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Giants Break for Christmas In Advance of Championship Game Against Bears

Dec. 24, 1963 - The New York Giants worked long and well today at Yankee Stadium in preparation for their NFL championship game against the Bears at Chicago Sunday. End Del Shofner and linebacker Sam Huff ran freely after getting cortisone shots which should help mend left rib muscle and ankle damages. At 2 p.m., following an 80-minute drill on a field that had been cleared of snow, the Giants gathered in a large huddle, and coach Allie Sherman said, “All right, fellows, that was a good one. I’ll see you Thursday. Merry Christmas.” Every Giant received a turkey from the Maras. During the practice, players wore helmets and shoulder pads, although contact was forbidden. The Giant version of the Bear attack placed fullback Joe Morrison at tight end, where he was cast as Mike Ditka. Mike, 6-3 and 230 pounds, is the most talented player the Bears have, and the Giant who must cope with him is defensive back Dick Pesonen. Pesonen gives away 40 pounds and 4 inches to the Bear star, but he is unawed by Ditka’s size, toughness, and renown. “He’s another tight end, as far as I’m concerned,” said Dick. “They all go down if you tackle them right. I know he likes to run over people on those down-and-in patterns. That’s what he’s supposed to do. I’m ready for him.” When a newsman pointed out to Sherman that the Giants had superior statistics in 1963, the coach was unimpressed. “There’s no sense talking about statistics,” he said. “You have to think in terms of people. Why kid ourselves? We know how good a fullback Joe Marconi is. And Ronnie Bull is as good a halfback as there is. He’s great on the option play and even throws left-handed. Their receivers are all good. Ditka is the best tight end around — well, about as good as Jerry Kramer. And that John Farrington, he ate us up in Ithaca [the Bears won an exhibition from the Giants at Cornell on Aug. 10]. Angelo Coia, the other split end, is very fast too. And Johnny Morris, the flanker back, is one the big long-range threats of the league.”



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