It hasn't been the best of years for the NFL's family of Bays: Tampa (2-13), Green (7-8) and San Francisco (9-6). Tampa, in fact, had expected to have the Bottom Ten title wrapped up by now. But the crumpled Buccaneers are still tied with Buffalo (2-13).
So it all comes down to the last weekend. All the previous fumbles, interceptions and missed tackles won't mean a thing unless Tampa can lose big to rival Bay, Green. The pressure's on because the crumpled Bills should have no trouble falling under the cleats of Miami (Fla.) (11-4).
Aside from the Bays, it's also been a rough year for the coaching Campbells: Houston's Hugh and Philadelphia's Marion, both of whom were fired. Both teams contacted Kelly Guys and found temporaries.
Houston's replacement, Jerry Glanville (0-1), doesn't know whether he'll break Chuck Studley's club record for shortest coaching reign (10 games). But Glanville said he isn't worried, explaining: "I've got one of the best coach's wives in the business . . . and I belong to a hell of a church."
Team, Record Last Loss Next Loss 1. Buffalo (2-13) 24-30, Pitt Miami (Fla.) Tampa Bay (2-13) 23-31, Indy Green Bay 3. St. Louis (5-10) 14-46, Anaheim Washington 4. Kan. City (5-10) 13-14, Denver San Diego 5. Atlanta (3-12) Def. Minn., 14-13 New Orleans
6. Houston (5-10); 7. Indianapolis (4-11); 8. Philadelphia (6-9); 9. Old Orleans (under Bum Phillips) (4-8); 10. New Orleans (under Son of Bum) (1-2).
Wild card: Green Bay (7-8) or Minnesota (7-8).
CRUMMY GAME OF THE WEEK: Green Bay (7-8) at Tampa Bay (2-13) or Atlanta (3-12) at New Orleans (5-10) (check area listings).
THE TAMPA BAY SOLUTION: Gripes about loud fans jamming the signals of quarterbacks are common this year. Tampa Bay solved that problem with its brand of football. The Buccaneers drew 25,577, their smallest crowd ever at home, against Indianapolis Sunday.
With all but 23 or so teams eliminated from contention for the NFL playoffs, it's time to get ready for that "Rocky" of sports sequels: Super Bowl XX.
The game's recent routs, including the 49ers' 38-16 win and the Raiders' 38-9 win, have raised the old controversy: Shouldn't the pros adopt the colleges' idea of a mythical ranking system rather than one-sided playoffs?
Oh well. In the meantime, let's reprise the 10 all-time Super Bowl lowlights as voted by Bottom Ten selectors:
I--Miami kicker Garo Yepremian's 8-inch pass is intercepted by Redskins and returned 49 yards for touchdown (1973).
II--Jimmy (The Greek) Snyder picks Baltimore by 17 over New York (now New Jersey) Jets. Final: Jets 16, Colts 7 (1969).
III--Miami's Don Shula tries slant-in pass suggested by President Richard Nixon. It falls incomplete and is impeached from Dolphins' playbook (1972).
IV--Roman numerals are first attached to game, Super Bowl V; Sylvester Stallone notices (1971).
V--Baltimore and Dallas combine for 11 fumbles, interceptions. Columnist Dick Young suggests outstanding player of the game be awarded a used De Soto (1971).
VI--Kansas City's Fred Williamson predicts his "Hammer" forearm smash will punish Packers. He's carried off field on a stretcher (1967).
VII--Jimmy (The Greek) Snyder rebounds from Colts' fiasco to pick Minnesota by 13 over Kansas City next year. Minnesota loses, 23-7. Snyder never makes another prediction (1970).
VIII--After Vikings' loss, owner Max Winter says Super Bowl should be best-of-three series. He's told there aren't enough Roman numerals (1970).
IX--Joe Theismann's Yepremian-like screen pass is intercepted, run back five yards for touchdown by Raiders (1984).
X--Term Super Bowl is adopted by league. One NFL owner, Lamar Hunt, discloses name was brainstorm of his son, age 8 (1967).