Chapter 1, Page 9

never forget. Even when Baugh was in his eighties at his home in Rotan, Texas, few days went by when he didn't think of Meyer, who had gathered the finest passers at TCU. Two years behind Baugh was Davey O'Brien, an immense talent of diminutive stature who stepped into the college spotlight after Baugh relinquished it. Later, O'Brien starred for the Eagles.

"We were just high school kids. We didn't know a damn thing," Baugh recalled. "Dutch Meyer taught us. All the coaches I had in the pros, I didn't learn a damn thing from any of `em compared with what Dutch Meyer taught me. He taught the short pass. The first day we go into a room and he has three S's up on a blackboard; nobody knew what that meant. Then he gives us a little talk and he says, `This is our passing game.' He goes up to the blackboard and he writes three words that complete the S's: `Short, Sure and Safe.' That was his philosophy — the short pass.

"Everybody loved to throw the long pass. But the point Dutch Meyer made was, `Look at what the short pass can do for you.' You could throw it for seven yards on first down, then run a play or two for a first down, do it all over again and control the ball. That way you could beat a better team."

Flaherty knew what made Sammy tick, and he knew that opposing rushers would be out to all but break his passer's neck. So Flaherty would invent a version of the screen pass to save that prize neck. Beginning in the mid-1940s in the rival All-American Football Conference, coach Paul Brown of the Cleveland Browns employed the screen pass with great effectiveness; Otto Graham threw it to Marion Motley and other backs. But Flaherty invented the play almost a decade before, not from the T formation of later times but from the single-wing and double-wing formations the Redskins then employed. Baugh would receive the snaps at tailback, and the line would shift right or left to set up a screen for a receiver.

When Flaherty arrived in Chicago for the September 1 College All-Stars game with the Packers, he already was visualizing Sammy in a burgundy Redskins jersey. Flaherty visited Baugh and two other Redskins draftees at the collegians' camp. They sat and talked about the forward pass. The All-Stars' coach knew something of the subject as well. He was Gus Dorais, who as Notre Dame's quarterback in 1913 surprised Army with a new element in the game, the forward pass. Knute Rockne was Dorais' principal pass-catcher.

Page 9 | Next Page: 10

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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