THE JOE WATCH
Joe Montana now says he's at fault for his stalled comeback from elbow surgery 12 months ago. "If I had to blame anyone, I would blame myself," he says. "I'm sure I overdid it on my own. It's obvious that I threw too soon, too hard." The latest ailment: Montana's right pinky feels numb. He hasn't thrown since Sept. 26. "The elbow might be as good as it's going to get," he says.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Bengals at Steelers, Monday. Cincinnati and Pittsburgh have one of the league's best, though little-noticed, rivalries. Nineteen of the 43 games between the two teams have been decided by a TD or less, and their average game score is Steelers 19.3, Bengals 19.1. Now the series moves into a new era: no more Art Rooney or Chuck Noll in Pittsburgh, no more Paul Brown or Sam Wyche in Cincinnati. The two coaches, Bill Cowher, 35, of the Steelers and Dave Shula, 33, of the Bengals, are the youngest in AFC Central history. "Chuck always said, 'The only constant in football is change,' " says Steeler tackle Tunch Ilkin. "We're finding out all about that now."
THE END ZONE
U.S. District Court Judge David Doty will soon hear arguments in the class-action antitrust suit brought by 280 players, including Eagle defensive end Reggie White, against the NFL. The players are asking to be declared free agents when their contracts expire on Feb. 1, 1993. The date for the hearing is Nov. 12—the 100th anniversary of the first occasion on record that someone was paid to play football. Pudge Heffelfinger was paid $500 (plus $25 for his expenses) by the Allegheny Athletic Association to play in a game on Nov. 12, 1892, in Pittsburgh.