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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Suddenly, Rome Appears Ripe to Be Sacked

November 19, 1998|MAL FLORENCE

Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News put the San Francisco 49ers' 31-19 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in historical perspective when he wrote:

"We have experienced false alarms before. Several times. Lots of times. But could this really have been the start of the Fall of the Roman Empire?

"I mean, does anyone remember when Julius Caesar (Jerry Rice) dropped a sure touchdown pass just before 3Column Park crumbled?

"Or if Brutus (Steve Young) reacted to a zone blitz by throwing an interception? Did the centurions fail to score any touchdowns in the first half, when the temple doors were open?"

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Trivia time: Who was the first UCLA running back to rush for 1,000 or more yards in a season?

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Hopeless in Seattle: Steve Kelley, writing in the Seattle Times after the Oakland Raiders beat the Seahawks, 20-17, on Sunday:

"This loss was pathetic. It was dumb, and then it got dumber. Once again, the Seahawks showed all the discipline of a frat house on Hell Night.

"This was 'Waterboy' without Adam Sandler."

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He's had it: Philadelphia Eagle owner Jeffrey Lurie is fed up. After the Eagles lost to the underachieving Washington Redskins, 28-3, on Sunday, he said:

"I'd rather be watching paint dry than this. We were pitiful. This was a . . . performance. I've lost my patience."

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Priorities in order: Ron Rapoport in the Chicago Sun-Times: "Red Holtzman never chewed a towel, never tore his jacket off, never had a temper tantrum on the court.

"Asked his definition of disaster, the former New York Knick coach, who died Friday, said: 'Coming home and finding we're out of Scotch.' "

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Message mix-up: From syndicated columnist Norman Chad: "When Mike Ditka told Saint quarterback Kerry Collins he needed a woman, the St. Pauli Girl wasn't what he had in mind."

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Looking back: On this day in 1927, a year before UCLA joined the Pacific Coast Conference, the Bruins suffered their first loss of the football season, losing to Arizona, 16-13.

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FYI: At 9-0, the Tulane football team is off to its best start in 67 years. The last time it got this kind of a jump was in 1931 when it went 11-0, then lost in the Rose Bowl to USC, 21-12.

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Trivia answer: Kermit Johnson, 1,129 yards in 1973.

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And finally: Woody Paige of the Denver Post, writing before the Broncos beat Kansas City, 30-7, Monday night to improve their record to 10-0:

"And when the going gets rough and tough out there, men, and you're feeling down, just remember to Lose One for the Lipper. Pat Bowlen has done it again.

"Old Loose Lips, who suffers from foot-in-mouth disease, mumbled that he would prefer the Broncos not be unbeaten.

"The Silly Owner of the Broncos--an astute, charming and intelligent man until he opens his killer kisser--said he doesn't want to deal with the 'undefeated stuff' and there's too much 'pressure.' "

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