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PRO FOOTBALL
Jill Lieber
September 15, 1986
A BEAR MARKET FOR MIKE
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September 15, 1986

Pro Football

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QUICK COUNT

Was the USFL that bad? Consider this: Of the 107 players with USFL experience who appeared on opening-day NFL rosters, 42 joined the NFL after the NFL- USFL trial. Another 33 ex-USFLers were on injured reserve.

AMERICAN CONFERENCE

ACTIVE

STARTERS

'86

IR

BILLS

4

3

2

1

COLTS

4

0

0

1

DOLPHINS

1

0

0

1

PATRIOTS

2

1

0

1

JETS

3

0

1

0

BENGALS

4

2

2

0

BROWNS

8

4

2

3

OILERS

7

2

3

0

STEELERS

1

1

0

0

BRONCOS

1

0

0

0

CHIEFS

4

2

2

1

RAIDERS

1

0

1

0

CHARGERS

6

3

3

3

SEAHAWKS

3

1

3

1

NATIONAL CONFERENCE

COWBOYS

5

1

2

1

GIANTS

4

4

0

0

EAGLES

3

1

1

0

CARDS

3

1

1

0

REDSKINS

5

1

4

2

BEARS

3

1

1

0

LIONS

2

1

0

2

PACKERS

3

0

2

2

VIKINGS

5

3

1

1

BUCS

8

1

3

3

FALCONS

4

3

2

1

RAMS

1

0

0

2

SAINTS

10

3

5

4

49ERS

2

1

1

3

A BEAR MARKET FOR MIKE

When he came to the league three years ago, Mike McCaskey, Chicago Bears president and grandson of George Halas, was touted as a potential successor to commissioner Pete Rozelle. But since the USFL's $1.69 billion antitrust suit against the NFL, the McCaskey-for-com-missioner talk has been muted.

McCaskey helped commission the infamous Harvard Business School seminar that dealt with competitive strategy against the USFL. ( McCaskey had been a professor at Harvard Biz before he took over the Bears.) The Harvard study wound up being a major part of the USFL's case against the NFL.

Said an NFL owner who asked to remain anonymous, "Inadvertently, Mike McCaskey caused a lot of problems for us. He was new at the game. There's not a chance he'll ever be commissioner."

Said another NFL owner, "To blame [Mike] totally for the Harvard seminar is wrong."

McCaskey, once open with the press, has been very quiet since the trial. But if he believes he was hurt politically by the trial, he won't admit it.

"If guilt by association means that I'll never be commissioner, fine," McCaskey says. "I want to be president of the Chicago Bears."

The trial may not do in McCaskey, but Jim McMahon might. In his recently released autobiography, McMahon!, the Bears' quarterback wrote: "When he [ McCaskey] came on the field in the fourth quarter at the Super Bowl, smiling from ear to ear, I got the eerie feeling that he felt it was his team, his leadership that did it all. That's why I went out of my way to avoid him, and I wasn't alone. Walter Payton was right beside me, and he was just laughing at McCaskey. Most of us laugh to keep from strangling him."

ONCE A COACH, ALWAYS A COACH

Lou Saban's head coaching career has included jobs with the Buffalo Bills, Boston Patriots and Denver Broncos as well as Northwestern, Western Illinois, Maryland, Miami ( Fla.), Army and Central Florida. He was also president of the New York Yankees and, until recently, a Yankee scout based in North Carolina. A month ago—at age 64—Saban became the defensive coordinator at Martin County High in Stuart, Fla.

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