The Raiders will need all the help they can get Sunday from Bo Jackson, the all-round athlete who is at his best against Cincinnati at the Coliseum. . . . His runs of 92 and 88 yards in the last two years are the longest and fourth longest in the history of the Raiders. . . .
I realize the odds were stacked in favor of the Bengals--playing at home in cold weather against a run-and-shoot offense directed by a second-string quarterback-- but rarely have they looked sharper than in their 41-14 rout of Houston. . . .
Coaching mismatch of the weekend: Washington’s Joe Gibbs vs. Philadelphia’s Buddy Ryan. . . .
Eagle owner Norman Braman ought to give Ryan the same vote of confidence Buddy gave Randall Cunningham in the third quarter Saturday. . . .
Best thing to happen to the Washington backfield was Earnest Byner’s fumble at Denver in the AFC championship game three seasons ago. Otherwise, Cleveland might never have traded him. . . .
The reversal of the fumble call on Byner showed why the instant replay rule should remain. But the rule that the ground can’t cause a fumble should go. . . .
The Official Story: Outcomes of a stretch of important games have been influenced by penalties--offsides against the Rams in New Orleans, clipping against Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl, holding against Kansas City in Miami and offsides against New Orleans in Chicago. . . .
Losing the coin toss was a blessing for the Bears, who got to face the Saints’ offense right away. . . .
Somebody should give referee Jerry Seeman’s microphone to Dick Vitale. . . .
Camera shots from behind the kicking team on field goal attempts are ineffective. We could tell that the kick by Kansas City’s Nick Lowery was straight enough, but not whether it was long enough.
It was nice to see Dan Marino work his magic in a playoff game again after a lengthy absence. . . .
Is Art Modell aware that Rod Rust is available? . . .
Whether he’s working with Pat Summerall or Verne Lundquist, John Madden is still the finest football commentator. . . .
I get cold in my living room watching games from Soldier Field on TV in January. . . .
Bob Costas shouldn’t have given Howie Long all that exposure on NBC at halftime of the Cincinnati-Houston game. Pretty soon, it might be “Late Night With Howie Long.” . . .
Bring back Archie Manning. . . .
Was Jerry Glanville rooting for Sam Wyche or Jack Pardee? . . .
Something has been missing from most of the postseason college and pro games-- excitement. . . .
Look-alikes: Boomer Easiason and Gary Busey. . . .
USC assistant coach Bobby April left for Ohio State, explaining that the Buckeyes represented “the pinnacle of coaching.” I guess that makes USC chopped liver. . . .
No matter the matchup, the atmosphere at the Rose Bowl is still the best on New Year’s Day.
Is there an NHL record Wayne Gretzky won’t break? . . .
Gary Grant played much better last season when he was paired with Ron Harper, but I think it’s time for the Clippers to trade for another point guard. . . .
The only Clipper untouchables should be Charles Smith and Harper. . . .
As he showed Saturday in Orlando, David Robinson is some sixth man. . . .
Rick Pitino would make a good NBA coach. Just think how much better a team like the Knicks would be with him. . . .
College basketball promoter-shoeman Sonny Vaccaro was named the 80th most influential person in sports by the Sporting News. However, Vaccaro is most proud of the $500,000 his promotions have raised for Comic Relief. Next up, Arizona versus Georgia Tech Feb. 17 at the Meadowlands. . . .
Arizona figured to lose at least one game in the Pac-10 this season, but not to Washington. . . .
Offensive rebounding often is a misleading statistic that simply means you’ve missed a lot of shots. . . .
Nevada Las Vegas might actually be more effective than it would have been with a healthy Ed O’Bannon and Shon Tarver. There wouldn’t have been enough playing minutes to go around and some bench sitters would have been unhappy. . . .
Big favor CBS did women’s college basketball, putting that doubleheader Saturday opposite the football playoffs on ABC. . . .
I wonder who was voted defensive player of the game in the Loyola Marymount-U.S. International game. . . .
UCLA wearing yellow is like the Yankees not wearing pinstripes.