A $1 Million Shot
Jury Red-lights The Case
The most controversial—and expensive—goal in the 10-year history of Miami Arena was not scored by the Florida Panthers or any of their NHL opponents. It came off the stick of Randy Giunto, 40, of Hollywood, Fla., who last week was awarded $1 million in a court case stemming from a promotional contest.
Giunto took the $1 million shot, a 118-footer from the far blue line, during the second intermission of a March '94 game. The contest rules that Giunto had picked up at a local Blockbuster called for him to shoot a puck "through" a 3½-inch wide, 1½-inch high slot. A form he was given minutes before he took the shot said it had to go "completely through."
Giunto's shot appeared to enter the opening partway, but Panthers officials say the puck deflected off an edge of the slot. Giunto went home with only a year's supply of Coke and videos. A few weeks later he attended another Panthers game, at which, he says, he was told by a team employee that he had gotten "screwed." Giunto studied a videotape, determined that the puck had gone at least partway through the slot and hired a lawyer. That's how a six-member Miami-Dade County District Court jury came to be goal judges.
"I have no idea how something that doesn't go in counts as going in," says David Carlisle, lawyer for the contest's sponsors (the Panthers, Blockbuster Entertainment and Coca-Cola), who claim that Giunto's shot never even entered the slot and may appeal the verdict. But Giunto's lawyer, Richard Diaz, persuaded the jury not only that the puck did enter the slot but also that, as he says, "through and completely through are two different things." Adds Diaz: "There's no question this was a trial of semantics."
Seeing Is Believing
Being the starting quarterback for a marquee college football team might get you a few magazine covers and a shot with the homecoming queen, but it doesn't guarantee you a place in the NFL draft, as four such signal-callers—Florida State's Thad Busby, Miami's Ryan Clement, Penn State's Mike McQueary and Notre Dame's Ron Powlus—found out two weeks ago when they went unchosen in the seven rounds of picking.
At the same time, three signal-callers you didn't see on TV every other Saturday got snapped up—albeit well after the much-publicized duo of Tennessee's Peyton Manning and Washington State's Ryan Leaf. The Detroit Lions traded three draft picks to secure Eastern Michigan's Charlie Batch near the end of the second round, the Jacksonville Jaguars grabbed Middle Tennessee's Jonathan Quinn in the third, and Nevada's John Dutton went to the Miami Dolphins in the sixth. Thus was revealed one truism of NFL scouting: Watching a player in person is always important, but it's crucial when it comes to quarterbacks.
"Seeing quarterbacks line up against one another is more important than watching players at any other position," says New York Giants coach Jim Fassel. "When a quarterback stands next to every other prospect, it doesn't matter if he's from a small college or a major college. If he's 6'4" with quick feet and can make all the throws he'll need to make in your program, you know he's got the tools to be a quarterback."
What about the competitiveness and game-management skills that, say, Busby picked up by leading the Seminoles in big games? Scouts scour game tapes for signs of such intangibles, but say they pale in importance next to physical tools. Teams believe they can evaluate some of a quarterback's personal qualities (like confidence) during interviews.