Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

Recommended Reading  

Interference: How Organized Crime Influences Professional Football

by Dan E. Mold­ea
1995, William Mor­row & Co.
ISBN-10: 068808303X
ISBN-13: 978–0688083038
512 pages

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.


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