Hall of Fame quarterback Sammy Baugh said during an interview with WJLA-TV-7 that aired last night that some of his teammates--not him--intentionally tried to lose the 1940 championship game to the Chicago Bears to spite team owner George Preston Marshall. The Redskins lost to the Bears, 73-0, on Dec. 8, 1940, in one of the most famous games in NFL history.
"It wasn't that we lost," Baugh said during the interview. "It was that we tried to lose."
Baugh said he didn't participate in the effort to lose the game on purpose. The Redskins had beaten the Bears, 7-3, on Nov. 17 that year.
"I'll tell you exactly what happened: It's the only damn team I ever played on that let the other team just do what they wanted to do," he said. ". . . It was a shame for that to happen, but it damn sure did. . . . I guess I had too damn much pride. . . . I couldn't believe it when I found out what was going to happen."
Track Club Is on the Go
Final permits for the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex in Landover won't be issued until March, but the Maryland Elite Athletic Club already is using parts of the facility to prepare for the U.S. track and field indoor and outdoor national championships and the Sydney Olympics.
The club will base its operations at the $40 million state-of-the-art training and recreation facility, built in the shadow of FedEx Field and as part of former Redskins' owner Jack Kent Cooke's deal to build the stadium. A 200-meter indoor track, with permanent seating for 3,000, is the centerpiece of the facility.
"I can't wait to get going in here," said Dameon Johnson of Baltimore, a member of the U.S. world record 4x400-meter relay team. Johnson and long jumper Jamaal Abdullah, a two-time U.S. national team member from Sacramento, form the core of the club, which trains at Fort Meade and on the track already finished outside the new facility.
"This is not a youth club or an all-comers program," club president Sam Caldwell said. "The complex will be open for recreation to area residents, but our goal is to develop post-collegians into national- and Olympic-caliber athletes."
The club is registered with U.S. Track & Field, the sport's national governing body, and distinguishes itself from elite training groups by providing legal and logistical support as well as training expertise.
The club had hoped to host a series of indoor meets at the center this winter, but construction delays forced postponement until the 2000 winter season. Upon completion, the facility will have, in addition to the track, two pools--one Olympic-size and with changeable depth--a gymnastics arena, two weight rooms, conference rooms, classrooms, day care facilities and locker rooms.
Love Moves to Final
Davis Love III, picked to fill out the four-player field following the death of his close friend, Payne Stewart, breezed into the championship match of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf by defeating Jose Maria Olazabal, 6 and 5, in Poipu, Hawaii.
In today's final, Love will meet PGA player of the year Tiger Woods, who pulled away on the final nine holes to defeat British Open champion Paul Lawrie, 4 and 2.
The 36-hole match play tournament was to bring together the winners of the four majors, but Stewart, who won the U.S. Open, was killed in a plane crash in South Dakota last month and Love gained the invitation based on his performances in this year's majors. . . .
Caddie Mike Hicks, who spent 12 years working for Stewart on the PGA Tour, said he'll begin working for Bob Estes next year.
Hicks, who escaped death when he decided to take his family home from Florida rather than travel with Stewart and four others on a private plane bound for Dallas, said his decision to work for Estes would come with Stewart's blessing.
"Payne did more than leave us with great golf memories--he gave us hope and faith," Hicks said. "He touched all of us and made us look inside and ask if we're doing our best." . . .
In a union between the first corporate sponsor of the PGA Tour and the hottest property in golf, Woods has agreed to a deal in which he will carry the Buick logo on his golf bag next year, according to a published report.
Golfweek magazine, in a report appearing on its World Wide Web site last night, cited industry sources as saying the deal will pay Woods between $10 million and $15 million during the next two years.
Next to the hat, a player's bag is the most visible and attractive piece of equipment to corporate sponsors.
Event Falls Out of Loop
The Southern 500 has been dropped from NASCAR's $1 million bonus series. Sponsor R.J. Reynolds said Monday that the Southern 500, scheduled for Sept. 2, will be replaced by a race in Richmond. . . .
Al Unser Jr. will join the Indy Racing League for the 2000 season, reuniting with team owner Rick Galles in hopes of winning his third Indianapolis 500.
U.S. Men Lose to Russia
The United States men's team lost for the first time at the World Cup tournament in Tokyo, falling to Russia, 25-22, 25-19, 20-25, 30-32, 15-11. Cuba, the 1998 world championship bronze medalist, remained tied with Russia for the tournament lead at 5-0 by defeating Japan, 25-21, 25-22, 25-16.
Chen Sets Two Records
Chen Yui-Lien of Taiwan set two women's world records and won three gold medals in the 139-pound class at the world championships in Piraeus, Greece.
Chen lifted 287 pounds in the clean-and-jerk, bettering the previous record by 5 1/2 pounds. Xiong Meiyin of China followed with a 292-pound lift on her next attempt, but Chen matched that weight and raised the total record by three pounds to 529 pounds and won the gold medal because of lower body weight.
Plaschy Wins Slalom
Didier Plaschy turned in a brilliant second run to extend his first-run lead as the Swiss skier easily won the season-opening men's slalom in Beaver Creek, Colo. It was his first World Cup victory.
Plaschy's combined time of 1 minute 24.69 seconds was nearly a full second faster than runner-up Thomas Stangassinger of Austria, who finished in 1:25.68. . . .
World Cup champion Alexandra Meissnitzer of Austria severed ligaments in her left knee while training for World Cup races in Lake Louise, Alberta, and will miss the remainder of the season, her coach said.
Gabriel Batistuta led Fiorentina to a 2-0 victory over Manchester United in a Champions League game in Florence. He scored the opening goal against the European champion and helped set up the second.