MacArthur Lane: From Penthouse to Doghouse

By Bob Underwood

MacArthur Lane was the Cardinals top draft pick in 1968 out of Utah State. The 6-foot 1-inch, 200 pound running back played sparingly his first two seasons in St. Louis, although he did lead the team in kick off returns in 1969.

Lane had his breakout season in 1970 when he scored 13 touchdowns and gained 1342 all-purpose yards out of the Big Red backfield. He scored 4 touchdowns against the Eagles in an October game at Busch Stadium and scored 3 touchdowns against the Boston Patriots in November.

Despite a Pro Bowl season, Lane was not satisfied. He told Jeff Meyers of the St. Louis Post Dispatch that he was bitter at the end of the 1970 season because, “We just stopped running the ball,” thereby diminishing his chances of gaining 1000 yards, he believed. Additionally, after a 7-2 start, the Cards lost their last three games of the season and missed the playoffs.

MacArthur Lane was the Cards first round draft choice in 1968

Lane became further dissatisfied after the Cardinals failed to sign him after his Pro Bowl season. He became surly with the press and it affected his play on the field. He rushed for only 592 yards and three touchdowns under new head coach Bob Hollway.

“I should have been signed in January of 1971,” Lane told Jeff Meyers in a 1972 interview. I got like that because I was under a lot of pressure because I hadn’t signed. There there was a lot of pressure because we weren’t winning. The pressures were there, all right, both internal and external.”

At 29 years of age, Lane took a pay cut in 1971 and was playing for 90% of his 1969 salary which was based on two unproductive years.

Continue reading

Big Red Flashback: The Ahmad Rashad Trade in 1974

By Jeff MeyersSeptember 19, 1974

“The doctors with the Bills told me that the Cardinals were telling everyone that I had mental problems and that’s why I couldn’t get along with people,” Ahmad Rashad said, his voice inflecting both laughter and anger at the same time.

It is easy to understand how Rashad could drive other people crazy, like cornerbacks. Willie Brown, the All-Pro of the Oakland Raiders, wound up talking to himself after Rashad turned him in circles and tied his shoelaces together during the Monday Night Game of the Week on ABC-TV.

Even Howard Cosell, given to hyperbole on some things as mundane as a stadium hot-dog vendor, was going nuts over Rashad’s two-touchdown performance that gave the Buffalo Bills a 21-20 victory. “In Buffalo,” Cosell raved, “the acquisition of Rashad is being termed the ‘Steal of the Century.'”

Bobby Moore changed his name to Ahmad Rashad in the summer of 1973. He was traded to Buffalo the following January for backup QB Dennis Shaw.

The victims of this outlandish thievery are the Cardinals, whose state of mind may be more in question than Rashad’s considering that they traded him straight up for second-string quarterback Dennis Shaw last January. Not that Shaw isn’t a competent professional; it’s just that Rashad has the talent to become one of the greatest receivers in the National Football League.

Continue reading

Bob DeMarco: Tough, Opinionated, Outspoken

Former St. Louis Post Dispatch columnist and Cards beat writer Jeff Meyers wrote this story a few years ago on Big Red center Bob DeMarco and wanted to share it here.

There was a brief moment when Bob DeMarco considered becoming a TV sports analyst after football. None other than legendary broadcaster Jack Buck was encouraging him to give it a shot.

DeMarco, a 2-time All-Pro center, was a natural for the broadcast booth: gregarious, intelligent, outspoken. But with only three TV networks and no cable channels in the early ‘70s, analyst job openings were rare, and DeMarco needed to feed his family of four in Creve Coeur, Mo.

Bob DeMarco was an All-Pro center who played 9 seasons in St. Louis.

So when he retired in 1976 after 15 NFL seasons, he took a job selling deflocculants, a chemical additive that prevents flocculation in liquids (look it up).

Continue reading

The NFL, Concussions, and Marijuana

According to a study in 2017, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was found in 99% of deceased NFL player’s brains that were donated to science. CTE has been linked to repeated blows to the head which is, obviously, is very common among NFL players, in particular, offensive and defensive linemen.

Last year, Jeff Meyers, who covered the Football Cardinals in the early 1970s for the St. Louis Post Dispatch, and former Big Red Pro Bowl Center, Tom Banks, collaborated on an unscientific study of 23 former pot-smoking Cardinals who regularly lit-up during the season and sometimes before games. Meyers became curious of how they were doing after watching the movie “Concussion” in 2016.

The results of the “anecdotal evidence” were published in the Winter/Spring 2017 edition of O’Shaughnessy’s, the Journal of Cannabis in Clinical Practice. The story has been re-printed below with Mr. Meyers’ permission. While most of the players wanted to remain anonymous, a few such as Conrad Dobler,  Dale Hackbart, and Banks shared some of their experiences with concussions and how the use of marijuana helped them cope with injuries.

This in an interesting read. Enjoy! Continue reading