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Morning Briefing

Sometimes, It's How You Don't Play the Game

December 17, 1987

Have you seen that commercial for a video football game in which Jimmy Johnson of Miami beats Barry Switzer of Oklahoma?

Johnson confesses he didn't really win.

Not only that, he said: "Honestly, I've never played the game. But it looked interesting. It looked like a game you should play."

You can see the manufacturers saying, "Thanks a load, Jimmy."

From Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe: "The Blue Jays were happy to lose pitcher Joe Johnson, drafted by the Angels. Toronto officials felt Johnson got carried away with his born again ideas and was a damaging influence in the clubhouse."

Tom Verducci of Newsday, on newest Dodger Mike Davis: "He is regarded as a liability defensively; his .942 fielding percentage was the worst in baseball among 114 outfielders who played at least 50 games."

Trivia Time: Why wasn't Buck Johnson, who wears No. 1 for the Houston Rockets, allowed to wear that number at Alabama? (Answer below.)

How-times-have-changed Dept.: They used to tell you that tall players were at a disadvantage at the free throw line, and they pointed to all those misses by Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell as evidence, but the latest NBA statistics would indicate it was a bum theory.

The top three in free throw percentage are 7-foot Jack Sikma, 6-9 Larry Bird and 6-11 Bill Laimbeer.

Add Sikma: In nine seasons at Seattle and one at Milwaukee, he always was listed at 6-11, but unaccountably the NBA Register this year lists him at 7-0.

Still growing at 32?

Xavier McDaniel of the Seattle SuperSonics, on Kiki Vandeweghe of the Portland Trail Blazers: "He might not rebound or play defense, but he can flat-out shoot. Some days he has you talking to yourself."

Richard Dent of the Chicago Bears, asked what kind of a woman he'd like to marry, told the Chicago Tribune: "An independent person that has goals, like myself. Looks and all those other things, well, I don't want nobody ugly. I don't want nobody that looks worse than me."

Ernie Accorsi, Cleveland Browns vice president, on Buffalo rookie Cornelius Bennett: "He's the best outside linebacker to come into the league since Lawrence Taylor."

Pittsburgh Steelers guard Brian Blankenship, on Seattle Seahawks linebacker Brian Bosworth, the Oklahoma star who signed an $11-million contract for 10 years: "He's more like an $11 football player."

When the Steelers played the Seahawks, Blankenship ripped off a two-foot tail Bosworth had attached to his helmet.

"It was a neo-Nazi thing," Blankenship told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "It was sticking out of the back of his helmet like a rat tail. And he is a little rat."

Asked if he saved the rat tail, Blankenship said, "I threw it away with all the other trash. Man, you don't keep trash around. It was Bosworth's--it ain't worth nothin'."

Note: Blankenship went to Nebraska.

Trivia Answer: In college basketball, Nos. 1 and 2 aren't allowed because officials use those numbers to signal how many foul shots a player is awarded.

Quotebook

Quarterback Don Strock of the Miami Dolphins, after being surrounded by reporters following a game in which he relieved Dan Marino: "I don't think I've been asked this many questions since my mother caught me drinking in high school."

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