by Dan E. Moldea
1995, William Morrow & Co.
Excerpt from Chapter One: On Fixing Games and Inside Information
I once asked Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson of the Kansas City Chiefs whether the fact that his team’s games had been taken off the betting boards by bookmakers across the country during the late 1960s was an indication that they were fixed. Dawson replied, “It would be a dangerous thing to fix a game. To me, a player would be branded for life if he did that. His teammates would express shock and anger. I don’t know how one guy could do it, even a quarterback. In our system, we ran the ball a lot. Even when I wasn’t in there, it didn’t make much difference who was quarterback, because the defense scored points to help win games.
“I suppose the quarterback could put the ball on the ground, with turnovers in crucial situations. It would certainly have a bearing on the game. Hell, a kicker could have as much to do with it just by missing. He has more control over it than sometimes the quarterback does.”
Defensive back Dick “Night Train” Lane, formerly of the Detroit Lions and also a member of the Hall of Fame, told me that while he was a player he was once approached by Donald Dawson, the Detroit gambler who was later linked in a federal probe with Len Dawson, who was no relation. Recalling the incident, which he did not report to the NFL, Lane says, “Don told me, ‘Quarterbacks do a lot of betting themselves. Did you know that?’ I said [laughing], ‘Get out of here.’ He said, ‘You know it can be done, Night Train. You’re the only man between the goal post and a receiver. You can slip and fall and let the guy score.’ ”
“The best book on the NFL’s connection to the mob and the American gambling scene was Dan Moldea’s groundbreaking Interference. Moldea tore apart the league’s papier-mache image and illustrated that, without gamblers, it would have remained on the sandlots.”
- John L. Smith, Las Vegas Review-Journal
“Moldea has written perhaps the most important sports book in the history of the language.”
- Keith Olbermann, ESPN SportsCenter
THIS BOOK IS IN PRINT. Available commercially. Learn more about Dan Moldea .