SI Vault
Edited by Walter Bingham
May 08, 1978
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May 08, 1978


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To rebound, Mu merely stood on tiptoe, but that was effective against the Japanese, whose tallest player was 6'7". And he stuffed the ball without leaving the ground. Fouling him didn't help because he was deadly from the line. Said Hatanaka, "We didn't know how to control the fellow. An incredible player he was."


For its expanded 16-week regular-season schedule this fall, the NFL has devised a formula that is supposed to balance the competition and make life within a division more equitable. The new plan gives the first-and fourth-place teams in a division the same non-division opponents. The second-and third-place teams also have common opponents. The fifth-place teams have it easiest because their schedules include four games against other fifth-place teams.

All well and good and complicated, but disparities still exist. Using 1977 won-lost records as a barometer, the two Super Bowl teams, Dallas and Denver, have the 10th and sixth easiest schedules, while Los Angeles and Pittsburgh have the second and third easiest. New St. Louis Coach Bud Wilkinson gets initiated by Chicago, New England, Washington, Dallas, Miami, Baltimore and Dallas again in his first seven weeks in the NFL. But the toughest schedule in the NFL belongs to the 3-11 New York Jets, whose opponents had a combined winning percentage of .576 last year and include both the Cowboys and Broncos. The Jets won that distinction over the 3-11 Buffalo Bills because in head-to-head competition last year, the Jets scored one more point than the Bills to beat them out for fourth place. But that was a big point. The Bills' opponents have a winning percentage of .473.

Before anyone starts feeling sorry for the Jets, it should be known that Jim Kensil, the man who drew up the schedule for the NFL while he was its executive director, is now their president.

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