National Conference 30

American Conference 13


January 12, 1952



By Fred DeLano

Long Beach Press-Telegram


LOS ANGELES, Jan. 12- Joe Stydahar's National Conference All-Stars today swam to an impressive 30 to 13 victory over the best talent the rival American Conference of the pro grid loop could muster in the second annual Pro Bowl football game played before 19,400 thoroughly drenched spectators at Lake Figueroa- otherwise known as Memorial Coliseum.

A drenching rain reduced the attendance as compared to a crowd of 53,700 which attended the 1951 Pro Bowl game. However, radio and television rights to this year's contest poured $60,000 into the coffers of the sponsoring Los Angeles Newspaper Publishers' Association's charity fund.

After trailing Paul Brown's Americans for three quarters- at one time by a full 10 points, the ever-improving Nationals broke things wide open with three fourth-quarter touchdowns to make amends for the 28-27 loss they suffered to Brown's Easterners a year ago.

Thus, Stydahar, the coach of the world's champion Los Angeles Rams completed a parlay he started last December 23 when his Rams subdued the Cleveland Browns in the National Football League playoff.

The Nationals took a 16-13 edge after 43 seconds of the final period when the Chicago Bears' John Dottley crashed the final two yards of an 89-yard march engineered by Bob Waterfield, with Dan Towler, Tank Younger, E1roy Hirsch and Waterbuckets himself the main cogs. After that it was a romp.


Towler, the giant L. A. Ram backfield star, was a workhorse as Stydahar's pachyderm combination of Deacon Dan, Younger and Dottley ground the American line to pieces in a downpour that let up only occasionally this soggy afternoon. He lugged the ball 17 times from scrimmage for a net of 72 yards- which compares with a total of 15 yards by the American backs altogether- and at game's end Dan was voted' the outstanding player on the field by press box observers.


With the exception of one lightning-like thrust in the first quarter, when Otto Graham passed 44 yards to Dub Jones for a touchdown, the eastern All-Stars never could conquer Stydahar's defensive aggregation. Their other seven digits were provided by Lou Groza, who kicked the conversion after Jones' tally and then added a pair of second-quarter field goals of 45 and 11 yards in length.


It was George Connor, the monstrous tackle of the Bears who made collegiate headlines as an All-American at Notre Dame, who had the largest hand in bottling up the eastern ball packers, ably assisted by the likes of Larry Brink, Ed Sprinkle and Leo Nomellini.


As he did last year, Coach Brown chose to go almost all the way with Graham at the throttle, while Stydahar stuck to a large extent with Waterfield as his quarterback, though hardly to the same degree. Bob threw 14 passes (eight were complete) and Norm Van Brocklin six.


However, Sammy Baugh did get in for six plays as quarterback for the Americans and wound up the goat as the Nationals scored twice off his miscues- once when Nomellini raced 20 yards with a Baugh fumble and later when Sam hobbled again, only to have Don Raul recover four yards from the goal line. Another National touchdown quickly resulted.


The Graham-to-Jones pass, plus Groza's conversion, opened the scoring, but ere the first period ended Waterfield had reduced the count to 7-3 with field goal from the 30.


Groza's 45-yarder made it 10-3 early in the second stanza and it went to 13-3 four minutes later when he kicked another from the 11. The Americans had gained a first down on the Nationals' seven-yard line on a pass interception by Paul Lipscomb, but three running plays gained only three yards and this stand by the Nationals' defensive line actually was to prove the tip on what was to come in the second half.


Before the first half ended the Nationals cut the score to 13-10, a beautiful catch of a Van Brocklin pass by Bob Hoernschemeyer carrying 42 yards to the one-yard stripe to set the stage. From here Van Brocklin crossed up the Americans by passing into the end zone to Gordon Soltau, Waterfield converting.


The Nationals got the deciding march under way late in the third period and on the last 11 plays of that quarter moved from their own 11 clear to the foe's 23-yard line. The running of Towler and Younger and two passes from Waterfield to Hirsch made this possible.


On the first play of the last period Bob again pitched to Crazy Legs, this for 21 yards to the two-yard line and on the next play Dottley went over. A bad pass from center killed the try for the extra point, but now the score was 16-13 and the Americans were never again in the ball game.


After the kickoff, Baugh fumbled on the second play when attempting a handoff to Eddie Price. Nomellini gobbled up the loose pigskin and rambled the remaining 20 yards Waterfield's conversion made it 23-13.


In the final minute of play, Baugh fumbled again and this was pounced on by Paul on the American four. Two plays lost three yards, but as the gun sounded Doak Walker passed seven yards from a spread formation to Hirsch in the end zone. This time Johnny Lujack added the point and the resulting 30-13 count marked the rare, rare occasion when Brown has been beaten as a coach in two successive games. Last month the Rams whipped his Cleveland eleven, 24-17, for the world championship.


The statistics tell the story: 145 yards on the ground for the Nationals to 15 for the Americans and 158 yards through the air to 97 for Graham et al. The first downs were 21 to four and the Americans couldn't make a single one on the ground. Rumor has it that the football season has ended at last.


Pete Pihos takes Otto Graham pass for five yards in torrential downpour.


Otto Graham and Dub Jones during practice.

(Graham family photo)



1951 1953