Kickers have decided a lot of NFL games this season, but if Denver Bronco linebacker Karl Mecklenburg had his way, he would give them all the boot.
“I’ve always maintained that football would be a lot more fun if they just eliminated all the kicking and punting,” Mecklenburg said. “It just seems kind of strange to me that you’re out there killing yourself for 60 minutes and them some guy with no dirt on his uniform comes in to kick the ball and decide the game.”
Alex Karras, the former all-pro defensive lineman for the Detroit Lions, had such disdain for kickers that he once said he wouldn’t even shower with them.
Trivia time: Which Big Ten school last won a national championship in football?
Holtz’s hokum: Art Spander of the San Francisco Examiner recalled this quote from Notre Dame Coach Lou Holtz before his team played Stanford: “We’re not in the national championship race at all. We’re fleeing for our lives. All we want to do is survive each and every week and have someone fall on a hand grenade to save the group.”
Stanford obligingly fell on the grenade Saturday as “fleeing” Notre Dame remained unbeaten with a 48-20 victory.
Did the train stop? The Pittsburgh Steelers have had some legendary carousers, Bobby Layne being one of the most notorious. There was also Johnny Blood.
Alan Robinson of the Associated Press recalled that Blood “once pulled his car directly into the path of the team train that he’d missed during a late night of wine, women and song. He wasn’t even fined, or suspended--after all, he was the coach.”
Add Blood: His name really wasn’t Blood, it was McNally. In his college days, though, he and a friend decided to play with a semi-pro team, using phony names. Passing a theater marquee, he noticed that the movie playing was “Blood and Sand.”
“That’s it,” he said to his friend. “I’ll be Blood and you can be Sand.”
Damn Yankees: Cricket traditionalists are outraged in London; they have put a diamond in the Oval.
“I have some shocking news,” Robert Vincent said on London radio. “If you’re a cricket fan, you, too, might be outraged and shocked when you discover what is planned. The hallowed turf of the Oval is going to have alien people playing a different game.”
The aliens are from the United States. The game is baseball.
Wyche’s world: Greg Cote of the Miami Herald on Coach Sam Wyche of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: “Not unlike (Jerry) Glanville, Wyche’s eccentricities wear thin. He is a free spirit, unpredictable. If you are that and win, they call you a genius. If you are that and lose, they call you a nut.”
Trivia answer: Ohio State in 1968.
Quotebook: Dan Reeves, who was hired to coach the New York Giants after two others had turned the job down: “I was my mother’s third choice, too.”