JOHN NORTH, The Saints:
Guys won a lot of money last year betting that John North was the name of the head coach of the Saints, even though they went 5-9, which was as good as they had ever done.
John North got to New Orleans in 1973 after eight years as the "receiver coach" of the Detroit Lions. Not too good a job when you consider that these were the years Detroit went without a passer.
He is 53, which means he spent several other seasons before that as an assistant at various colleges. John North got the head job after J.D. Roberts was fired for losing his first four exhibition games, which don't matter anyway. Especially to the players.
Owner John Mecom, who arrived in pro football like several other owners—by being in the Son business—asked around the New Orleans office if anybody on the staff was capable of coaching Archie Manning. Somebody said John North, maybe. Mecom put some private investigators on the case and they discovered that John North was the Saints' "receiver coach." They also may have found out that he was inexpensive, as coaches go.
They say John North likes to throw his cap and kick the turf a lot when things go wrong. That's good for sideline cameras.
As the Saints' public relations man, Larry Liddell, puts it, "John is just your average, dedicated, determined guy who happens to coach a pro team."
HOWARD SCHNELLENBERGER, The Colts:
He had a chance to learn a considerable amount as one of those lifelong-type assistants. He worked for Bear Bryant at Alabama and Blanton Collier at Kentucky and George Allen in Los Angeles. Then he worked for Shula at Miami and it was amazing what a few people like Bob Griese, Larry Csonka, Mercury Morris and Paul Warfield could do for the reputation of the man in charge of the Dolphins' offense.
It could be said that when Miami won its first Super Bowl, Howard Schnellenberger became the Arnsparger of the offense. Which makes you wonder what Shula did. Coach extra points?