Over 35,000 Expected for Giants Game
By Jack Walsh
This is an historic day for the Washington Redskins on a couple of counts.
They're opening their silver anniversary at home at 2 05 p.m. It's a new home, too -- the District of Columbia Stadium that is America's most plush sports palace. It cost $24 million, or exactly a million dollars for each year the Redskins have been in our midst.
Fittingly, the opponents for the Redskins will be the News York Giants. Back in 1937, the Giants helped get all this nonsense started when they played in the first National Football League game here The Giants lost then, 13-3, when Riley Smith scored all the points.
A crowd of 19,941 turned out to watch Sammy Baugh & Co. begin the Redskins story. A total of 968 season tickets were sold that first year.
Today's paid attendance probably will be between 35,000 and 40,000. If it hits the latter figure it will be the largest gathering ever to witness a sports event in the nation's capital. One spectator not paying will be Riley Smith, now a successful business man in Alabama.
With 20,521 season tickets sold, the Redskins closed shop last night with 30,008 paid admissions in the til. At Griffith Stadium that would have meant a sellout crowd. In the new stadium, it means that 19,992 seats still are up for grabs.
The Giants may have lost that first game here but, haven't made a habit of losing to the Redskins. New York holds a 31-16-3 edge in the storied series. Today they're solidly favored by 8½ points.
This Washington team, carrying on a lot of old tradition and forging some new, is the youngest, least experienced in the NFL. It's led by a rookie quarterback, Wake Forest's Norman Snead, and is coached by a-rookie as well, Bill McPeak. McPeak and New York's Al Sherman are two of the four first-year head men in the league this season. Of the four, only McPeak has failed to win as yet. His Redskins are sorely saddled with a 10-game losing streak and have dropped 15 straight exhibitions.
Dugan Leads League
Snead continues to be the most raved-about quarterbacks who has thrown only one touchdown in his' first two league games. The 6-foot-4 youngster is the ice-water type. Even the man in the street, from the bartender to the speechwriter for the Interior Department, marvels at his poise and calmness under fire.
Snead will be subjected to plenty of it today. The Giants boast a veteran defensive unit, the only addition is Erich Barnes, former Chicago Bear.
A cute twist to the contest is that Washington's baby quarterback entry -- Snead and George Izo -- were in grammar a school when the veteran New York pair of Charlie Conerly, 40, and Y. A. Tattle, 35, started throwing the ball for pay in 1948.
On offense, the Giants look familiar but they have received a California transfusion. In addition to getting Tittle from San Francisco, they gave up a No. 1 draft choice for end Del Shofner of Las Angeles. And their newcomer is speedy Bobby Gaiters, rookie from few Mexico State.
Tittle is expected to see most of the action today after his performance in pitching the Giants to a 17-14 victory at Pittsburgh last Sunday with 10 of 12 completions and the wining touchdown.
Kyle Rote is operating, at his old stand and Alex Webster is staging a grand comeback and leading the team in rushing. Not to be forgotten by the Redskins is a former Brave, right end Joe Walton. The Giants are well pleased with the strong blocking Walton and are ready to throw to him the moment an opponent starts treating him lightly.
Washington's defense was near-perfect last week. A similar effort will keep the: giants hard pressed .The front four of John Paluck, Bob Toneff, rookie Joe Rutgens andl Andy Stynchula is rough. Gene Cronin, a third end, gives the Redskins the best three in the league, according to McPeak.
Linebackers Dick Lasse, Rookie Fred Hageman, Rod Breedlove and Roy Wilkins have been performing well. So has the newest secondary of wingbacks Ben Scotti, Jimmy Wulff and rookie safetymen Jim Kerr and Joe Krakoski. A recent addition from Green Bay, Dale Hackbart, may spell the injured Wulff.
The field itself seemed almost unplayable as recently as last Tuesday. Yesterday Redskin general manager Dick McCann said: "Groundkeeper Joe Mooney did a miraculous job. This field is better than any the Redskins ever have played on in Washington."
It's got to be better than the last one the Giants and Redskins played on here. That was last Dec. 11 when the teams skidded around in four to six inches of snow in sub freezing weather. Today's nicer.