The NBA should observe Storen carefully. Its own commissioner, Walter Kennedy, retires in 1975. If the anticipated merger of the leagues precedes Kennedy's retirement, the NBA might find it wise to swallow its pride and accept the man from the ABA as first commissioner of all pro basketball.
Lamar Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, got some things off his chest about pro football. For one, he said he was afraid the National Football League was getting stodgy and complacent, particularly on the field (page 50). He would like to see the league adopt the two-point conversion (by running or passing) that the old American Football League used before the merger with the NFL. He also suggested that the kickoff be from the 35 instead of the 40, since "most of our kickers put the ball out of the end zone and thus kill one of the most exciting plays in football."
He said, "I don't think we can assume a mossback approach and not change anything. Pro football has taken the play away from other sports, and we don't want to lose our advantage. We need to be careful we don't get stagnant. But some owners, particularly some of the older ones, want to keep things just as they always have been."
Hunt predicted that the NFL would expand to 30 teams within three years and suggested it look to Canada ( Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver) and Mexico City for possible franchise sites, as well as to oft-mentioned Seattle, Tampa, Phoenix, Memphis and Honolulu.
The University of Tampa said a couple of weeks ago that it liked pro football (SCORECARD, Sept. 3) and would do all it could to help get a pro team for the city of Tampa. What has happened since may be merely coincidence, but it sounds like the old Biblical thing of casting your bread upon the waters. The star of Tampa's football team last fall was tackle John Matuszak, picked No. 1 in the National Football League draft by the Houston Oilers. Now the Oilers have sort of returned the favor by sending a player to the university.
What happened was, the Oilers held a one-day tryout in Tampa last May and were impressed by a 29-year-old soccer-style placekicker named Kenny Jordan. Jordan had not done any kicking since junior high school but after watching the soccer-style kickers in the NFL on television he started working out for two hours every day on the field at Plant High School in Tampa. He got to where he kicked one or two field goals from 65 yards out and could hit regularly from inside the 50.
General Manager Sid Gillman and Coach Bill Peterson of the Oilers were impressed by Jordan, offered him a contract and asked him to report to their training camp. Then a University of Tampa coach, Billy Turner, who had watched the Oiler tryout, discovered that Jordan still had four years of college eligibility. He suggested the kicker pass up the pros temporarily and take a four-year scholarship to college instead. Jordan, not wanting to renege on an agreement, even if unsigned, was worried what the Oilers would think. But after Gillman heard about the scholarship offer he agreed to "waive" the unsigned player to the university, and the NCAA gave its approval.
"Call it a down payment on our due bill with Tampa for giving us Matuszak," said Bill Peterson.