Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sid Says Goodbye

Sid Luckman at Chicago's Soldier Field

Game of the Day (Day 71)

November 25, 1938

Brown 37 Columbia 26

After Columbia's 1938 wins over Yale and Army, the Lions were 2-0 and raring for more. But it was not to be. Injuries started to affect the team, and Sid Luckman was not immune. Columbia went on a four-game losing streak before finally regrouping to rout Virginia 39-0 at Baker Field, (even though Luckman could not play in that game).

Two freak losses to Navy and Syracuse followed, leaving Luckman hoping to finish his college career in Providence on a high note against Brown.

The effort began well, as the Lions got an early turnover at the Brown 16 and Luckman ran it in a few plays later for the 7-0 lead. The Bears grabbed control of the game after that and ran off 37 unanswered points in what looked like it was going to be a total rout.

But Sid wasn't going to finish his collegiate career without a fight. First, launched a 65 yard TD pass to Jack Naylor for a one-play TD drive and a 37-14 score. Brown fumbled the ensuing kickoff away and two Luckman passes to John Siegal later, the second one for 10 yards and a TD, it was 37-20.

Naylor then intercepted a Brown pass and returned it to the 50 and Sid went to work for the final time. One running play was followed by a 26-yard pass from Luckman to Bob Stoltz and then he hit Siegal again for a 10-yard TD.

The frustrations of the 1938 season seemed to hit Luckman hard, as two weeks after his loss he announced his "retirement" from football. But George Halas and the Chicago Bears had different ideas. Halas successfully convinced Sid to change his mind, and by the time Luckman retired from pro football history he was hands down the greatest QB in NFL history.

And it all started at Columbia.


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