Chapter 2, Page 45

Bobby Mitchell
Bobby Mitchell in 1962: Finally, the team tapped the large pool of black talent.
(Casamento/The Washington Post)
Marshall's continued meddling also provided some comic relief. Through most of the 1950s, he had a direct phone line from his box to the bench during games and barked orders with regularity. Frustrated players and coaches did their best to ignore him. "We had those big capes for cold weather," said running back Jim Podoley, "and sometimes we'd hang one over the phone at the bench, to muffle the sound. When Marshall saw what was happening, he'd send his chauffeur down to take the cape off the phone."

During one of his frequent halftime visits to the clubhouse, Marshall directed his anger at linebacker/defensive back Pete Stout, who had been beaten badly in pass coverage. Stout told Marshall that he was playing hurt and giving it his best. At one point, according to lineman Joe Tereshinski, Stout grabbed Marshall — and nobody moved to stop him. Stout quickly let go. Marshall gathered himself, got up on a stool and shouted: "Now that's the kind of fight I want."

He was not eager for any fight, though, when it came to players' pay. The salaries were not exactly munificent: several hundred dollars a game. Payments were weekly and in cash, usually in a brown envelope, and 25 percent was withheld each week and given in a lump sum after the year's last game. That way, players had enough money to get home at the end of the season. When the NFL became prosperous and players whose careers ended before 1959 were included in the pension plan, the yearly retirement money for many was more than they had earned during their highest-paid seasons as players.

Page 45 | Next Page: 46

Other Pages in Chapter 2:
43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78

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