Pounding the sports beat, with Matt Millen's helmet . . . If the Chicago Bears' sack-happy defense really does have a bounty on opposing quarterbacks, as Bear cornerback Mike Richardson indicated earlier this season, they'll change strategy Sunday. Instead of a reward for putting the quarterback out of the game, the cash will go to anyone who tackles Dieter Brock and keeps him in the game. The soft sack will be the order of the day.
Where have all the hoopsters gone? East, apparently. The latest AP and UPI polls have only one team west of the Rockies in their top 20--Nevada Las Vegas, rated 12th. Going even deeper, USA Today's top 25 also featured only UNLV. This is embarrassing. Thank goodness for Tark the Shark.
Maybe the West has fallen behind in cheating to recruit top high school players. Or do you believe Al McGuire, who says reports of college cheating are "overexaggerated." It's more likely those reports are underexaggerated.
Almost overlooked in the rush to ridicule New England Patriots' general manager Pat Sullivan after his silly sideline performance Sunday against the Raiders is the fact that the Patriots won the game. Maybe Pat was the team's 12th man. Will the Rams plant Georgia Frontiere on the sidelines Sunday, to taunt the Refrigerator?
Actually, the Sullivan and Sullivan (Pat's dad owns the team) sideline act has to be an embarrassment to the Patriot players. Even if you're an emotional football player, you like to hang on to the illusion that your team's owner and general manager have attained an emotional maturity beyond the grade-school level.
Picture Peter O'Malley leaning over the visitors' dugout, screaming insults at Pete Rose.
The East is the home of breeding and class. So how do you explain the Sullivans, George Steinbrenner, Red Auerbach and Harold Katz, owner of the Philadelphia 76ers?
When the Lakers shipped Norm Nixon to the Clippers three seasons ago, former NBA forward Kermit Washington told me, "This is going to shorten Nixon's career. It's a lot tougher, a lot more draining, to play for a losing team than for a team like the Lakers."
Now Nixon, who never shot below 46% in his NBA life, has slipped to 39%, and his scoring average is down about five points from last season.
Rumor has it that the Knicks want Nixon. Would Nixon want to team up with Patrick Ewing and Bernard King in the Big Apple? Did King Kong want to team up with Fay Wray?
So it turns out that Eric Dickerson is smarter than the average football player. He rests up early in the season, skipping the first few games, gets a raise, plays his way into shape, and hits peak form right at playoff time.
If Dickerson was running last Saturday the same way he ran all season, as he insists, I'll eat my word processor. For one thing, the devastating Dickerson straight-arm was back.
Hunch bet: Rams over Bears. Three reasons: Dickerson can run on the Bears; he's done it before. Walter Payton can be stopped by the Rams; they've done it before. Dieter Brock can't play as badly as he did last Sunday.
After Pat (the Wimp of Foxboro) Sullivan's father jokingly said he wouldn't accept President Reagan's congratulatory phone call if the Patriots win the Super Bowl, Pat jokingly said he (Pat) would. This is class, because Pat, a staunch Democrat, must have been tempted to stand on the sidewalk outside the White House and scream taunts into the Oval Office.
Good timing awards: As the Rams went into the playoffs, Dieter Brock's agent went public with criticism of John Robinson's offense. As the Bears went into the playoffs, Richard Dent's agent went public with a threat to have Dent boycott the Super Bowl if he didn't get more money.
Too bad the Clippers aren't as exciting and aggressive as the team's TV and newspaper ad campaign. Maybe Don Chaney should force Benoit Benjamin to watch a few of those TV ads, to get the kid fired up. It might at least inspire Benjamin to show up for team flights and practices.
When Bob (Butterbean) Love played for the Chicago Bulls, he missed a workout one cold Chicago day. Love phoned the team office to report that his car wouldn't start.
"Must be an epidemic," said another Bull. "Bob's got six cars."
Coach Dick Motta benched Love the next game, saying, "I figure if Love's car doesn't start, neither should he."