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Morning Briefing

Difference in '79 Was Stallworth

January 22, 1986

Bud Carson, defensive coordinator for the New York Jets, held the same job with the Rams in 1979, and he still has nightmares over the 31-19 loss to Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XIV.

"We had the perfect game plan,"said Carson, who formerly had been an assistant for the Steelers. "But we blew a coverage on John Stallworth in the fourth quarter and that was the difference."

The Rams were leading, 19-17, in the third quarter when Nolan Cromwell dropped what seemed a sure interception that could have made it 26-17. A little later, Terry Bradshaw hit Stallworth on a 73-yard touchdown pass to put the Steelers ahead to stay.

Bradshaw, who was voted the most valuable player of the game despite having thrown three interceptions, told the New York Times this week: "I just couldn't get anything going. They knew our plays, they had our offensive codes and our line codes, our wide receiver codes and so on. I kinda felt like I was practicing against my own team.

"Plus, they had a movie out called 'Heaven Can Wait' with Warren Beatty. It was about the Steelers losing to the Rams. They ran that movie every night, and like a fool I'd sit there and watch it. I said, 'Holy mackerel, this is just something in the works here for us to lose this game.'

"Then we almost did. I really felt kinda helpless. It was probably my worst game."

Add Bradshaw: Asked to pick a winner in Sunday's game, he went with the favorite. "As good as New England is," he said, "I don't look for a letdown in Chicago's excellence, especially their defense against the run and their pressure against the pass.

"On offense, Jim McMahon is more than a character--big games seem to excite him rather than scare him. All things considered, it points to Chicago winning the game."

Trivia Time: Name a player who played on teams that won the national college championship and the Super Bowl championship in successive years at the Louisiana Superdome. (Answer below.)

What's-in-a-name dept.: In a game of Roman numerals, you'd have to say New England has the most aptly named quarterback. It's Charles Carroll Eason IV. You can call him Tony.

The Numbers Game: Jim McMahon will be the first quarterback to wear No. 9 in the Super Bowl. Tony Eason will be the second starter to wear No. 11. Joe Kapp wore No. 11 for Minnesota in 1970 when the Vikings lost to Kansas City, 23-7.

The winningest number is No. 12. Terry Bradshaw won with it four times, Bob Griese twice, Roger Staubach twice, Joe Namath once and Ken Stabler once, for a total of 10. No. 16 is a five-time winner, with Jim Plunkett and Joe Montana each winning twice, and Len Dawson once. No. 15 is a three-time winner, with Bart Starr winning twice and Earl Morrall once. No. 7 is a one-time winner, with Joe Theismann.

Former Denver Bronco Coach Red Miller, recalling when the New England Patriots built a new stadium, told Joseph Sanchez of the Denver Post: "They had just opened the thing a couple of weeks earlier, and the plumbers had made a mistake, putting the urinals too high. I was with Baltimore and we had Don Nottingham, the guy they called the Human Bowling Ball. He was a short, little, stocky guy and he had to go to the bathroom, so Bubba Smith and Tom Matte picked him up so he could go. Everybody else had to stand on their tiptoes."

Trivia Answer: Tony Dorsett. He led the University of Pittsburgh to a 27-3 win over Georgia in the 1977 Sugar Bowl, and he helped Dallas beat Denver, 27-10, in the 1978 Super Bowl.


Golf teacher Phil Rodgers, confessing he didn't miss many parties during his years on the tour: "Some mornings I didn't really warm up--just hit enough putts to see what frequency my nerves were on."

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