"If Boomer would allow Sam to coach him without getting upset about every coaching point, and if Sam would back off on him sometimes when he needs some stroking....
"Sometimes I think Boomer should let Sam control him. But I don't want him to change.... He's a much better quarterback when he's mad. When Boomer's out there and he's throwing water around and kicking chairs, he's a great, great football player. When he's thinking about his technique or his play fakes—all that stuff—he loses his effectiveness."
There has been much speculation about the fate of Monday Night Football. With the NFL's $2.1 billion television contract expiring at the end of the season and the TV networks screaming about their losses ($75 million in '85 and a projected $100-120 million this year), Dennis Swanson, the head of ABC Sports, has been anything but hopeful about his network's continuing to host the 16-year-old show.
Until now, that is.
"We would like to keep Monday Night Football" Swanson says. "Monday Night Football is extremely important to our overall programming; last week [after the Nov. 3 Rams-Bears game] it ranked No. 9 overall. It is our hallmark show. It is so prominent, so visible, so successful. We've had terrific ratings this season. We'd like to reacquire the rights—at a price more consistent with the economic environment."
According to Dan Rooney, the Steelers' president, that's up to two people—Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell, who heads the NFL's TV committee, and commissioner Pete Rozelle. The past two months they have been hearing pitches from network, cable and syndicated TV reps. Rozelle says he would be happy to get another $2.1 billion contract.
"I made it clear to the league office before they went into TV negotiations not to price us out of Monday Night Football," says Rooney. "Maybe we're getting too much money from TV. If we use the money we make from gate receipts—about $10 million a year—plus $16 million from TV—that's $26 or $27 million. For crying out loud, how much money do you need to operate successfully? That's more than enough.
"We don't use the money properly. If the owners aren't men enough—and they sure haven't shown they are—to say no, to not be afraid of being called cheap in the papers...if they can't tell coaches no, we aren't going to operate that way—there is a limit in the number of players on our roster....
"This idea that we all need huge raises, that we need TV to come in and bail us out, is not fair or realistic."
The Bad Taste Award of the Week goes to Rod Martin and linebacker coach Bob Zeman of the Los Angeles Raiders. Martin was spotted at the Raiders' practice facility wearing a KICK 'EM OF THE WEEK T-shirt in honor of his performance in a recent game.