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THE INSIDE TRACK | THE HOT CORNER

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

December 17, 1996|MIKE PENNER

What: Topps NFL CybrCard (a CD-ROM)

Price: $19.95

"The First CD-ROM Trading Card" is not a card, nor is it likely to be traded, not at $20 a pop. "Collect The Whole Set," as the packaging eagerly advises? Topps has released 28 of these. You can collect the whole set, or you can buy season tickets and watch your favorite NFL stars in person.

However, if you're a fan of, say, Troy Aikman, CybrCard delivers most of what it promises, and it promises a lot. Film clips, biography, newspaper clippings, wired-for-sound outtakes, scouting reports, statistical analysis, trivia quiz, a make-your-own-card photo lab-- CybrScrapbook would be a more appropriate title.

Also included, for no apparent reason other than laughs, are "legendary words of football wisdom" from the likes of Sam Rutigliano, Bill Peterson, Bum Phillips and Sam Wyche as they address the troops before kickoff.

Phillips: "Relax. It ain't life and death out there. . . . Do everything as good as you can--and then do a little more."

Peterson, sounding as if he liked to psych up before games listening to the Doors: "We're gonna explode like a bomb . . . Second quarter, we're gonna go high. Third quarter, we're gonna get higher. Fourth quarter, just catch on fire."

There are a few bugs. The Aikman CD-ROM I inspected was plagued by halting, garbled audio ("Aik-errrrrr-man on first and goal from the two! Still errrrrrrrrunning!") and it took seven attempts to produce the advertised do-it-yourself card of Aikman.

But, if you need to know how Aikman fared on second-down passes, with three or more wide receivers, on artificial turf, while leading in the second half against 1995 playoff opponents, CybrCard has it. (He was three for four for 27 yards. Don't tell Mike Holmgren or George Seifert, though.)

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