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"But if you really want to get noticed, well, there are a few tricks to catch the cameraman's eye.
"Just as in a real football game, cameras tend to focus on the ardent fan who is cheering wildly, the pretty blonde in a skimpy T shirt despite sub-zero weather, the fan with a funny homemade poster or the exhibitionist who has two pennants waving from the top of his hat made of recycled beer cans."
You surely can't tell it from the final print but a major difficulty in shooting the game action was that at first many of the pros could not bring themselves to take a real shot at Burt or Kris, who insisted on running their own plays. In the beginning, Reynolds could have been Maureen Stapleton and still gained substantial yardage off tackle.
Of all people, the most timid pro was the Cowboys' Tom Henderson, who is only one of the most vicious headhunters in the league. Henderson has brought a new dimension to hitting at outside linebacker, but he couldn't hit Reynolds or Kristofferson. One afternoon Reynolds said, "Good thing he's saving himself for the season. These pins of mine. Churn you to ashes."
On the various locations, almost everybody wore T shirts that said SEMI-TOUGH on the front and MANY THANKS, BURT REYNOLDS on the back. Reynolds had them made and gave them away by the gross. They were mainly meant for the athletes, whom he claims to admire more than actors.
"Pro football players are very aware people," Reynolds said. "I identify with them. They're not dumb. They have a sense of humor. When I say to Too Tall Jones, who could plant me in the ground if he wanted to, 'Good morning, Too Tall, nice day, isn't it? We haven't met. I'm Shirley Temple,' he can laugh."
When Reynolds and Kristofferson finally did begin to collect some licks, they did not lose their senses of humor. At times, it may not have been easy. Kris kept going up for passes in traffic and coming down with broken fingers and charley horses. But he would say, "I guess I ain't no cardboard cutout, after all."
Kristofferson would also say, "The great thing about football players is they have a great sense of their unimportance. They know the first thing that goes is your legs, the next thing that goes is your reflexes, and the next thing to go are your friends."
One of the interesting things about talking to Kristofferson is that you get to hear rather frequently, if unintentionally, the making of another song. Play E6, honey. The Next Thing to Go Are Your Friends.
This is not, however, what my wife said was the best thing about talking to Kristofferson. After we visited with him on the set one day, she said, "His eyes are the color that Elizabeth Taylor's are supposed to be."