No matter what face they put on it, the fact is the National Football League Players Association and its Executive Director Ed Garvey lost their shortsighted strike.
There will be many reasons given for the players' rambling retreat from unshakable demands to a bottom line offer, but one stands out. From the beginning the union talked strike, and early went on strike, which is not the way of most such negotiations, where a strike is called only as a last resort. It is hard to believe management would have felt half the confidence it did last week had it been facing opening day with a strike sword poised over its head. Instead, the players dribbled back into camp, nervously aware of how little job security there is in their business and how likely it was that many would be looking for new work if they did not get a chance to prove themselves against the rookies.
So the strike appears over for this year, but the owners would be foolish to consider the victory final. Many of the issues raised will continue as sore points with the players, and such actions as Houston's Sid Gillman cutting seven strikers the very day they returned—one wonders if that is the reason the Oilers have been 2-26 the past two seasons—will not ameliorate matters. The sport, the fans and both sides would be best served if the most serious of the differences were ironed out amicably over the coming year.
CASH FLOW, BLOOD DIVISION
President Ford may be unhappy about the swimming pool at the White House—there is none—but his natatorial dilemma is a drop in the bucket compared with the poolful of advice Dr. Edwin Paget has for him. Paget was not happy even with the 35 to 40 laps the President was putting in daily in his 40-foot backyard pool in Arlington, Va.
Says Paget: " President Ford must realize that the quarter mile or so he swims is not sufficient to open his capillaries. It's merely a warmup for an effective daily program. Brain power, particularly in older men, is dependent on the flow of oxygen to the brain capillaries. That flow decreases as a man gets older unless he engages in vigorous exercise. The distance the President swims qualifies him more for an assistant recorder of deeds than a President who would successfully fight inflation. He will need to send much, much more oxygen to the brain."
And what does Paget do for his exercise? Climbs 14,000-foot Pikes Peak about as often as most of us stroll around the patio. Now in his 70s, the retired North Carolina State professor has made 655 ascents, 35 this summer, which should qualify him as the new economic czar, at least.
SUPERSTITIOUS? YOU BET
As quietly as possible and without ceremony, the Atlanta Falcons retired jersey No. 76. If you do not recall the fabulous feats of ol' 76, there is a reason, explains Equipment Manager Whitey Zimmerman. "We had four players who tore up their knees wearing that number. So we retired it."