"One of my friends told me that he started to defend me once," Jurgensen said, "but I was so bad he joined in, too. Said it was fun."
Redskins fans, however, were impressed with Jurgensen. His Eagles had beaten the Redskins four of the six times they had met during his three years as a starter, and one of his performances in 1961 was as splendid as anyone could recall at the time.
The Redskins in that game had a 24-20 lead, with just 40 seconds left. To hand the Redskins yet another last-minute defeat, Jurgensen needed only 35 of those seconds. What he did, against a formation with seven defensive backs, was drive the team 81 yards in three plays. An instant before being sacked, Jurgensen threw a typically beautiful spiral that Tommy McDonald caught 22 yards downfield and ran 20 more yards for the winning touchdown. In all, Jurgensen had completed 27 of 41 passes for 413 yards and three touchdowns that day.
Jurgensen's early reaction to the trade was self-doubt: "Why did they think I wasn't doing my job that they needed to let me go?" After his first trip to Washington, though, he was excited. "I really liked McPeak," he said. "Plus it was a chance to start over, with a new team. And, being from North Carolina, everybody back home could follow me."
The town barely had time to digest the Snead-for-Jurgensen trade when, on April 9, McPeak sent the hugely popular James and defensive tackle Andy Stynchula to the New York Giants for Huff. Like Jurgensen, Huff was flabbergasted. Unlike Jurgensen, Huff was a hero of the team and the city he was leaving. He had made the cover of Time magazine in 1959 and, a year later, was featured in the CBS documentary The Violent World of Sam Huff.
Few of the hits Huff had taken had more impact on him than that trade. "It was 7 o'clock," he said. "I even remember exactly where I was: Ed (Big Mo) Modzelewski's restaurant in Cleveland. A brick couldn't have hit me any harder." Huff said Giants coach Allie Sherman called him with the news and said Huff should be "proud" because the team got two players for him. Huff was livid.
"That really tore me up," he said. "I really carried a grudge. Not against the Giants. I couldn't carry a grudge against the Giants. But I carried a grudge against Sherman for many, many, many years ."