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MIKE PENNER

Daring Men of the NFL

October 02, 1994|MIKE PENNER

ANAHEIM — This week in the NFL . . .

A hush falls over Anaheim Stadium as 39,000 seats remain empty. Oh, right, there's this, too: Ram safety Anthony Newman issues a challenge to Falcon receiver Andre Rison, daring him to "come over the middle." Rison nods, comes over the middle, makes a leaping one-handed grab behind Newman's left ear and scampers the rest of the way for a 74-yard touchdown play. Newman then dares Rison to "take off your helmet, catch the ball with your teeth and walk on your hands backward into the end zone." Rison nods, 66-yard touchdown play. Newman then dares Rison to "take the ball on a reverse pitch from George, throw it as far as you can, hit Marquez Pope in the head, grab the rebound like Franco Harris in '72 and turn cartwheels diagonally across the field to the right flag." Rison nods, 83-yard touchdown play. Ram Coach Chuck Knox immediately calls timeout and holds a press conference, denying Newman made any of those statements.

*

CINCINNATI--Don and Dave Shula coach against each other for the first time, with Don vowing to "treat this one like just another game." Mike Shula, looking out for brother Dave, nudges Dad and advises, "Better still, why not treat this one like just another AFC championship game?" Don pounds his fist on the table. "A splendid idea!" he cries, momentarily forgetting that he has not won an AFC championship game since 1984. Bengals, in an upset, 16-7.

*

CHICAGO--Caught up in the nostalgic wash of throwback fever, the Bears do a little research before their game with Buffalo and trace the lineage of their bread-and-butter running backs: Red Grange to Bronko Nagurski to George McAfee to Rick Casares to Gale Sayers to Walter Payton to Neal Anderson to Lewis Tillman. Undaunted, the Bears elect to play on.

*

TEMPE, Ariz.--With his Arizona Cardinals 0-3 and averaging 9.7 points per game, Buddy Ryan announces that Jay Schroeder will start at quarterback against the Vikings. Esquire magazine, amid public pressure, releases statement claiming, "If we said anything nice about Buddy in our October issue, anything at all, we take it back."

*

TAMPA--Looking for help at linebacker, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play host to the Detroit Lions, who are led by linebacker Broderick Thomas, who triggered the Lions' Monday night upset of Dallas by sacking Troy Aikman, forcing Aikman to fumble, recovering the fumble and setting up the game-winning field goal. Also, Thomas leads the Lions in sacks. Also, Thomas was released by Tampa Bay before the start of the regular season. "He didn't fit into our plans," explained Tampa Bay Coach Sam Wyche, whose team held Green Bay to 30 points and 401 yards last week. Trent Dilfer-Wayne Gandy update: Dilfer made his NFL debut against the Packers, completing five of 10 passes for 73 yards. Gandy still shagging baseballs for ageless Ram cleanup hitter Jackie Slater.

*

WASHINGTON, D.C.--Rookie quarterback Heath Shuler makes his first start for the Redskins against archrival Dallas, and Jimmy Johnson says he is still shocked, absolutely shocked that new Cowboys Coach Barry Switzer would skip a Saturday team meeting two weeks ago in order to watch his son play a college game for Missouri Southern. During a station break, Terry Bradshaw suggests that he and Johnson maybe pay a visit to that shopping mall by the studio and see about purchasing Johnson a life.

*

CLEVELAND--It's the Jets against the Browns! It's Jack Trudeau against Vinny Testaverde! It's a great day to watch a hockey game!

*

INDIANAPOLIS--Highlights of today's Colt-Seahawk game will be replayed thrice nightly, five nights a week, as ESPN plugs a hole in its hockey-lockout broadcasting schedule with an exciting new program, "Faulk2."

*

NEW ORLEANS--"As the undefeated New York Giants prepare to run their record to 4-0 against the New Orleans Saints, the once-proud metropolis of Denver, which used to be known for its Orange Crush defense and peerless command of the two-minute drill, casts all of its votes for the next NFL Coach of the Year . . . Dan Reeves."

*

FOXBORO, Mass.--Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre throws the ball 39 times, New England quarterback Drew Bledsoe goes up top 42 times and Bill Parcells hands his headset to an assistant, mutters "What the hell am I doing here?" and leaves the stadium at halftime.

*

PITTSBURGH--Having donated their throwback jerseys to Newcastle United of the English premier soccer league, the Steelers host Houston in a must-win Monday night game for the Oilers. Houston quarterback Bucky Richardson is expected to sit this one out, upgrading the Oilers' chances, but Las Vegas is already accepting wagers as to who arrives in Houston first should the Oilers fall to 1-4, Steve Beuerlein or Jimmy Johnson.

*

SAN FRANCISCO--Injury report for San Francisco-Philadelphia game lists cornerback Deion Sanders as "questionable." Down in Anaheim, Atlanta Falcon players glance up from their Sunday morning sports sections, stare at one another and say, "This is news?"

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