Chapter 2, Page 66

A year later, during a 5-9 season when Jurgensen often was hurt and Huff had retired, the offense produced just 249 points while the defense was down to its usual standard, allowing 358.

Amid all those years of defeat were other memorable moments. During practice, for example, Graham had a habit of pounding his clipboard when something pleased him. So the players got up a pool one day before leaving the clubhouse for the workout: How many times would Graham tap his clipboard? Running back Steve Thurlow, nursing a hamstring injury at the time, was the official counter.

Each player kept a tally in his head — and as practice was winding down, an offensive linemen, fearing that he was about to lose by one tap, shouted the rarest request in football: "Coach, can we run just one more play?" The innocent Graham would call that practice one of the most spirited he had seen.

Then there were the escapades of Jurgensen, who was notorious for bolting training camp after bed check. At the start of one of his escapes, a ball boy was outside the dorm and accepted Jurgensen's invitation to join him. According to Jurgensen, the entertainment was nothing more than shuffleboard at a nearby tavern. Around 3 a.m., there was a call at the tavern. Coaches had checked the beds a second time — and Jurgensen was told to report to Graham's room.

A sleepy Graham opened the door and proceeded to scold the quarterback. Graham asked if anyone had joined Jurgensen. The door happened to get pushed back at that moment and there, looking sheepish, was Graham's own son, Dewey.

"He kicked Dewey out of camp for a while," Jurgensen said. "Dewey also got us started calling Graham `Toot.' That's Otto inside out."

It would not be too long, however, before it was the senior Graham's turn to be kicked out. The players, the fans and team president Williams all had grown disenchanted with him. They questioned his dedication and recalled one of his early quotes: "Instead of winning games 3-0, I'd rather risk losing some games by, say, 35-28, and have the fans up off their seats with excitement."

Williams had not helped Graham. Often, he had spoken to the team with neither Graham nor his assistants present.

Page 66 | Next Page: 67

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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