Dallas' Monday night victory over the New York Giants two weeks ago might have brought the Cowboy fans back, but the subsequent loss to Detroit sent the north Texas entry back into a funk. Cowboy President Tex Schramm hinted on his weekly radio show that Tom Landry and the coaching staff might be part of the team's problems, and Landry said veteran quarterback Danny White might lose his starting job.
Being patient is becoming more and more difficult for Schramm, who said: "There are questions out there I'm sure people have, and I have the same questions. I'm not sure all of our problems are all on the players. When things aren't working and you continue to see the same things, that shakes your confidence a little bit. . . . It's the old saying, if the teacher doesn't teach, the student doesn't learn." Schramm said he plans to have a little sit-down with Landry.
But it's past the talking stage with White, apparently. Landry said he would not shrink from benching White or pulling him in the middle of Sunday's game at New England in favor of Steve Pelluer. "If we need to make a change, we will make a change," Landry said. "If he is throwing the ball well . . . we will go with him. If not, we will go with somebody else."
One more replacement-player note: Stan Gelbaugh, the former Maryland quarterback now a backup at Buffalo, is to be married after the season and plans on college roommate Scott Schankweiler being in the wedding party. But Schankweiler came in, played as a replacement player for the Bills, and the two haven't talked since. Frank Reich, the No. 2 quarterback in Buffalo and yet another Maryland grad, is standing by in case he is called on to be a replacement groomsman.
"Frank and I talked to Scott the Tuesday morning of the strike," Gelbaugh said this week. "He called and sort of asked for Frank and me to give the OK for him to be a scab player. When neither of us gave it to him, he said he probably wouldn't do it.
"But less than three hours later, he was on television saying he would do it," Gelbaugh said. "We weren't happy about him playing, but I'm not about to let it affect our friendship. I've tried to call Scott a couple of times. . . . I hope he calls because I still want him to be in my wedding."
When Schankweiler did play in the NFL, it meant that each of six players who were College Park roommates at one time had made it into professional sports. Besides the three with the Bills, there are Cincinnati quarterback Boomer Esiason, Washington kicker Jess Atkinson, and Alan Sadler, punter become minor league pitcher.
St. Louis fans probably won't have Cardinals owner Bill Bidwill to kick around anymore because he is almost certain to move his team after this season, and several NFL officials believe Baltimore is easily the leading candidate. Phoenix, Memphis and Jacksonville are all lobbying for a team, but there are several owners in the NFL who feel Baltimore (because of Bob Irsay's midnight flight to Indianapolis four years ago) deserves a team. Phoenix and Memphis probably would rather have expansion teams (among other reasons, it could cost less). And Jacksonville is a smaller television market. Baltimore has the added attraction of a pending new stadium, and the NFL wouldn't have to realign divisions, since the NFC East would then have Washington, New York, Philadelphia, Dallas and Baltimore. A Washington-Baltimore series, which hasn't been played regularly since 1967, would renew a rivalry.
NFL Owners Part II: Atlanta Falcons owner Rankin Smith Sr., in the wake of last Sunday's 38-3 loss to Cleveland, said he might plan some front-office changes that could even affect his sons, Rankin Jr., the president, and Taylor, the executive vice president. "They're accountable like everybody else," Smith said. "If they can't do it, they won't be there, that's all. We're going to do what's necessary to get the job done."
The Redskins apparently weren't standing by idly as linebacker Cornelius Bennett, the Colts' unsigned No. 1 draft choice, was traded to Buffalo in the three-way deal involving Eric Dickerson. The Redskins, according to one source involved in the trade talks, were prepared to offer the same high draft choices as Buffalo. But the Rams, who wound up receiving those draft picks, wanted the Redskins out of the deal because they figured Washington could finish with one of the two or three best records in the league and wind up picking 26th, 27th or even 28th in the draft. The Rams got first- and second-round picks from Buffalo, which figure to yield more premium talent.
At the season opener in Denver, thousands of maniacal Broncos fans rushed to buy and wear T-shirts bearing a "Boz-Buster" logo, before Brian Bosworth made his NFL debut there with the Seattle Seahawks. As it turns out, The Boz himself designed and marketed the T-shirt. "I was, after all, a business major," he said slyly. The Boz, Seattle's $10 million linebacker, added that he is not greedy, however, and sent the proceeds to Children's Hospital in Seattle, not to his own company, 44 Boz Inc.