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The NFL : '85 Chiefs Went Punt, Punt, Punt

January 05, 1986|MIKE RABUN | United Press International

Notes from around the National Football League:

Buried within the vast amout of numbers piled up this year are some obscure points of trivia.

The Kansas City Chiefs led the NFL this season with 95 punts, an indication of why they were one of the major disappointments in the league. That total, however, is well short of the record of 114 posted by the Chicago Bears in 1981.

The Houston Oilers were the runaway leader in drawing penalty flags. Houston had 1,150 yards stepped off against them, almost 200 more than the second-place Buffalo Bills. The 1969 Oakland Raiders hold the record for that sort of thing--1,274.

Chicago also was unchallenged when it came to returning interceptions. The Bears brought their 34 interceptions back for 512 yards. Only three other teams managed more than 300 yards in that department. San Diego, however, has a record in interception returns that will likely not be threatened for some time. The Chargers returned interceptions for 929 yards in 1961.

There were five punts returned for touchdowns during the 1985 season--two by New England. There were six kickoffs returned for touchdowns--half of them by Ron Brown of the Rams. Only seven players in the history of the NFL have returned more kickoffs for scores during the course of their entire career than Brown did in a single season.

There is speculation among those close to the New England Patriots that Raymond Berry will not make a long career of coaching in the NFL.

Berry appeared drained beyond normal proportions after the Patriots' wild card victory over the New York Jets and the feeling is that he will not submit to such torture for more than a few years--particularly if New England should make a trip to the Super Bowl sometime soon.

Coaching these days, indeed, takes a lot out of a person.

Former Raiders coach and current television analyst John Madden made a remark not long ago about Dallas coach Tom Landry which says a lot about why Landry has been able to last 26 years in such a tough business.

"Tom truly has been able to forget about things he can't do anything about," Madden said. "Like referees. Others have a hard time doing that."

Green Bay has finished 8-8 four of the last five seasons (going 5-3-1 in the strike year of 1982) and coach Forrest Gregg says it is not impossible that averageness has become acceptable to some of his players.

"Maybe so," said Gregg. "That may be a situation that we have to consider, because it has happened a few times now. Some people play great when the pressure is off while others play well no matter when."

Gregg said one of his major decisions during the off-season would concern the quarterback spot.

"Our quarterback thing was a problem all year long," he said. "Never once did I go into a ballgame feeling secure about the position."

A recent poll taken by the NFL Players Assn. named the playing surface in Tampa Stadium as the best in the league. The Orange Bowl in Miami, Mile High Stadium in Denver, the Los Angeles Coliseum and Anaheim Stadium were the next four. All have natural playing surfaces.

The Astrodome, which has a field often compared with a parking lot, was named the worst.

The Cowboys-Rams playoff meeting Saturday marked the eighth time the two teams had met in post-season play. No other teams have faced each other more times in the playoffs. Miami has played in five AFC championship games and won them all. Thirteen NFL teams have never played in the Super Bowl and four of them--New England, Chicago, Cleveland and the New York Giants -- made it into the Super Bowl chase this year.

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