Chapter 1, Page 30

Flaherty went home to Spokane to solitude. His wife Jackie, whom he married in 1946, recalled that Marshall had given Flaherty a dog, "a championship dog, a boxer, a great big boxer. I hated to hear about the 73-0. Ray said the dog was the only one who loved him."

It took the Redskins some time to get over the shock. Baugh, of course, never considered retiring, and Marshall wouldn't have let him. Still, the 1941 Redskins turned in the poorest record in Flaherty's regime, 6-5. They salvaged a winning season with a 20-14 victory over Philadelphia at Griffith Stadium, but no one celebrated that night — it was December 7, and all anyone could think of was Pearl Harbor and war.

Flaherty, like so many others, knew that his days as a civilian were numbered, and he was eager to serve. He would have one more season with the Redskins — and he would make the best of it. "He had a brilliant football mind," Barber said. "He developed the screen pass. He could handle players. He knew when to kick you in the fanny and pat you on the back. Everyone respected him. Sammy had eight coaches with the Redskins, but Ray was the best by far."

The 1942 Redskins went 10-1. Their only loss was 14-7 to the Giants in the second game of the season, a score they reversed against the Giants amid a nine-game winning streak. The Redskins allowed only 13 points in their last four games. Once more, their title-game foe would be the Bears. The Bears, who had won 18 straight games, were favored.

Flaherty was feisty. "If the Bears want to get tough in the clinches," he told reporters, "we'll get tough, too. You can look at the pictures and see how they use their hands and get away with other stuff that should be called by the officials. This time we're going along with them and play their way. If there's some rough stuff, we're going to be in on it."

Flaherty took his one assistant coach, former tackle Turk Edwards, with him to scout the Bears in Chicago in their last game of the season, against the Chicago Cardinals. They left Baugh and Wee Willie Wilkin to run practice. For his reading displeasure Flaherty found this in a Chicago newspaper: "The Bears say that Sammy Baugh is the most overrated passer in football. They point to the records which show that Sid Luckman [of the Bears] and Cecil Isbell [of the Packers] do more damage with one pass than Baugh does with five. Baugh gets his team to the 50-yard line with five short passes and Luckman and Isbell get their teams over the goal line with one."

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Other Pages in Chapter 1:
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42

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