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SPORTS WEEKEND | eXcess and O's

There Are No Cliffhangers in These Votes

November 10, 2000|MIKE PENNER


Led by a massive upset by the Cardinals, the NFL went 5-1-1 on election Tuesday--and undefeated on the mainland. A look at the final tabulations, no recount required:

* Arizona Cardinals: Win.

An amazing 72 hours for the Cardinals. On Sunday, they swindled the Washington Redskins, 16-15. On Tuesday, they bamboozled the voters of Maricopa County into approving Proposition 302, a measure that will raise tourist taxes to finance a new $331-million stadium for the Cardinals--thus ending speculation that owner Bill Bidwill would move the team.

Backup quarterback Dave Brown was relieved to hear the news, saying, "I don't want to have to sell my house again."

Funny, but after hearing Prop. 302 had passed, 14.5 million residents living in the Los Angeles metropolitan area had exactly the same reaction.

* Philadelphia Eagles: Win.

A $162-million bond issue for Philadelphia passed by a 2-1 margin, meaning the Eagles and the Phillies will receive $40 million to renovate decrepit Veterans Stadium. No money was earmarked, however, to renovate the Eagles' decrepit running game.

* Green Bay Packers: Tie.

Does anybody win when Wisconsin residents vote to sell the naming rights to Lambeau Field to help pay off bonds for stadium renovation? The Packers, soon to be playing their home games at Real California Cheese Stadium? PETA Park? Or, if a consortium headed by Sylvester Stallone buys the rights, Rambo Field?

* Steve Largent: Win.

The former Seattle Seahawk wide receiver (R-Okla.) held onto his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Unlike the current Seahawk wide receivers, who can't hold onto anything.

* Russ Francis: Loss.

The former San Francisco 49er tight end (R-Hawaii) lost his U.S. Congress bid to incumbent Patsy T. Mink. So goes this 2000 season. The 49ers used to wear mink, now lose to lots of patsies.

* Bob Thomas: Win.

The former Chicago Bear kicker won a seat on the Illinois state Supreme Court. Just as he did for Mike Ditka, Thomas entrusted again with deciding closely contested battles in the final seconds.

* George Allen: Win.

A Republican from Virginia, the son of former Ram and Redskin Coach George Allen and brother of current Oakland Raider executive Bruce Allen was elected to the U.S. Senate. Just as it was for his dad, the future is now.


In other election news, four names are back on the preliminary 2001 Pro Football Hall of Fame ballot when they shouldn't be. No, their plaques should have been hanging in Canton a long time ago:

* Lynn Swann. Yeah, we know he played only nine seasons. We know he quit too early, at the tender age of 30. But he made the greatest catch in Super Bowl history, he went 4-0 in Super Bowls and battery-mate Terry Bradshaw was inducted in 1989. Really, would Bradshaw have made it without him?

* Ray Guy. Word association time: "Punter." "Ray Guy." Of course. There is no other answer, and the Hall of Fame Selection Committee knows it, having named Guy to its all-time team earlier this year. Hall of Fame historian Joe Horrigan once said, "He's the first punter you could look at and say, 'He won games.' " Now that that's settled, can we get a move on?

* Jack Youngblood. Maybe you didn't hear us the first time: THE MAN PLAYED AN ENTIRE SUPER BOWL ON A BROKEN LEG!

* Nick Buoniconti. Somewhat incredibly, the 17-0 Miami Dolphins of 1972 are represented in the Hall by five offensive players--quarterback Bob Griese, fullback Larry Csonka, wide receiver Paul Warfield, center Jim Langer, guard Larry Little--and no one from the defense. The seniors' committee has brought back Buoniconti for one more go-round, so it's high time the selectors remembered the final score of the Dolphins' final game of that fabled season: Miami 14, Washington 7.


Dead since 1970, Vince Lombardi remains a more viable color analyst than most of the talking heads currently occupying space in NFL press boxes. Today, Lombardi previews Sunday's Rams-Giants game:

* On the Rams' 1-2 record after a 6-0 start: "Teams do not go physically flat, they go mentally stale."

* On the Giants' no-stars approach to NFL success: "People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses or the problems of modern society."

* On the disparity between the Rams' offense, scoring an average of 39.3 points a game, and the Rams' defense, yielding an average of 31 points a game: "Any kind of separatism is bad, in football or anywhere else."

* On Giant defensive back Jason Sehorn: "Forget about that cracked rib, you don't even need it."


(Monday night, the Raiders play the Broncos at Mile High Stadium. Doing his homework, Miller readies a game plan:

* Antoni van Leeuwenhoek: Considered the founder of microbiology, this 17th-century Dutchman was the first to make a systematic study of bacteria. His pioneering work set the stage for later researchers such as Robert Koch, who discovered that bacteria could cause disease and infection, such as the cellulitis that hospitalized Raider kicker Sebastian Janikowski this week.

* Cayuse: Native Americans who were to first to domesticate a small wild horse in the northwestern United States called the bronco. Proper usage: The Raiders, 1-10 in their last 11 games with the Broncos, hope to borrow a page from the Cayuse playbook.

* "The Call of the Wild:" Regarded as Jack London's masterwork, in which the author, a longtime Oakland resident, deals with the reversion of a civilized creature to a primitive state. Predated contemporary anthropological studies of Raider fans by nearly 90 years.

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