Copperas Cove Leader-Press (Copperas Cove, Tex.), Vol. 119, No. 23, Ed. 1 Friday, December 20, 2013 Page: 4 of 16
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starred on the
Barring a miracle, it looked like the season was over for Tobin
Rote and his Detroit Lion teammates on Dec. 22, 1957, as they
trudged to the locker room at half-time trailing the San Francisco
49ers by 20 points.
The Rote cousins were bom in San Antonio in 1928 only eight
months apart with Tobin coming in January and Kyle arriving that
October. They went to different high
schools, but both were big stars on their
respective football teams.
Tobin graduated a year ahead of
Kyle and accepted a scholarship to play
for the Rice Owls in the Southwest Con-
ference. The younger Rote also picked an
SWC school, but his choice was Southern
Methodist where he joined legendary
Doak Walker in the Mustang backfield.
College pigskin fans and sportswrit-
ers alike considered SMU a cinch to win
its third consecutive conference title in
1949. If anyone was going to give the
mighty Mustangs a mn for their money, it
sure was not the “Boys from The Insti-
tute” who had won a mere five games the
previous season and finished in the mid-
dle of the SWC pack.
When Rice lost its second game to
LSU, no one imagined that was the last time the Owls would taste
defeat. Two Saturdays later in front of a capacity crowd at the Cot-
ton Bowl, senior quarterback Tobin Rote rallied the blue-and-white
troops from a two-touchdown deficit to vanquish SMU and his
cousin Kyle by a score of 41 to 27.
The closest anybody came to derailing Rice was in the hard-
fought contest at Austin the very next week. But after spotting the
Texas Longhorns nine points in the first half, the Rote-led Owls
With a perfect Southwest conference record and a fifth-place
ranking in the Associated Press poll, Rice met number-16 North
Carolina in the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day. The Tar Heels
never had a chance and did not tally until the final minute of the
lopsided event after the Owls had put 27 points on the scoreboard.
Tobin Rote was selected in the second round of the 1950
National Football League draft by the worst team in professional
football. Since their last championship in 1944, the Green Bay
Packers had fallen on embarrassingly hard times that did not
improve during the Texan’s seven-year stay in the frozen north.
Season after woeful season, Rote carried the pitiful offense on
his back. He not only led Green Bay in passing, which was to be
expected from the starting quarterback, but also was the Packers’
top msher three times.
Rote’s incredible performance in 1956 remains one of the most
amazing in NFL history. On a team that won just four of 12 games,
he led the league in passing yards and passing touchdowns while
finishing second in rushing TD’s. His combined total of 29 touch-
downs was an untouchable record for the better part of a half centu-
The Packers rewarded Rote that off-season by trading him to
Detroit. The Lions already had a high-profile signal-caller, fellow
Texan Bobby Layne who was immensely popular with the Motor
City fans. So the top-ranked quarterback in the NFL was relegated
to the role of back-up.
Then in the second quarter of the next-to-last match of the reg-
ular schedule, Layne was carried off the field with a broken ankle.
Rote answered the bell, and with the stand-by’s steady hand on
helm, the Lions went on to beat the Cleveland Browns 20-7.
In a must-win game versus the Bears the following Sunday, the
Lions fell behind by ten points in the first half. But Rote’s experi-
ence paid off handsomely with three touchdowns in the last 30 min-
utes that set up a tie-breaking playoff with San Francisco.
The 49ers look invincible in the first half, as they jumped out
to a 20-point advantage. “We could hear them laughing,” Rote
later recalled. “The walls were paper thin. They were going on
about how they were going to spend their championship game
money. It made us angry.”
So angry, in fact, that the fired-up Lions roared back to cross
the San Francisco goal line three times in less than five minutes.
The stunning 31-27 come-from-behind victory sent Detroit to the
title showdown with Cleveland.
Behind Rote’s five touchdowns, four through the air and one
on the ground, the Lions routed the Browns 59-14 for their third
championship in six seasons. But it would be their last just like
Bobby Layne predicted on his way out the door.
When the Lions gave Rote his walking papers two years later,
he was not ready to call it a career. So the Texan went north, even
farther than frigid Green Bay, to the Toronto Argonauts of the
Canadian Football League and taught them a thing or two about
In 1963, the San Diego Chargers of the new American Football
League offered the 35 year old quarterback a $35,000 contract, ten
grand more than he was making in Canada, to hold down the fort
while a wet-behind-the-ears rookie learned the position. Rote did
that and much more in two campaigns with the Chargers becoming
the first and only quarterback to win NFL and AFL championships.
The History Press will publish Bartee s first book on Jan. 14,
2014. You may pre-order a signed copy of “Texas Depression-Era
Desperadoes" at barteehaile.com or by mailing a check for $26.65
to “Bartee Haile, ” P.O. Box 152, Friendswood, TX 77549.
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Page 4A ♦ Copperas Cove Leader-Press ♦ Dec. 20, 2013 ♦ 254-547-4207
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Christmas just isn’t
Christmas without Stetson
cologne. And a sharp,
down shirt, and some warm
socks. These are the things
my daddy looked forward
to every year. The same
things, every year, and
every year, he exclaimed in
surprise as if he didn’t
already know what was in
Christmas isn’t the
same without Daddy, who
was thin as a rail at the end,
piling his plate so full of
food it would fall off the
sides, then eating every bite
and wiping the plate clean
with his roll. He wanted to make sure
every contributing cook knew he or she
was appreciated . . . and when it came to
holiday cooking, Dad was really good at
In September, 2012, Dad moved to
his new home in heaven. I’m sure he
has a Christmas-worthy
banquet every day. But I
miss him so much.
You see, Dad wasn’t
just fim. In so many ways,
he was my compass, my
gauge telling me how to feel
about myself. I know at
forty-bleep years old, I
shouldn’t need a father’s
love telling me I’m good,
I’m loved, I’m worthy, I’m
accepted . . . but man. When
you had a really great dad,
and he’s not there anymore,
it’s hard. I feel like an
I guess that’s why God,
in His great wisdom, knew
the importance of giving us
the gift of an Everlasting Father. My dad
was amazing, but he wasn’t perfect. But
when I look into the mirror of my Ever-
lasting Father, I see perfect love. Perfect
acceptance. No matter what I’ve done or
how I may have messed up, He forgives
me, and then He wipes the slate clean.
All the bad stuff, gone, as soon as I tell
him I’m sorry.
But all the good stuff stays. With
Him, I don’t have to worry if I’m want-
ed. I am. I don’t need to wonder what
He thinks of me. He adores me. I never
have to question if I’m loved. He
assures me time and again in His Word .
. . He loves me beyond measure.
This time of year, most folks think
of a tiny baby, lying in a manger, a gift
from above, an everlasting symbol of
God’s great love for us. But if you don’t
mind, I think I’ll focus on a different
aspect of His gift this year. In honor of
my daddy, I’ll give Stetson cologne,
warm socks, and a button-down shirt to
some other men in my life. And in the
absence of my daddy, I plan to remem-
ber that I’m not Fatherless. God gave
me the gift of Himself, as my parent,
and promised to love me for all of eter-
“For to us a child is born, to us a
son is given, and his name shall be
called. . . Everlasting Father ...” Isa-
The War on Inequality
Obama has his answer to
Lyndon Johnson's "War on
Poverty." It is a war on
The president's formal
declaration of hostilities
came in a speech this
month at the Center for
American Progress, pre-
dictably praised as bril-
liant by his journalistic
cheerleaders and touted by
the White House as setting
out the cause that will
define the rest of his presi-
While LBJ's war on
poverty is nothing to emu-
late — it costs $900 billion a year, yet
has manifestly failed in the stated goal
of uplifting the poor — at least it had a
clear, compelling rationale. Who can
disagree that it would be better if
fewer Americans were poor? Obama's
implicit argument is that it would be
better if fewer Americans were rich, or
at least if they weren't quite so offen-
He relied on dubious research and
tendentious analysis to make his case,
without ever admitting what, for him,
must be the crux of the matter. Surely,
income inequality offends his egalitari-
an sense of justice and aesthetics, and
even if he didn't believe it
had harmful real-word
effects, he would wish the
top 1 percent weren't so
wealthy as a social good in
and of itself.
There is no doubt that
we long ago exited the
economic Golden Age of
the mid-20th century, and
we aren't going to return to
it. President Obama could
give a speech about that
and never need to make a
questionable claim. But he
wants to make a case for
In his speech, the
president said that inequal-
ity is bad for the economy and cited
"one study" showing that greater
income inequality means more fragile
growth and more frequent recessions.
Of course, "one study" can show
almost anything. The study in question
analyzed developing economies.
He could just as easily have said
that "one study" by a Harvard econo-
mist showed a correlation between
increasing inequality and higher eco-
nomic growth in the U.S. and other
developed countries between 1960 and
To maintain that rising inequality
is a threat to the American Dream, the
president insists that it is reducing
income mobility. Here the evidence is
just as weak. According to Scott Win-
ship of the Manhattan Institute, the
gap between the middle class and the
poor hasn't grown much during the
past few decades. It has been the very
top of the income distribution that has
gained the most.
America does indeed have a seri-
ous mobility problem, especially in
getting people out of poverty. But it
has nothing to do with a small fraction
of people being spectacularly rich.
Mark Zuckerberg could be stripped of
all his wealth tomorrow, and it would-
n't help anyone further down the
income ladder. It wouldn't increase
wages, or reduce out-of-wedlock child
rearing, or lead to less incarceration,
or revive the work ethic, all of which
would enhance mobility and lift more
people into the middle class. It would
just make Mark Zuckerberg poor.
Which is why Obama's war on
inequality is so misconceived. We
aren't beset by a wealthy 1 percent
destroying opportunity and immiserat-
ing the rest of the country. The presi-
dent needs to reconsider his casus
Rich Lowry is editor of the
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Morris, David. Copperas Cove Leader-Press (Copperas Cove, Tex.), Vol. 119, No. 23, Ed. 1 Friday, December 20, 2013, newspaper, December 20, 2013; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth630594/m1/4/: accessed August 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .