For the first time since it opened in 1963, the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, has fans among its members.
The Hall christened its Visa Hall of Fans exhibit on Tuesday by recognizing 31 of the most die-hard NFL fans in the land--one from each team, even the expansion Browns.
There was "Barrel Man," a.k.a. Tim McKernan, who wears an orange cowboy hat, boots and an orange barrel supported by suspenders over his bare chest--and bare bottom--at every Denver Bronco home game.
"Gets a little cold sometimes," he said.
Also in the cast of characters were "Big Dawg," "Fireman Ed," "Mr. Cheer or Die," "Mama Blue," "Jersey John," "Boltman," "Arrowman," "Green Man" and "The Packalope."
Comment: Get a life.
Trivia time: When Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points against the New York Knicks in 1962, he also set an NBA record by making 28 free throws. Who tied that record?
Pretenders: Shaun Powell of Newsday is not big on the NBA without Michael Jordan, saying:
"Shaquille O'Neal can't get his team past May. Kobe Bryant hasn't arrived, no matter how much NBC tries to convince you that he has. Charles Barkley is getting as old as his act. Karl Malone turns you off, Kevin Garnett doesn't turn you on."
Nickel defense: From syndicated columnist Norman Chad: "How come stamps go up from 32 to 33 cents and the NFL expands from 30 to 31 teams?
"The postal service has to stop nickel and diming us, one penny at a time; make stamps 50 cents and get the darn mail out. And the NFL should go to 36 teams, restoring franchises in Cleveland, Los Angeles, Houston, Decatur, Pottsvile and Kenosha."
Fascinating: Bill Campbell in the Dallas Morning News: "This Super Bowl will be the first pairing teams with automobile nicknames--the Bronco and the Falcon--and the first meeting of teams with animal nicknames."
The new deal: From David Letterman's "Top Ten New Slogans for the NBA," as read by Commissioner David Stern:
"We've added a third basket for more scoring." . . . "We all just lost a lot of money, so please tip your point guard." . . . "Some arenas are now selling nachos for under $20."
Bargain? Steve Rosenbloom in the Chicago Tribune: "The Mets re-signed pitcher Hideo Nomo for $2,925,000--about the price of a Mark McGwire home run ball."
Trivia answer: Adrian Dantley of Utah against Houston on Jan. 4, 1984. Dantley also made 27 free throws against Denver on Nov. 25, 1983.
And finally: Hall of Famer Bill Sharman on Michael Jordan: "I don't believe Michael was the greatest shooter or the greatest dribbler or passer or the greatest defensive player. However, I believe he could do all these things better than anyone else who ever played in the NBA."