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Paul Zimmerman
October 12, 1987
Neither side in the NFL strike found much to lift its spirits in the advent of scab ball
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October 12, 1987

Left With An Empty Feeling

Neither side in the NFL strike found much to lift its spirits in the advent of scab ball

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In the Cowboys' 38-24 win over the Jets, Dallas scored 17 points as the result of three of New York's five turnovers and another seven after deflecting a punt. New York quarterback David Norrie was sacked 11 times, 1 short of the NFL record. When the Cowboys loaded up in the middle and blitzed, the Jets scratched their heads.

Some stars looked lost in scab ball competition. The young Dallas offensive linemen did a number on Mark Gastineau. Sal Cesario, a Jet reject who wound up playing in Dallas, at least for last weekend, rode him five yards past the action on the Cowboys' second TD play, a run that covered 27 yards. Dallas's regular quarterback. Danny White, who had crossed the line, didn't get into the game because of a sore shoulder and because coach Tom Landry was reluctant to mix real Cowboys and replacement Cowboys on offense. Besides. White wasn't needed. His stand-in, Kevin Sweeney, threw passes that hung in the air like fly balls, and the Dallas receivers camped under them for long gainers or interference penalties. "Powerful arm," said Madden.

"We were outmanned today," said Jet president Jim Kensil.

"At least they played, at least they scored," said Detroit coach Darryl Rogers of his pickup team after it was beaten by Tampa Bay. "I'm just disappointed that we lost the dumb game."

Two Cleveland players took pictures of each other on the field before their 20-10 victory over New England. A crowd of 10,708 rattled around the 92,516-seat L.A. Coliseum, watching the Raiders beat the Chiefs 35-17. "I just got one glimpse of the game." said Christensen, who was in the parking lot. "I jumped up once to see how many people were in the stands."

"It was almost like street ball out there," said Rams defensive coordinator Fritz Shurmur, after L.A. lost 37-10 to New Orleans.

"I was curious, I didn't know what to expect." said Buffalo fan Robert Goodwin, after the Bills lost 47-6 to Indianapolis. "I was looking for a little comedy, a little mystery, a little entertainment. It was like the Dolly Parton show. They both have some real boobs."

Said striking Bills quarterback Jim Kelly during the game, "From what I hear, our scabs are getting beat 38-0. I love it." So did Indy's Gary Hogeboom, one of three Indy regulars who suited up. He threw for a career-high five TD passes against the 100% scab Bills.

Four Bronco starters who had crossed the picket line chose not to play in Denver's 40-10 loss to Houston. They said on Saturday that they didn't feel comfortable playing alongside people they didn't know. Denver, pro football's master of gadget plays (gotchas, the Broncos call them), watched the Oilers score their first touchdown on a quarterback keeper by Brent Pease (Brent Pease?) in which his teammates lulled the defense by remaining perfectly still. The Oilers scored another TD on a 16-yard run off a snap to tailback Andrew Jackson, a play Houston ran half a dozen times. The Oilers even threw in the wishbone to confuse the poor Broncos. "It's difficult to prepare when you don't know what to prepare for," said Denver coach Dan Reeves after the Broncos had suffered their worst defeat at home since 1968.

A joke, a parody, yes, yes, though the games did go on and the TV overnights weren't all that bad. Chalk one up for the curiosity factor. But ticket holders weren't seduced by the laugh-a-minute brand of football, and they stayed away from the stadiums. Chalk one up for good taste.

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