Once the glamour division, the East has suffered the departure of O. J. Simpson, Ahmad Rashad, Paul Warfield, Larry Csonka and Jim Plunkett and faces the imminent retirement of Joe Namath. Consequently, season-ticket sales have dropped 25% in Buffalo and 20% in New England. The Jets drew a total of less than 25,000 for two of their exhibitions in New York.
Dressing-room dressing-downs of coach and team by Colts Owner Bob Irsay preceded the resignation last Sunday of Coach of the Year Ted Marchibroda. Irsay was irate over the Colts' poor preseason record. The players had backed their coach. Buffalo players are disenchanted with a management they feel is saving money at the expense of the club. "They haven't done anything to improve the team," says one veteran. "They've got rid of experienced people but haven't got any experienced people back."
Last season the Colts went from last place to first on the passing of Jones, the running of Mitchell and the birth of the Sack Pack. They can stay there if Irsay's outbursts have not damaged morale. Miami is easily the best of the rest, with New York the worst of the worst.