959.  The bill’s supporters thought it was a cure all  for evils the McClellan Committee uncovered during its investigation of corruption among the leaders of organized labor.  The hearings lasted about 18 months. Senate approved the bill by 95 to 1. Senator Goldwater was the lone dissenter.  With house approval, the bill went to President Eisenhower and he signed it.  Within few days, the President Eisenhower asked Goldwater to come to the Oval Office.

Eisenhower asked BG why he voted against the bill.  The President implied that 95 other Senators  could not be misguided.  Barry Goldwater explained to President Eisenhower that the Landrum Griffin Act did not prevent blackmail picketing, secondary boycotts, and union bosses from looting union treasuries.  The bill also ignored the fundamental right of union members to have strong voice in the affairs of their union’s operation.  Senator Goldwater convinced the President though logic, sincerity, and the strength of his convictions.

Within a week, President Eisenhower ordered a new team to study the Kennedy-Ervin Act.  Three months later, the President on national television explained the deficiencies of Kennedy-Ervin and asked Congress to enact a more effective labor law.  On September 3, 1959 by a 95 to 2 vote,  Congress passed the Landrum Griffin Act, virtually nullifying Kennedy-Ervin.

This was an example of Senator Barry Goldwater standing alone, which he was never afraid to do.

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Troy Aikman About 1991 Eagles Defense

Hall of Famer Troy Aikman paid the below listed compliment to the Philadelphia Eagles 1991 team.  No doubt he remembers the 24 to o loss that year to Philadelphia at Texas.  The Eagles sacked Aikman 11 times for 60 yards, intercepted three passes, and blocked one at the line of scrimmage.  Troy Aikman also caught one of his passes on a deflection for a minus six yards.  Imagine how good the Eagles defense would have been had Randall Cunningham not been injured. The defense would have had less playing time.  The other guys offense would have been far more limited in play calling.  

PHILADELPHIA CBS-KYW   What the 49ers are to the 80’s, and the Patriots are to the 00’s in the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys were to the 90’s.

The combination of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin, Jay Novacek on offense, along with a dominant offensive line and playmakers on defense, made for a Cowboys team that made it extra difficult to be an Eagles fan. Eagles fans can take solace in one thing though, the ’91 Eagles defense was the best Aikman says he ever faced. Aikman answered the question on Twitter, Wednesday morning. Jan 30, 2013.

@TroyAikman: ’91 Philadelphia Eagles (#1 v Run; #1 v Pass; #1 Overall) RT @ToddMalcolm23: Who was the toughest defense u ever played against?

Though Aikman was being complimentary, the memory still brings some pain to Eagles fans. The 1991 team didn’t make the playoffs, as Randall Cunningham was injured in the first game of the season, when the Packers’ Bryce Paup landed on his knee.Along with being ranked #1 in standard football stats, the 1991 Eagles are the best in advanced statistics as well. Football Outsiders rank the defense as the best they’ve ever analyzed.

Part II Steelers vs Giants-Week 14-1963

Here are the grim points.  Note Pittsburgh’s missed chances and miscues.

THE FIRST HALF

1. After taking opening kickoff,  Steeler runner Theron Sapp fumbled the ball, the Giants recovered, and Don Chandler kicked a field goal.   THIS COST THE STEELERS  THREE POINTS.  Giants 3 Steelers 0

2. Gary Ballman returned the ensuing kickoff 57 yards to the NY 31.  On third and four from the NY 24, Ed Brown overthrew Gary Ballman wide open at the goal.  Lou Micheals missed a field goal but Pittsburgh took the ball right back on a fumble.  Ballman sidestepped Giants halfback Dick Lynch, caught a perfect pass at the 10, and was cruising in for a touchdown.  For some reason, he elected to shift the ball to his left hand and fumbled at the two yard line. Erich Barnes recovered and ran 34 yards to the NY 34.  A few plays later, Y.A. Tittle fired a 41 yard touchdown passed to Del Schofner.  Giants 9 Pittsburgh 0.  THIS SERIES COST THE STEELERS SEVEN POINTS.

3. The Giants capped a drive with a touchdown pass from Tittle to Joe Morrison after the Steelers missed a field goal. Giants 16 Steelers 0.

4. The Steelers blitzed Y.A. Tittle at the Giants 20. He fumbled and Andy Russell picked up the ball and ran it in for an apparent touchdown.  The officials, however, ruled it was a forward pass.  The films after the game showed Tittle holding the ball at his side.  It was not even close to being a pass. THIS MISTAKE COST THE STEELERS  SEVEN POINTS.

5. Pittsburgh started driving the ball again.   On third and five from the Giants 20, Ed Brown threw the ball into the dirt with Gary Ballman wide open a yard deep into the end zone.  Lou Micheals kicked a 27 yard field goal on the last play of the first half and the half time score was NY 16 Pittsburgh 3.   THIS LAME PASS COST THE STEELERS FOUR POINTS.

A touchdown in #1, #2 and #5 and the Steelers would have led 21 to 16 at halftime.

THE SECOND HALF

On the Steelers first possession, John Henry Johnson ran 48 yards to the Giants 10. Brown hit Ballman with one of his few sharp passes and now the Steelers trailed 16 to 10.

The next series iced the game for NY.  Y. A. Tittle, under heavy pressure from his own 20, barely got the pass away to Frank Gifford.   Gifford made a great one one handed catch just before the ball hit the ground at the NY 47.   He looked like a shortstop squeezing a line drive.  There were doubts as to weather it was a catch or trap but the play stood.  Frank Gifford made another fine catch at the Steeler 22.  Joe Morrison caught second touchdown pass and the Giants were in front 23 to 10.  The Pittsburgh Steelers never recovered and would not be a good team for nine years.  Final New York 33 Pittsburgh 17.

Week 14 1963 Yankee Stadium-Giants vs Steelers

The last weekend of the 1963 season was the closet the Steelers got the an NFL Title before the dynasty in the 70s.   In the second week of  the year,  Pittsburgh at home played a flawless game against the Giants.  Y. A. Tittle was injured the previous week and stayed on the sidelines.  Pittsburgh destroyed  New York 31 to 0.  Now it was twelve weeks later.    The  game between Pittsburgh and the New York Giants demonstrated two controversial  points.

–The Steelers record was 7-3-3 vs 10-3 for the Giants.  An old league rule eliminated ties when figuring winning percentages.  A tie should have been worth something.  Ten years later, the NFL rules stated that a tie would count as a half a game won and half a game lost.  For this game, a Steeler win would put them in first place with  .727 to .714 for NY.

–Give a quarterback time to throw, his receivers will get open, and he will pick the defense apart.  Not so today.  The Steelers’ offensive line gave quarterback Ed Brown almost perfect pass protection;  his receivers were in the clear; and Brown overthrew, underthrew, and only sporadically hit the target.  The Steelers, with Buddy Dial and Gary Ballman, had two of the NFL’s top pass catchers.  Y.A. Tittle had far less protection and the Pittsburgh defensive conventionally stocked him.  John Henry Johnson for Pittsburgh rushed for 110 yards which makes Ed Brown look even worse. The statistics tell the story:

Ed Brown was 13 of 33 for 217 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions.

The Bald Eagle was 17 of 26 for 308 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception.

Pittsburgh’s Other Big Fourth Down

When thinking of fourth down plays, Pittsburgh Steeler fans automatically remember Franco Harris and his Miraculous Reception in the 1972 playoff game with the Oakland Raiders.  Nine years previous, there were two fourth plays in one game which kept Pittsburgh’s hopes alive for the 1963 Eastern Conference Championship.  This was in the 13th week of the 1963 season at Dallas.   Pittsburgh, with a record of 6-3-3, was trailing the Cowboys 19 to 17 with three minutes left in the game.  Ed  Brown, the quarterback and punter, dropped back to kick on fourth and  14 from the Pittsburgh 16.  I figured the Steelers would rely on their defense to stop Dallas and get one more chance.  Doing a great fake, Brown passed to Red Mack for a 42 yard gain to the Dallas  42.

Three plays later, Pittsburgh had a fourth and one at the Dallas 33.  Steeler Coach Buddy Parker called a time out.  Placekicker Lou Micheals had been erratic after a great start.  Even if a field goal was made,  Dallas could still win with a field goal of their own.   Parker elected to go for the first down.   The Dallas line hit John Henry Johnson hard but he picked up two yards.  Three plays later, Theron Sapp ran 24 yards for a touchdown.  The Steeler offensive line just blew the Dallas defense away.  Pittsburgh won 24 to 19.  This set up a showdown for the Eastern Division title with the Steelers playing the New York Giants the final  week at Yankee Stadium.

Original Differences in College & Pro Football

The original differences in the rules of  college and pro football reflected more concern for safety of college players.

1. College football always had the goal posts on the End Line.  Pro football’s were on the Goal Line until 1974 when they were moved to the End Line.  In prior days, pro players often used the Goal Post to block out defenders and this did add another element to game.  However, the advent of specialty kickers and great defenses often made for a game of field goals which were much too easy.

2. In Pro football the defense was permitted to run with recovered fumbles. In college football, the offense took over at the spot of the recovery.  This to me made pro game more exciting since it could suddenly change momentum. This was a big factor in my preference for the NFL.

3. If college players fell to the turf without contact from the opposing team, they were down at this point.  Pro rules said players were not down unit some contact with the defense.  This also made pro football more exciting.  Nevertheless, the officials should flag a defender for using excessive force when merely touching a player could halt progress.

Earl Morrall with Miami Dolphins

After 1968, Earl Morrall had a minimal role for Baltimore Colts from 1969 to 1971.  Don Shula went to the Miami Dolphins after the 1969 season. He traded with Baltimore for Earl Morrall just before the 1972 season.  Memories of 1968 were still fresh in Shula’s mind; lightning struck twice. When Bob Greise got injured, Morrall started nine games.  He completed 150 passes for a 56% completion rate; 1,360 yards and 11 touchdowns.  Miami went undefeated in 1972, culminating with the win over the Redskins in Super Bowl.  Coming in second string, Earl Morrall did it again.  He rarely played thereafter and retired after 1976.

These then were the quarterbacks the Pittsburgh Steelers let go.  They did great things with other teams.

John Unitas, Jack Kemp, Len Dawson, Earl Morrall, and Bill Nelson.