At Stanford, where he won consecutive Rose Bowls, John Ralston had a habit of turning his back and refusing to watch crucial plays—out of nerves. He also wore flared trousers and a crew cut. He smiles a lot, being a certified Dale Carnegie instructor, but works his players hard. So much for anomaly.
When he got to Denver and told the players, "We're going to win the Super Bowl one of these days, it's inevitable." Tackle Mike Current said, "At first, we thought he was a little corny."
The players still consider Ralston more of a cheerleader than a coach, but he must have something. Denver went 7-5-2 last year, the Broncos' first winning season ever, and Ralston keeps saying, "It's an obsession to win the Super Bowl, and it's going to happen."
DAN DEVINE, The Packers:
When Dan Devine went from the University of Missouri to Green Bay in 1971, he said, "Football is football, wherever it's played." So in his first pro game he got a broken leg when an opposition player was pushed into him on the sideline; he later got food poisoning: he once saw his team fumble twice in the end zone in six seconds; and the Packers went 4-8-2 that first year.
The second year he was the Dan Devine the Packers thought they hired. He brought the Pack back. They went 10-4. But last year they slipped again, 5-7-2, so the jury has reconvened.
At Missouri, Devine was known for tailoring his style to the material on hand. If nobody could run the power sweep, he played defense. In one season he won four games in which his team failed to score more than a touchdown.
He tried to do the same thing last year in Green Bay. He didn't have a passer who could even qualify for the NFC throwing title, so he ran the ball, and not very well at that. The Packers were 25th in total offense.
The thing I remember best about Devine is that he hates germs. He stores his whistle in a container of alcohol between practices.
TOMMY PROTHRO, The Chargers: