Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Rest in Peace, Earl Morrall and Dotty Shula

I was talking to Mom the day after Earl Morrall died, and, being a proud Evansvillian, Mom, before discussing Earl Morrall at all, felt compelled to proclaim that "we would've still won every game in 1972" had Bob Griese not been injured and Morrall remained on the bench all season.

I think that might be true, but, nonetheless, I've always been thankful for Morrall's work. For a little while over the winter, I was reading his pre-Dolphins biography, In the Pocket: My Life as a Quarterback. I'd gotten as far as his trade from the Giants to the Colts when the KHSAA basketball tournaments, UK's big run, the start of A's season and the Bullets' playoff appearance took me off the track of reading about pro football in 1968.

Anyway, here are a couple of paragraphs from Page 126 of Earl Morrall's book that I thought were interesting and sweet:

The next week the trade was made and I flew down to Baltimore to get ready for the season. Jane, after doling out the kids to neighbors and friends in Connecticut, came down the next weekend to launch a desperate search for housing. She got the newspapers and a radio station to make announcements about our plight but none of the calls she received panned out. One woman offered to rent us a house if we would look after her fourteen cats. A man called to say that he had a tenant house on a farm available if I would help out with the barnyard chores. And a couple of perverts called.

After a long search and some fervent pleading, Jane finally found a two-bedroom unfurnished apartment in suburban Towson. She rented some primitive furniture and bought kitchen utensils at Woolworth's. Dotty Shula and some of the other wives loaned us a vacuum cleaner and other appliances. In addition to the four youngsters, we have a live-in girl, and we're normally a five-bedroom family. When I came home to the apartment at night, it was seldom less than chaos. I was never able to start studying the Colt playbook until everyone was in bed and asleep, usually around eleven o'clock or so.

Rest in peace, Earl Morrall, and rest in peace, Dotty Shula.

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