SI Vault
Peter King
September 28, 1992
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September 28, 1992

The Nfl

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?Pennsylvania's NFL teams are 6-0. California's are 3-9.

?Bill defensive end Bruce Smith had 18 tackles and 1� sacks last year. He had eight tackles and 2� sacks in the first half of Buffalo's 38-0 win over the Colts.

?The 49ers have two wins at Giants Stadium this year. The two home teams there, the Giants and the Jets, have none.


CBS analyst John Madden once said of the World League, "Everyone shouldn't keep taking its temperature." And he was right. Any new league stumbles at the start—a few franchises fold, early TV ratings stink—but well-run leagues with good concepts eventually take root, and the World League was worth the cost and effort to keep it alive. Regrettably, the NFL last week suspended operation of the World League until at least 1994 because NFL owners want to conserve their money while they try to hammer out a labor agreement with the players and lay the groundwork for a new TV contract.

The World League was a training ground for future NFL players (admittedly, marginal ones) and fed an astounding European appetite for the American game. But each NFL team had to ante up between $1 million and $1.5 million a year—about what a team spends on a signing bonus for a middle first-round draft pick—to keep the league going. And unlike when the World League was launched two years ago, NFL owners no longer have that kind of pocket change.

Frankfurt Galaxy general manager Oliver Luck, who last spring marveled at how many fans (an average of 36,247) kept coming to watch his 3-7 team, was afraid even then that the league would not be around in '93. "I wish I could get all the NFL people who make the decisions on our future to come over here and see this for themselves," Luck said at the time. "If we don't play anymore, it would be a huge mistake."

Bills at Patriots, Sunday. Since 1986, quarterback Jim Kelly's first year in Buffalo, the Bills are 2-3 in nonstrike games at Foxboro Stadium. In those five games, New England has sacked Kelly 17 times, while holding him to live touchdown throws and intercepting 10 of his passes.

For years Ron Dixon has fired a cannon on the sideline whenever the Chargers have scored a touchdown, field goal or safety in a home game. That was a busy job in the Dan Fouts Era; Dixon fired the cannon 16 times at one game. But the Chargers have gotten so boring lately that the club this year told Dixon he could fire when the team was introduced before the game. Even so, he has shot the thing only six times in two games this season—two introductions, three field goals, one touchdown. "I am the Maytag repairman," he says.


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