January 10, 1965
By Ross Newman
Long Beach Press-Telegram
The National Football League's Eastern Division again needs a shoulder to cry on.
It can't use Frank Ryan's, for the Cleveland quarterback's right one is separated today from the remainder of his bone structure and thereby hangs the story of Sunday's 15th Pro Bowl in which the West reaffirmed its supremacy and regained its pride with a smashing 34-14 victory over the cream of the East.
As revealed in The Press-Telegram Saturday, Ryan was to be the object of a Baltimore Colts’ vendetta for attempting to pour it on the Colts in the NFL's championship game. The Colts posse corralled their man on the first play of the second half (video).
Attempting to pass from his own 30-yard line, Ryan escaped the rush of the Rams’ Merlin Olsen, but in so doing he stepped directly in the path of the revenge-bent Gino Marchetti, who cracked Ryan around the shoulders and was then joined by the 300-pound Roger Brown.
'It was evident at once," a sideline observer told The Press-Telegram, "that Ryan would not get up."
Ryan did get up, but his mind was with Ranger Seven among the stars and he did a pratfall into the East huddle. He was escorted to the sidelines, never returned, and will be X-rayed today.
"Gino was fantastic," beamed Baltimore and West's Coach Don Shula, who was preresented the game ball by his pupils. "He made up his mind he was going to get to the quarterback and he did."
"YOU BET I was in on the tackle and you bet I was on he field when Ryan refused to stop the game in Cleveland," confided Marchetti before being red-dogged by a swarm of reporters.
"I don't remember too much," said Ryan, who refused to enter a debate over the legality of the tackle. "I was just knocked cold and didn't feel the pain until I reached the sidelines."
Cleveland owner Art Modell did not look like a man who flew the NFL pennant from his flag pole. "He's our bread and butter," said Modell, "and naturally I was shocked when it happened. But the tackle looked clean to me.”
The tackle, which which awoke 60,598 Coliseum patrons and jarred the foundations of the East offense, carried greater implications than merely the completion of a vendetta. For, despite the presence of Sonny Jurgensen, the East did not have a second string quarterback.
“I do not wish to take anything away from the West," said East Coach Blanton Collier, "but there is another story, and in fairness to Jurgesen (who had three passes intercepted) it should be told.
"After our practice on Thursday, Sonny came to me and said he couldn't raise his arm. He explained that all season he was burdened with a pain in his right shoulder and only if a doctor hit the right spot with a shot of cortisone would it go away.
"During the last three days he had some seven or eight shots, but none of them hit the mark and thus he was not in our game plans. After the first quarter he asked for a chance to play, but it took only one series and we knew he couldn't throw at all."
Thus, this is the quarterback the East found itself with, trailing 17-7 at the outset of the second half. On the second play following Ryan's injury, Jurgensen, under heavy pressure from blitzing linebacker Wayne Walker, passed directly into the arms of Green Bay linebacker Ray Nitschke, who bulldozed 42 yards to a touchdown which lifted the West lead to 24-7 only one minute and 50 seconds into the third period (video).
The East didn't have a leg to stand on nor a shoulder to lean on.
Behind the superlative passing of Minnesota's Fran Tarkenton, who was player of the game, and receiving of Detroit's Terry Barr, who was lineman of the game, and a defense anchored by the retiring Marchetti and Olson, the West achieved its 10th victory in 15 Pro Bowls with startling ease.
The East was outrushed, 411 yards to 187, was outpassed 266 yards to 82, was out intercepted four to one and would have been left completely out in the cold had not the West committed two offensive mistakes which provided the East with its lone scores.
The East did not achieve a first down rushing until 10 minutes of the third period had elapsed and it did not penetrate the West 40 until 13:30 of that same period. It called on its kicker, Sam Baker, more often than Congress calls on Bobby Baker.
The victory on offense belonged to the Minnesota Vikings while the victory on defense belonged to Baltimore, the Rams and Green Bay.
Eddie Meador picked off one East aerial while Green Bay's Nitschke, Herb Adderly and Willie Wood pilfered the others.
Still, it was not until the arrival of Tarkenton in the second quarter that the West started to move. Accompanied by Minnesota teammates Bill Brown and Tommy Mason, frantic Fran lifted the huge throng which sat as silent as a gallery at crosstown Rancho golf course while Johnny Unitas directed the West to a 3-0 first-quarter lead.
"Fran got us moving," admitted Unitas, who completed five of 12 passes compared to Tarkenton's eight for 13.
Spurred by a 31 –yard aerial to Mason, on the game's initial play, Unitas had moved the West 66 yards in eight plays for the first points which were provided by Walker's 15-yard field goal.
It was still 3-0 when Tarkenton took over in the second period. Six scrimmages later it was 10-0, Walker addng the conversion following an 82-yard march which found Tarkenton passing for 80 of the yards on two consecutive plays.
He first scrambled out of an East blitz and passed to Mason for 47 yards and then found the brilliant Barr for 35 more and a first down on the East two. Brown promptly bulled over at 7:01.
The East breathed new life into the game at 11:39 when Renfro picked off a third down Tarkenton pass and raced 47 yards to paydirt, breaking Dick (Night Train) Lane's Pro Bowl record of 42 yards with an intercepted pass. Sam Baker's conversion made it 10-7, but only temporarily.
Tarkenton, hitting Barr for 39 yards and Brown for 11 and a key first down, whipped the West 87 yards in nine plays, beating the clock for a critical TD at 14:44. Tarkenton's two-yard pass to Brown in the right flat produced the score after Paul Krause's interference on a wide-open Mason had provided the West with a first down inside the 10.
After Mickey Mouse had released myriad of balloons during halftime, the West ballooned its lead to 24-7 on Nitschke's dash and made it on Walker's 28-yard field goal capping a 69-yard Unitas march in nine plays.
Unitas, outscored by Tarkenton, 14-13, and the storm troop rushes of Jim Taylor and Lenny Moore ushered the West to its final TD at 3:13 the fourth period. Moore
scored from the two, capping 70-yard, seven play thrust.
A Brown fumble, recovered by Sam Huff on the West 28, enabled the East to finally score on its own power at 12:12, Jurgenson passing 27 yards to Jim Brown (video).
For 57 minutes and 12 seconds, however, the West defense was too much for either Ryan or Jurgensen to "shoulder”.
Fran Tarkenton tries to elude Bob Lilly.