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The Carpets held only one other lead the rest of the season - a brief 7-0 edge over the Packers in the first quarter of their next-to-last game. They finished 0-10, were outscored 328-108, didn’t boot a single field goal and even had a player revolt in Week 5 after management fined Grigas, Schultz and halfback Johnny Butler $200 each for “inept playing” in a 34-7 loss to the Bears. The team refused to practice until the fines were rescinded, hunkering down in a nearby saloon. (Not that the practice was doing much good.)

Three weeks later, Grigas began a string of three straight 100-yard rushing games. He really did have a remarkable year under dire circumstances. In addition to his ball carrying, he threw six touchdown passes - two more than the Redskins’ Sammy Baugh threw that season. But losing was taking its toll on him. It was his second year in the NFL, and he had yet to win a game. (The Cardinals had been just as bad - 0-10 - the previous season.)

The day before the season finale against the Bears in Pittsburgh, as the Carpets worked out in icy conditions, Grigas complained of fatigue and seemed depressed. If the field remained frozen for the game, he told a few teammates, he didn’t think he’d play.

His roommate, Currivan, tried to talk him out of it but to no avail. On Sunday morning, he awoke at the Webster Hall Hotel and found a note that said:

“Did not want to wake you up. Funny thing, everything seems so mixed up. I’m going home [to Chelsea, Mass.] now. Can’t change my plans. Take care of my bags. Best of luck, Johnny.”

There was also a note from Grigas to the coaches and management. In it, he wrote that when you take a “physical beating, week in and week out, your soul isn’t in the game. … I tried to stick it out, but it has reached the stage where the mind is stronger than the will. … All I can say is that I am deeply sorry, but these are things which can’t be fully explained. Good luck, and may the team win just this one.”

Win? The Carpets got dry-cleaned 49-7. Without Grigas, they rushed for minus-2 yards and completed six of 30 passes. After the season, the war nearing an end, the Cardinals and Steelers got a divorce. The Cardinals kept their players, the Steelers kept theirs and they went their separate ways.

And here they are now, 64 years later, playing for pro football’s biggest prize. Best of all, SOMEBODY has to win.