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Morning Briefing

And Now, the Best Is . . .

November 11, 1986

It had to happen. Three days after Sports Illustrated anointed him as the greatest quarterback in the game, John Elway came up with a clinker at Mile High Stadium as San Diego shocked Denver, 9-3.

Meanwhile, the New York Jets were bombing the Atlanta Falcons, 28-14, and Barry Wilner of the Associated Press wrote: "It now can be said with conviction: Ken O'Brien of the New York Jets is the best quarterback in the NFL."

Add O'Brien: His greatest attribute, according to Coach Joe Walton, is his mental toughness.

"I've been around a lot of tough, smart guys who won even though they couldn't throw the football that well," Walton told the New York Times. "Billy Kilmer with the Redskins, Fran Tarkenton with the Giants, they didn't have a lot of physical ability, they did it by being tough and smart. But in addition to being tough and smart, Kenny can throw the football."

Receiver Wesley Walker put it more succinctly: "I never had a quarterback before as capable of chucking that rock."

Just Asking: With Jim Plunkett, Marcus Allen, Tony Dorsett and Herschel Walker playing Sunday at Texas Stadium, didn't that set an NFL record for most Heisman Trophy winners appearing in one game?

It could have happened in the USFL last year when Jacksonville had Archie Griffin and Mike Rozier, and New Jersey had Walker and Doug Flutie, but Griffin was released before the teams met.

Trivia Time: Who was the last NBA scoring champion to play for a championship team? (Answer below.)

From Maurice Lucas, well-traveled forward of the Seattle SuperSonics: "It's funny, people always ask me, 'How do you feel about being traded? This is your eighth team.' I always say, 'Hell, there are 23 teams. I'm not through yet.' "

Add Sonics: Said Xavier McDaniel to teammate Clemon Johnson after going 6 for 15 against the Lakers: "I'm going home and going straight to sleep. If I dream, I'll dream about shooting myself . . . but I'll probably miss."

Would-you-believe-it dept.: Bernie Kosar, playing his second season for the Cleveland Browns, is younger than Vinny Testaverde, the man who succeeded him as the quarterback at the University of Miami. Testaverde turns 23 Thursday, 12 days before Kosar.

Said Oklahoma Coach Barry Switzer when asked about Saturday's game against Colorado: "I think Colorado has the best kicking game in the country."

Supply your own punch line.

The way some New York papers are telling it, Hubie Brown's days with the Knicks are numbered. It comes as no surprise to ex-Knick Darrell Walker, now of the Denver Nuggets.

Walker, who spent most of his time in Brown's doghouse, had this to say after helping Denver beat New York recently:

"He's worried about his job. I hope we put another nail in his coffin tonight. Hubie's always hollering and screaming after the game. It's like Hitler, man, I'm telling you. It seems they're not playing with any enthusiasm. I think they want some new life, I really do. They're just tired of playing for him."

Trivia Answer: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the Milwaukee Bucks in 1970-71.


Dave Combs of WCMF in Rochester, N.Y., on the mounted police at Shea Stadium for the final game of the World Series: "The Mets do everything right. They protected their playing surface and fertilized it at the same time."

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