What if the NFL showcased itself abroad and a relatively sparse crowd attended, as in last weekend's Bear-Steeler exhibition in Dublin, Ireland, watched by 30,269?
This week's Gaelic football playoff game between Kildare and Meath--who would have played last weekend if the Americans hadn't been in town--is expected to draw 55,000.
"It's the same if we went to Coach [Bill] Cowher and said to him, 'We have a playoff game at Three Rivers Stadium, but we need to postpone it because there's a hurling game in there,' " Steeler owner Dan Rooney said.
"His first reaction would be, 'What in the world are you doing?' "
Last fall, Notre Dame played Navy in Dublin before 38,000, half of them American tourists. Dubliners didn't get it then or now.
"There's too much stopping and standing around, and it goes on for too long," said 21-year-old Kieran Culhine, watching a Steeler practice. "It's mostly about brute strength and possession, and I've never seen so many coaches."
Shouldn't have asked: An Irish sportscaster wanted to know if Steeler center Jimbo Sweeney had relatives there.
"Yeah," Sweeney said. "Unfortunately, they're all dead. I'm goin' out to the graveyard and have a beer with 'em. I'll pour it on their graves."
Trivia time: Who are the only two active NFL coaches among the top 10 in all-time winning percentage, with a minimum of 100 victories?
Scratch another mill-and-a-half: Baseball teams now give No. 1 draft picks million-dollar deals, but the history of one of the first of the new bonus babies, Yankee left-hander Brien Taylor, shows it's no sure bet.
Taylor got $1.5 million in 1991, has had surgery on his left shoulder and, in his first three starts this season at Class-A Greensboro, gave up 15 earned runs in 10 2/3 innings, walking 17.
A few months ago, Taylor was at the Yankee complex in Tampa, Fla., watching reporters follow Japanese pitcher Hideki Irabu.
"I look at him, what he's going through right now," Taylor told the New York Times, "and I know. I say, 'Man, he's got a long road ahead of him. It's just the beginning. If only he knew.' "
P.S. Now Irabu knows.
Trivia answer: New Orleans' Mike Ditka, No. 8 at .622, and Kansas City's Marty Schottenheimer, No. 10 at .614.
And finally: Steeler quarterback Kordell Stewart got his start as a runner, trying to keep cool in his native Louisiana.
"When it was hot, we kept the door from the kitchen to the garage open a crack," his father, Robert, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "We'd let him run around the house in the nude. He'd see that daylight, run to it, get out in the garage and run down the street, buck naked."
Must have worked.
"The best I've seen at quarterback running the ball is Steve Young, and Kordell's better," Carolina defensive coordinator Vic Fangio says. "He's more powerful, and he's faster."