Young thinks that last month's vein-popping sideline scene helped. "Let's face it," he said. "The last few years I've gotten a lot of scrutiny. And when things didn't go right, it was easy for everyone to say, 'Well, it must be Steve.' The game against Philadelphia, we all didn't play well. To me, the image George put there was: We didn't play well, so let's yank Steve. I was glad to finally let it out, because a lot of times I would just go home and internalize things when they'd go wrong. Now, if I have something on my mind, I just say it."
Cowboys- 49ers. It doesn't get any better than this.
The fashionable thing to say about the 5-4 Bills this year is that they get up for tough opponents and are flat against lesser foes. However, that analysis is too simplistic. Center Kent Hull pegged the team's problem perfectly on Sunday, after Buffalo had lost to the Jets, 22-17, for the second time this season. "People in this division have spent their whole off-season the past three or four years trying to figure out how to stop our offense," Hull said. "We have had people picked off our roster, first through Plan B and then free agency. We're choosing low in the draft every year. In the past we had much more talent than everybody else. When you continually lose talent and everyone else gains talent, it's pretty natural everybody's going to catch up."
Hull's right. Talent is being drained from the Bills. Their young secondary is good, but no other aspect of the team is better than it was in the early '90s. The offensive line, from which two Pro Bowl tackles—Will Wolford and Howard Ballard—were lost to AFC teams via free agency in the last two off-seasons, has dropped in quality. And now it looks as though the Bills will be on the road through the playoffs as they try for a fifth straight Super Bowl appearance—if they make the playoffs at all.
Cris Carter of the Vikings is on pace for a record 128-catch season....
Jet tackle Jeff Criswell mugged Buffalo's All-Pro defensive end, Bruce Smith, all game long, grabbing his shirt and ripping it the length of his side on one play. After Smith's third plea to referee Howard Roe to call Criswell for holding, the ref snapped, "Quit your whining!" To which Smith replied, "If you'd do your job, I'd quit whining."
...Don't look for realignment to happen anytime soon. The expansion teams, Jacksonville and Carolina, will join the four-team divisions, the AFC Central and the NFC West, respectively, because there are too many opponents of any plan that would bring geographic logic to the league. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue delayed a vote on realignment until next year, but he and Steeler president Dan Rooney, who developed one restructuring plan, appear to be fighting a lonely battle....
Money Talks Department: The president of the Fox Network, Chase Carey, has told the Rams' president, John Shaw, that Fox would prefer to see the Rams move to St. Louis if they leave L.A., which is a near certainty.