Fans seem to like the current state of affairs. The Monday night game is pulling down a boffo 18.1 TV rating, 1.2 points better than last year's. The NFL's attendance record for a season—an average of 60,745 fans per game in 1981—is endangered, too. This year the league is drawing 61,080 per.
THE EAGLES HAVE LANDED
It seems like yesterday that Randall Cunningham signed his $2.89 million-a-year deal with the Eagles. In fact, he came to terms on Sept. 17, just a few hours before he threw for 447 yards and five touchdowns as he led Philly to a 42-37 win over Washington. In Sunday's rematch he passed for only 177 yards and no TDs. He wasn't pleased with his performance.
Cunningham is peeved that coach Buddy Ryan has become so enamored of the running game in the last six weeks. Ryan has insisted (with much historical proof) that you don't get to the Super Bowl without a solid ground attack. The Eagles ran well during their four-game winning streak in weeks 5 through 8, and Cunningham couldn't say much. Now they've lost two games in a row, and the run-versus-pass debate is hot in Philadelphia.
"You tell me how we won last year," says Cunningham. "Did we win running the ball?" The answer is no.
Says Ryan, "This is the only town I've ever been in where a damn running game detracted from a passing game."
It should be noted that Cunningham's receivers dropped 11 passes on Sunday, including one to Carlos Carson that would have been a sure 75-yard TD. There's some frustration in the Eagles' locker room, and they might not be the team we thought they were.
Bears defensive tackle Dan Hampton will have his 10th knee operation on Monday. The arthroscopic surgery on his right knee wasn't done in October, when the left knee was 'scoped, because Hampton's doctors didn't want to leave him with a double limp. Hey Dan, we love you, but it's time to retire....
As if you couldn't have guessed after the game-deciding replay reversal in Green Bay on Nov. 5, Chicago, which lost 14-13, is suddenly against the use of the instant replay. The team's management will switch its vote from yea to nay when the system comes up for renewal at the league meeting in March. The replay's prospects for survival are dim, now that its two leading supporters, Rozelle and Schramm, are out of the league....