If you had to guess how well Tampa Bay and Seattle will do this fall as NFL expansion teams, you might venture something like 0-14, or possibly 1-13, right? However, a look at past performances indicates the new boys are going to do somewhat better.
Consider the records of the five expansion teams that joined either the NFL or the old AFL during the past 15 years. In 1961 the brand-new Minnesota Vikings upset the Chicago Bears in their first-ever regular-season game, followed that triumph with seven straight defeats, then beat both the Baltimore Colts and the Los Angeles Rams in the last five weeks of the season. The Vikings that first year were 3-11.
In 1966, the first Super Bowl season, the NFL added the Atlanta Falcons and the AFL the Miami Dolphins. The Falcons started out by losing nine straight but then stunned the NFL by knocking off the New York Giants, the Vikings and the St. Louis Cardinals in a four-week period and finished their maiden year with a 3-11 record, too. The new Dolphins lost five in a row, upset the Denver Broncos and Houston Oilers in successive weeks, lost six more, then ended the season by beating the Oilers again. Their season record? Good old 3-11.
A year later the New Orleans Saints joined the NFL and lost their first seven games, but they beat the Falcons, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins in the last half of the season to finish—what else?—3-11.
Finally, in 1968, there was Cincinnati, the last expansion team before this season's newcomers. Paul Brown's Bengals set pro football on its ear by winning two of their first three games (beating the Broncos and the Buffalo Bills) and then settled down. In their last 11 games the Bengals beat only the Dolphins to end up with—yes—3-11.
You can fly in the face of fate, if you want. As for us, we're trying to figure out who the three patsies are that the Buccaneers and Seahawks are going to trample.
They played a game of cricket at a "British Day" in Van Nuys, Calif. recently, which rather confused Bill Murphy, a Los Angeles newspaper photographer. A local cricket fan named Dick Howe volunteered to explain the game to Murphy and sent him the following note: "You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes in and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in tries to get those coming in out. Sometimes you get men in and not out. When both sides have been in and out including the not outs, that is the end of the game."
In his next lesson Howe might explore the nuances of googly and silly mid-on.