To paraphrase that great Rodgers-Hammerstein musical, "The screens are alive with the sound of football!"
This is the weekend football fanatics have waited for since last season's bowl games. Regular season NFL football returns Sunday, Monday and again on Thursday. College football really gets rolling today too.
If you had a den equipped with monitors hooked up to all commercial and cable networks, you could take in six games today and five on Sunday.
But one set will do for pro fans, accustomed to taking in the usual doubleheader on Sundays. CBS leads off with the Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers vs. Minnesota Vikings game from Minneapolis. Channels 2 and 8 cover at 10 a.m. Dick Stockton and Wayne Walker report.
Less than a year ago, the 49ers annihilated the Vikes, 51-7. But Bud Grant has come out of retirement to again coach the Vikes, and his teams always gave the Niners of the John Brodie era a rough time. Despite an assortment of lingering preseason injuries affecting both teams, Joe Montana's (he's hurting too) gang are 11-point favorites.
Now, at 1 p.m.--and this may come as surprise, knowing that both the Raiders (vs. Jets) and Rams (vs. Broncos) are home with kickoffs at the same time--NBC has the San Diego Chargers vs. Buffalo Bills game on Channels 4, 36 and 39. Where's that old beef about hurting the gate if televising opposite a team playing at home?
The explanation has always been complicated because of all the "ifs" and "howevers" involved between the NFL, networks and local affiliates. Jay Strong, the KCBS-TV man in charge of what we see, confessed he still gets confused too.
"But Sunday, the bottom line is that whenever the Raiders or Rams are home, only one game can be carried on each network channel," he said. "Since NBC had first choice on this doubleheader day, with no sellout of the Raiders game (which would have been TVd), Channel 4 had the option of either an a.m. or p.m. game and chose the Chargers' afternoon game because of obvious local interest.
"We then picked a morning game to give fans at home two games to watch. Fortunately, the 49ers had scheduled an a.m. game."