SI Vault
 
SOMETHING LESS THAN SUPER
Dan Jenkins
December 25, 1978
If you caught yourself yawning during the 1978 NFL season, perhaps it was because there were too many games, too many flags, too few good teams and only one real star—rookie Running Back Earl Campbell of the Oilers
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
December 25, 1978

Something Less Than Super

If you caught yourself yawning during the 1978 NFL season, perhaps it was because there were too many games, too many flags, too few good teams and only one real star—rookie Running Back Earl Campbell of the Oilers

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4

?The Atlanta Falcons finding a placekicker (Tim Mazzetti) in a bar.

? Detroit Coach Monte Clark discovering Quarterback Gary Danielson just in time to win six of the last nine games and barely missing the playoffs.

? Washington beating Dallas 9-5 in a touchdownless game on Monday night to raise its record to 5-0, and beating Detroit to go 6-0, but then losing eight of its next 10 games—prompting the supporters of $250,000-per-year bench warmer Quarterback Billy Kilmer to suggest that the Redskins wouldn't have collapsed had Kilmer been playing instead of Joe Theismann, which is what would have happened if George Allen had still been eating ice cream in D.C. What they overlook is that if George Allen had been in D.C, the Redskins probably wouldn't have won the first six.

?The 49ers' Freddie Solomon dropping four passes for a total of at least 130 yards in a single game, proving that if he were the sky, he could probably drop the Goodyear blimp.

Sorry, but that one demands a pause. Because Solomon's dreadful day was the same one on which Miami's Delvin Williams crashed through the 1,000-yard barrier, it particularly delighted sports-writers. It was nothing personal as far as Solomon was concerned. It was just that San Francisco General Manager Joe Thomas had traded Williams for Solomon before the season, and Thomas reportedly had accosted a sportswriter in a disco. Despite all of his years of experience, Thomas had evidently forgotten that you can't win with sportswriters. They stick together, and they always have the last word.

Well, if all of that did not make it a rather peculiar season, consider what NFL parity wrought.

It wrought New Orleans, Seattle and Tampa Bay winning more games than ever before, which was very exciting, of course, if you happened to live in New Orleans, Seattle or Tampa Bay.

It wrought 17 teams completing their seasons with records of at least .500, a giant step toward the day when all 28 clubs will finish at 8-8—and the NFL will have its parity, if not quality.

It wrought a wonderful moment late in the season when, with only three games remaining, there were still 20 teams with a mathematical chance of getting to the Super Bowl.

It wrought the marvelous total of 17 teams that improved their won-lost percentage from the previous season—parity scheduling, of course. One was the New York Jets, who came up with the new lightning-strike passing combo of Matt Robinson to Wesley Walker.

Continue Story
1 2 3 4