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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO / RANDY HARVEY

Delay of Decision Would Be Worse Than Delay of Game

February 04, 1997|RANDY HARVEY

NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue toured Jack Murphy Stadium on Monday to discover what he already knew: If San Diego can't guarantee at least $60 million of the $78 million required to expand and improve the stadium by the Feb. 20 trial, the Super Bowl scheduled there next Jan. 25 will be moved.

Into the possible void has leaped Mayor Richard Riordan, offering the Coliseum as an alternate site.

If that's a goodwill gesture to inform the NFL that the Coliseum is ready in a crisis, then I suppose it might pay dividends when Los Angeles' promised team of the future seeks a home. But if Riordan's intention is to compete with the Rose Bowl, he's guilty of sabotaging the effort to keep the game in Southern California.

The Rose Bowl is the NFL's preferred candidate for a number of reasons, foremost among them that it fulfills the requirement of providing luxury boxes, and is a solid favorite should San Diego falter.

If the NFL perceives, however, that various city and county government officials and private sector movers and shakers necessary to organize such a massive event in such a short time are divided, the league will look elsewhere.

With only 22 months to put on the 1993 Super Bowl at the Rose Bowl after Tempe, Ariz., lost it, David Simon, president of the L.A. Sports Council, said this week that the host committee barely raised the $4 million from private sources needed to satisfy the NFL's demands.

There are only 11 months between Tagliabue's deadline for San Diego and Super Bowl XXXII. It is vitally important for those involved with bringing the game here to unite behind the Rose Bowl.

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I'd like to say something nice about NFL owners who hired head coaches since their seasons ended. They can't be accused of ageism. . . .

Racism, now that's another matter. . . .

More advice to Del Harris: When asked anything about Michael Jordan before Wednesday night's game at the Forum against the Bulls, the correct answer is, "No comment." . . .

When George Karl said Jordan is playing more conservatively this year, choosing his spots before driving the lane, it wasn't anything M.J. hasn't said before. But Jordan didn't want to hear it from anyone else, lighting up Seattle for 45 points. Touchy, touchy. . . .

How about this for the Laker blackboard? "Seattle is pretty much the best team in the West," Jordan says. . . .

At least Nick Van Exel was honest when he said it would be difficult for the Lakers not to look past the Clippers tonight at the Pond. But does he know the game has playoff implications? If postseason play started today, the Lakers and Clippers would meet in the first round. . . .

Cal State Fullerton did just fine in its first baseball games without Augie Garrido, giving Coach George Horton two victories in three games last weekend against No. 1 Stanford. . . .

Garrido? His Texas Longhorns also are 2-1 after winning Monday against Texas Arlington. . . .

I guess UCLA's loss to Tulsa in Steve Lavin's first game as head coach wasn't so bad after all. The Golden Hurricane is 17-5. . . .

The six teams that have beaten UCLA have a combined record of 85-18. . . .

Rod Carew will receive the first Bob Chandler Courage Award on Friday night at Pasadena's Ritz Carlton Huntington Hotel. Proceeds from the event benefit Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times and the Bob Chandler Athletic Scholarship at USC. . . .

Also Friday night, the Rev. O.C. Smith, best known for his hit single "Little Green Apples," has enlisted Diane Schur, Ray Bailey, B.J. Sharp and others for a night of jazz, blues, gospel and comedy at Los Angeles' City of Angels Church. They are raising money for Team HEAL, which provides Crenshaw and Dorsey high schools with athletic training equipment and medical support. . . .

Cuba Gooding Jr., who plays wide receiver Rod Tidwell in the movie "Jerry Maguire," got his start in the 1984 Summer Olympics--as a break dancer during the closing ceremony at the Coliseum. . . .

No coincidence: The Long Beach Ice Dogs quit playing the Macarena after a Nov. 10 loss. They have since won 18 consecutive home games. . . .

Forget about Jordan, Mark O'Meara and the investment banker-place kicker who earned $1 million at the Pro Bowl halftime. The sports performance of the weekend was University of Nebraska sophomore Jeremy Sonnenfeld's 900 series in bowling, disproving that all Cornhusker athletes are in the gutter.

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While wondering if Napoleon was thinking of Riddick Bowe when he said armies travel on their stomachs, I was thinking: Don Nelson sure has a tough choice, continue his vacation-retirement in Maui or return to run the Dallas Mavericks' front office.

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