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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Perhaps Steeler Coach Should Sign Louis Lipps

January 02, 1998|MAL FLORENCE

Jerome Bettis, the Pittsburgh Steelers' powerful running back, visited an elementary school in the city and was peppered with questions, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. A sampling:

"Has [Coach] Bill Cowher ever kissed you?"

(The emotional Cowher has been known to kiss players coming off the field.)

Replied Bettis: "No. Bill Cowher has not kissed me. I would be the first one to tell you. He has not kissed me. And he will not kiss me."

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Trivia time: Who are the only coaches with perfect Rose Bowl records while participating in a minimum of four games?

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Hard to do: A memorable 1997 quote from Cowher on quarterback Kordell Stewart's performance in a comeback victory over Baltimore: "He came of age and surpassed it."

Forever young: R.C. Slocum said recently that he was a young coach when he fired Bob Toledo as his assistant at Texas A&M in 1994.

Slocum was 37 years old when he worked as an assistant coach at USC in 1981. You do the math.

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Pass the caviar: Joe Falls of the Detroit News commenting on tailgating at the Rose Bowl: "You don't see much smoke from barbecues because they don't have many barbecues.

"This is a finger-sandwich-martini crowd, not much substance but swell in style."

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Job incentive: Florida State Coach Bobby Bowden on why he wants to keep coaching at the age of 67:

"You get to be my age, you start wondering if you're dying. My dad retired when he was 64, and he died two months later. Coach [Paul] Bryant retired, and he was dead a month later."

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Body silence: A classic 1997 quote came from injured Florida Marlin pitcher Al Leiter: "My groin has no comment."

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Looking back: On this day in 1961, George Blanda passed for three touchdowns and kicked the extra points and a field goal to give the Houston Oilers a 24-16 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in the first American Football League championship game.

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Looking back again: On this day in 1984, UCLA defeated favored Illinois, 45-9, in the Rose Bowl game. The Bruins' Rick Neuheisel threw a record-tying four touchdown passes.

Trivia answer: USC's Howard Jones (5-0) won in 1930, 1932, 1933, 1939 and 1940, and USC's John Robinson (4-0) won in 1977, 1979, 1980 and 1996.

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And finally: Boston Celtic Coach Rick Pitino yelled to forward John Thomas after his second-quarter shot was blocked out of bounds by the Clippers' Rodney Rogers in a game Dec. 21:

"John, you're not going up against Bill Russell."

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