Former NFL Boss Had Early Practice in Art of Hyperbole

In late spring of 1944, the Long Beach Press-Telegram sports section ran the headline: “Compton Grids Plan Tilt with St. Mary’s.”

The story began: “Plans near completion for next fall’s Compton J.C. football eleven include battles with big-name coast service teams and four-year colleges as far east as Kansas, it was learned this week. Compton has announced repeatedly that it intends to carry out a full sports program next year and this new information makes it appear most certain that the jaysee (sic) will step into a class with the country’s smaller universities and colleges.”

The writer, who evidently knew how to handle a major sporting event, happened to be a young publicist for the junior college--a guy named Alvin Rozelle.

Later known as Pete.


Add Rozelle: His story continued: “Topping the list of coast colleges that may hook up with the Tartars is Jimmy Phelan’s St. Mary’s Gael squad. The Moraga Valley team is waiting until after the Pacific Coast Conference confab in Hood, Ore., June 10, to see how their schedule will shape up. Compton is angling for a home contest with the Phelanmen on a Sunday afternoon, which, if arranged, would probably be the biggest home gridiron encounter in the history of Tartarville.”

Last add Rozelle: The game never came off, no doubt to the disappointment of all Tartarville. The depleted Phelanmen, or “St. Mary’s Pre-Flight” as they were known during World War II, went 0-5 in 1944, scoring 14 points.

Trivia time: Name the five players who have been voted to the postseason NBA all-star first team 10 times.

Dream on: Excerpts from Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Dan Barriero’s 52-item wish list for 1991:


“The Colorado football team is given only three downs on its first possession of the new season. . . .

“Bruce Dern hijacks another blimp and blows up the Bud Bowl. . . .

“The U.S. Supreme Court rules that fantasy baseball leagues are unconstitutional. . . .

“A black athlete is given credit for being a blue-collar player.”

The underground game: Western New Yorkers can play a special role during and after today’s AFC championship game between the Raiders and Buffalo.

Especially if they don’t mind missing a few plays.

Pointing to water flow charts during last Saturday’s Buffalo-Miami playoff game, Erie County Water Authority supervisor George Markel told the Associated Press: “See how nice and high the pressure was at the kickoff? Now see these here? Those are four- to six-pound pressure drops, and they coincide exactly with commercial breaks during the game.”

When the game ended, there was a 25% pressure drop and then a corresponding surge. Markel said that fans waiting until after the game to use the toilet may have been responsible for splitting an eight-inch water main in suburban Amherst.


Sport in the 90s: In a recent telephone poll, the Miami Herald asked the question: “Was the University of Miami football team’s behavior appropriate in the Cotton Bowl?” (The Hurricanes drew 202 yards in penalties, largely called for excessive taunting.)

Those responding voted yes by a margin of 4,572 to 1,150.

One voter, Lalo Fernandez of Hialeah, Fla., put it this way: “The Hurricanes are frighteningly powerful. Their youthful exuberance explodes over the football field and apparently sinks a deep fear into the hearts of their opponents. I’ll take them over opera any day.”

Trivia answer: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Bob Cousy, Bob Pettit and Jerry West.

Quotebook: Harvard basketball Coach Pete Roby, on recruiting: “If I ask a kid how he did on his boards and he says, ‘Twelve a game,’ I know he’s not coming to Harvard.”