SPOTLIGHT : A GLANCE AT THIS WEEK IN THE NFL : SECRET OF SUCCESS

Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, in Green Bay, Wis., to catch the Packer-Ram game, also gave a little litany of why the San Francisco 49ers are such a successful franchise. Hear this, everybody else?

Tagliabue, in a brief session with the media, defended his $500,0000 fine of 49er owner Eddie DeBartolo for transferring ownership of the team to Edward DeBartolo's corporation without league approval three years ago.

Some called the fine a meaningless slap on the wrist and said the league should have taken away some premium draft picks because the transferal gave DeBartolo and his team an unfair financial and competitive advantage over everybody else.

Harrumph and not so, Tagliabue said yesterday. He even suggested that since the transferal to DeBartolo's corporation, the 49ers have done worse than they did previously.

"I looked at their record in '81, '83 and '84," Tagliabue said. "They were 38-10 five or six years before the transferal to the corporation.

"Everything they've done has been through coaching and innovation and the draft. Every one of their Pro Bowl players was acquired before the corporation, not after."

Tagliabue, interestingly enough, also intimated that there might be some hope for a long-stalled collective bargaining agreement between the owners and the players.

Right now, everything is tied up in a mangle of court cases Tagliabue says won't help the process.

"I don't think anything's happening in the courts," Tagliabue said.

REVENGE FACTOR

Joe Bugel and Bruce Coslet received little sympathy from former colleagues after making their NFL coaching debuts.

Bugel, the Phoenix Cardinals' coach who spent nine seasons as Joe Gibbs' offensive line coach in Washington, was on the short end of a 31-0 decision.

The Redskins had no problems determining where their loyalties went.

"You always want to do well in front of your teacher," tackle Jim Lachey told the Associated Press. "We wanted to put on a clinic."

Guard Russ Grimm said that despite almost a decade under Bugel's tutelage, "You've got friends, and then there's business. I don't feel sorry for him."

Coslet, the New York Jets' coach who spent nine years as an assistant in Cincinnati, was also done in by an offense he helped develop as the Bengals rallied for 15 points in the fourth quarter of a 25-20 victory.

Coslet gave credit where credit was due after Cincinnati quarterback Boomer Esiason led the Bengals on four scoring drives in the fourth quarter: "They have that No. 7 (Esiason), and he makes big plays. Cincinnati is very lucky to have him."

ATTENDANCE A look at how teams fared at the gate in Week 1.

Site Attend. Capacity % N.Y. GIANTS 76,202 77,311 99 BUFFALO 78,899 80,290 98 CLEVELAND 78,298 80,098 98 GREEN BAY 57,685 59,543 97 CHICAGO 64,400 66,949 96 ATLANTA 56,222 59,643 94 WASHINGTON 52,649 55,750 94 KANSAS CITY 68,363 78,067 88 CINCINNATI 66,467 59,755* NA NEW ENGLAND 45,305 60,794 75 DALLAS 48,063 65,024 74 DETROIT 54,728 80,500 68 RAIDERS 54,206 92,488 59

* Recently expanded

TOP PASSERS

Player, Team Att. Cmp. Yds. TD WARREN MOON, Oilers 52 31 397 4 JIM EVERETT, Rams 40 24 3340 2 KEN O'BRIEN, Jets 49 27 300 0 JIM KELLY, Bills 37 28 283 1 DAN MARINO, Dolphins 34 22 255 3 ANTHONY DILWEG, Packers 32 20 248 3 WADE WILSON, Vikings 36 16 248 3 MARK RYPIEN, Redskins 31 18 240 3 V. TESTAVERDE, Buccaneers 21 16 237 3 R. CUNNINGHAM, Eagles 42 25 226 0

BIG PLAYS

Jerry Robinson returned an interception five yards for a touchdown and Terry McDaniel scooped up a fumble and returned it 42 yards for a score to lead the Raiders to a 14-9 victory over Denver.

Dan Marino scrambled before finding Tony Paige for a seven-yard touchdown pass play with 1:46 remaining that lifted the Miami Dolphins to a 27-24 victory at New England.

Anthony Blaylock, replacing holdout cornerback Frank Minnifield, scooped up a fumble by Merril Hoge and ran 30 yards for the first touchdown of his first career as the Cleveland Browns defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers, 13-3.

Alvin Walton returned an interception 57 yards for a touchdown and the Washington Redskins shut out the Pheonix Cardinals, 31-0.

Christian Okoye scored on a two-yard run with 2:14 remaining to give the Kansas City Chiefs a 24-21 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

IN QUOTES

Indianapolis rookie Jeff George drew rave reviews from Colt receiver Bill Brooks after Buffalo pulled away for a 26-10 victory. "That's what so amazing about him. You think he's been out there under regular game situations--and not preseason. He was calm, cool and collected."

Buffalo quarterback Jim Kelly on George: "I think he proved today that he is a top NFL quarterback. He's going to be a great one in the future."

George's own analysis: "We lost the game and that's the bottom line."

Tampa Bay quarterback Vinny Testaverde after passing for 202 yards and three touchdowns in the Buccaneers' 38-21 victory over division-foe Detroit: "It doesn't matter what the stats are or how many touchdown passes I threw. We won and that's what counts."

TOP RUSHERS

Player, Team Car. Yds. TD SAMMIE SMITH, Dolphins 23 159 1 NEAL ANDERSON, Bears 20 101 2 CHRISTIAN OKOYE, Chiefs 28 92 1 THURMAN THOMAS, Bills 20 84 1 BARRY SANDERS, Lions 14 79 1 GARY ANDERSON, Buccaneers 21 74 0 JOHN STEPHENS, Patriots 18 70 1 HERSCHEL WALKER, Vikings 14 68 0 JAMES BROOKS, Bengals 15 67 0 EARNEST BYNER, Redskins 17 63 0

INJURIES

Jeff George was sidelined when Buffalo linebacker Cornelius Bennett jolted him with a tremendous hit in the fourth quarter of the Bills' 26-10 victory.

George remained on the ground for about four minutes after Bennett slammed his head to the turf. George completed 13 of 24 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown.

In the Indianapolis locker room about an hour after the game, George felt the effects of his NFL debut: "I'm still a little bit dizzy right now," he told the Associated Press.

Cleveland Brown fullback Kevin Mack broke a bone in his left ring finger late in the first half after running for 45 yards in six carries and catching four passes for 24 yards against Pittsburgh. He will have the finger examined today, according to a team spokesman. Mack could return to action next week if a pin can be inserted into the broken bone. If not, Mack could be out for several weeks.

Free safety Thomas Everett of the Steelers left on a stretcher when he sustained a concussion and a lacerated forehead late in the second quarter after he was kicked while tackling Mack.

TOP RECEIVERS

Player, Team Rec. Yds. TD THURMAN THOMAS, Bills 9 61 0 AL TOON, Jets 8 118 2 HAYWOOD JEFFIRES, Oilers 7 80 0 PETE McKELLER, Bills 7 78 0 KEITH BYARS, Eagles 7 60 0 ROBERT CLARK, Lions 6 117 1 HENRY ELLARD, Rams 6 106 0 JOHNNY JOHNSON, Cardinals 6 99 0 RICKEY SANDERS, Redskins 6 90 1 FLIPPER ANDERSON, Rams 5 128 1

THREE'S COMPANY

Eric Green, the last unsigned first-round draft pick, came to terms with the Pittsburgh Steelers after an unlikely team effort.

Green's college coach, the son of Steeler President Dan Rooney and the team's personnel director combined to break an impasse in talks with the tight end out of Liberty University.

Green, according to published reports, signed for $2.36 million over four years and expects to begin practice Tuesday.

Green plans to fly to Pittsburgh today and will sign his contract if he passes a team physical.

The 6-foot-5, 275-pound Green, the 21st overall pick in last April's draft, reached terms several days after Coach Chuck Noll said, "He's not going to help us this year anyway. He's not going to know how to do it. This is a different league . . . it's not Division II or whatever he played in."

Green played for former Cleveland Brown coach Sam Rutigliano at Liberty, a Division I-AA school Lynchburg, Va.

The impasse was broken when Rutigliano, Rooney's son, Art Rooney II, a Pittsburgh attorney and player personnel director Dick Haley joined the talks.

Haley reportedly convinced Green the Steelers want him despite Noll's critical comments about rookie holdouts. Noll took a similar stance during Rod Woodson's three-month holdout in 1987, only to use him as a kick returner four days after he reached terms.

SIMPLE EXPLANATION

Quarterback Troy Aikman, looking for his first victory after 11 losses, made San Diego Coach Dan Henning pay dearly for a fake punt gamble as the Dallas Cowboys beat the Chargers, 17-14.

Aikman sneaked in from a yard out with 1:58 to play for the game-winner after Dallas stopped the fake punt on the Cowboys' 47-yard line.

Henning was distraught about losing a game which the Chargers seemingly had wrapped up.

"It was a dumb . . . mistake," Henning said. "I was hoping somebody would bail me out on it but it wasn't blocked correctly. I should have called it off. It's a disappointing loss, the kind I'll carry around a long time."

TONIGHT'S GAME The home-field advantage might not be all it's cracked up to be for new Orleans in he season opener at the Superdome.

San Francisco quarterback Joe Montana is 7-0 against the Saints at the Superdome, where the 49ers also defeated the Denver Broncos in the 1990 Super Bowl, 55-10.

The 49ers are 28-11-2 against the Saints, including two-game sweeps the last two years. The 49ers won the Super Bowl each of those years.

The Saints have some strong numbers of their own behind quarterback John Fourcade, who started the final three games of 1989 when Bobby Herbert was benched.

New Orleans was 3-0 with Fourcade, defeating two playoff-bound teams--Buffalo and Philadelphia--and crushing Indianapolis 41-6.

Fourcade, who wasn't drafted played in the Canadian Football League and the Arena Football League. The Saints cut him in 1986 before the exhibition season, but he returned in 1987 during the strike.

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