July 26, 1974
By Phil Jasner
They swiped Jack Simcsak's kicking tee last night, borrowed his shoe and took away his job. It was a personalized grooved tee, and expensive shoe and a day old job.
What Jack Simcsak - the Bell's fourth kicker in three weeks - did was miss a 36-yard field goal on a clumsy exchange with 2:18 left in a chaotic, 17-15 loss to the New York Stars, before a WFL record 64,719 at Kennedy Stadium.
"We won't have the same kicker next week. I don't care if I have to put on a shoe and kick," Bell coach Ron Waller grumbled.
He didn't even have the same kicker at the end of the game, giving the job to George Chatlos with one second left.
CHATLOS MISSED a 26-yarder.
"I'm so bleeping disgusted. I don't even want to talk," Chatlos whispered.
"Am I packing it in," Simcsak said, "I think he (Waller) packed it in for me. It's unfair, but it's a business and the boss is the boss. I'm taking my stuff home tonight. I guess maybe I've gotta go look for a job."
"It's wrong for me to condemn him, and I'm not condemning him," Waller insisted. "But I'm gonna make a change. He's not gonna be here."
THE STARS WON on a 40-yard field goal by 21-year old Moses Lajterman with 11:48 left, which is another change Waller made. Lajterman was in the Bell camp, was dropped after a brief tryout, then dropped again two weeks ago by the Stars. He was rehired when New York kicker Pete Rajecki came out of last week's loss to Birmingham with bruised ribs. Between tryouts, he sold yogurt. In 1970, he lost a brother in the Marshall University plane crash that wiped out a football team.
"Even in our scrimmage with Philly, I felt I was a better kicker than anybody the Bell had," Lajterman shrugged. "But I was so nervous, my mind became my worst enemy. I've never had a chance to win a game, not in high school or college. I was hoping he'd (Chatlos) miss at the end. I was praying."
I HAD MY OWN kicking tee, grooved down one side so I could get the angle I wanted," he said. "Some kids stole it and I had to use New York's. At halftime, they stole George's kicking shoe..At the end they hollered for the kicking team, asked to use my shoe and sent George out there.
"What can I say? If they hold the ball right, if we spend time on the kicking game, get it - coordinated. I can kick 'em 50 yards. We just didn't spend the time. I thought I punted and kicked off okay, but on the field goal, the snap was a little high. I rushed and it went off the side of my foot. The first one I've ever tried in pro competition."
Don Shanklin, the wide receiver, was the holder each time. "First one he just missed," Shanklin said. "The second one, the snap was off, but I got it down and he got his toe into it. But I knew it was off left. I knew right away. Different kickers didn't matter. They're both right footed. I put it down the same way."
If there was a crack in the Bell, there was crack in two of quarterback King Corcoran's teeth, not to mention two stitches in his nose.
"THEY BEAT THE bleep out of me," Corcoran said. "They cheap-shot me all night. This league is supposed to protect the quarterback, but I got two stitches in my nose so somebody had to be rappin' me."
It was whacky at the end, it was whacky in the middle. Fans streamed on and off the field, overmatching the Pinkerton security people. The kids played at one end while the teams played at the other. One guy did the 100 at halftime, with clothes and without a clock, which was okay, because the clock would've needed an hour hand.
"We get streaked and the guy's wearing clothes," vice president Oscar Spivack muttered. "We had a gate crash too. I didn't see it, but I heard about it. Some people got hurt. Embarrassing? Sure it's embarrassing. What'd we have, 30 Pinkertons? You need 100. You need cops."
"I THINK MAYBE it was 75 Pinkertons," vice president Barry Lieb said. "Seventy-five. That should've been enough. We ask about police, and we get told the stadium is our problem. We finally had to call for some mounted police. We need what they need for Army-Navy."
"The mob cost us the game," player personnel director Hugh Wyatt said. "We had to have a guy hold the ball for second half kickoffs."
Somebody should have told Jack Simcsak.
Maybe somebody will.
TOLLING THE BELL: Middle linebacker Wally Dempsey finished with 15 tackles, defensive tackle Tom Laputka 10...Corcoran threw 14-for-24 for 215 yards and two touchdowns, 18 yards to Claude Watts and 9 to LeVell Hill. Dave Richards and Bob Gladieux, ran a yard each for Star touchdowns.