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Morning Briefing

Theismann Settles for Being a Double Threat

October 01, 1985

If Sammy Baugh could do it, why not Joe Theismann? Maybe that was the thinking of Washington Redskin Coach Joe Gibbs when he called upon Theismann to punt Sunday after regular punter Jeff Hayes was injured.

Baugh, as the Redskin quarterback in 1940, set a still-standing NFL record by averaging 51 yards per punt. On Sunday at Soldier Field, Theismann came up a little short--50 yards to be exact. That's right, his punt traveled exactly one yard.

That gave the ball to the Chicago Bears on the Washington 14. The Bears scored on the next play to take a 14-10 lead. From there, the Bears poured it on to win, 45-10.

Theismann entered the game rated next-to-last in the NFL in passing. He emerged from the game rated last in punting.

Of his one-yarder, he said: "They told me to kick it right, and I did. Dead right."


Add Redskins: Of the team's 1-3 record, Gary Pomerantz of the Washington Post wrote: "History doesn't help the Redskins. Since the 16-game NFL schedule was begun in 1978, 39 teams have started the season with 1-3 records. Only three of them revived to make the playoffs."

Trivia Time: Who was the only man to play in Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series, Rocky Colavito's four-homer game in 1959 and Willie Mays' four-homer game in 1961? (Answer below.)

53 Years Ago Today: On Oct. 1, 1932, Babe Ruth hit his famous called-shot home run against Charlie Root of the Chicago Cubs in the World Series.

Did the Babe really call his shot?

The Spalding Official Baseball Guide of 1933 makes no mention of it. It says: "Sewell had been put out of the way as the fifth inning started and the next batter was Ruth, who drove the ball out of the park in center field, the longest home run of the series."

However, the Official World Series Records, published later by The Sporting News, says: "In the fifth inning of the third game, with Charlie Root pitching, Ruth in pantomime, pointed to the most distant part of Wrigley Field, took two deliberate strikes, and then hit a homer to the bleacher to which he had pointed."

Peter Thomson of Australia, leading money winner on the Seniors golf tour, told Golf Digest of his travels around the world: "I was charmed by the customs of Japan, fascinated by the tastes and smells of China, stunned by the poverty of India, thrilled by the green hills of Africa and revolted by the tourist traps of Europe."

How come Grambling Coach Eddie Robinson has never accepted an offer to coach in the NFL?

Says Conway Hayman, coach of the Prairie View team that meets Grambling next: "He has 50 kids who weigh over 250 pounds. That's why he never left Grambling."

Howard Cosell, in TV Guide, says he's got the perfect cure for what's ailing Monday Night Football. It's named Bill Cosby.

"He'd really shake things up, make people take notice," Cosell says. "A former college football player and an avid sports enthusiast, he knows what he's talking about. What's more, he's a brilliant communicator, and his performing skills are above reproach."

Trivia Answer: Billy Martin. He was a teammate of Larsen with the New York Yankees and of Colavito with the Cleveland Indians. He played for the Milwaukee Braves against Mays of the San Francisco Giants.


Cleveland outfielder George Vukovich, shouting to the Milwaukee bullpen during a game at Municipal Stadium: "Don't tear the spider webs down. That's what's holding the stadium up."

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