According to NFL Properties, which controls team paraphernalia and souvenirs, the Cowboys still sell the most items, but the 49ers, climbing rapidly, may soon surpass them. Who says winning isn't everything?
THE LITTLE BIG MEN
Because the Redskins and—Dolphins and don't forget Houston of the USFL—have had so much success with little speedsters, most every team brought a slew of Smurfs to training camp again this year. And if the NFL doesn't change the one-bump restriction, Mike Haynes, the Raiders' All-Pro cornerback, predicts, "Pretty soon, you'll start to see shorter defensive backs and linebackers—guys who are able to be just as quick."
SAN DIEGO'S NEWEST CHARGER
San Diego's Alex Spanos is a no-nonsense guy. He's a strict disciplinarian and a staunch believer in the work ethic. He's also great for the league: He's on a crusade to stamp out drugs in the NFL, and most important, he's one of few owners who can—and will—talk to the Raiders' Al Davis.
HELP WANTED? HIRE THIS MAN
Paul Hackett, the 49ers quarterbacks-receivers coach, is forever being considered for head-coaching jobs. Last winter, Hackett, 38, was in the running for the Tampa Bay Bucs and Arizona State positions. Before that, Stanford wanted him. A former assistant at UC-Davis and USC and ex-QB coach of the Browns (1981-82), Hackett is a passing-game wiz. In 1983 he was hand-picked by Bill Walsh to be his heir apparent. But coach Genius is having too much fun to retire. When will somebody get wise and hire assistant coach Genius?
NICE GUYS FINISH FIRST
The five nicest players: Archie Manning, Vikings; Rolf Benirschke, Chargers; Freeman McNeil, Jets; Rich Karlis, Broncos; Mike Haynes, Raiders.
PARAGONS OF PERFECTION
For a while, every team wanted a Kellen Winslow-like tight end. Then everybody wanted a Lawrence Taylor-like outside linebacker. Now NFL player-personnel heads are looking everywhere for strong safeties like Kenny Easley. They want someone who can do more than just play the run; they want someone who can be tough on pass receivers as well as attack the pocket.
MOTHERLY LOVE: IS IT A HELP OR A HINDRANCE?
"You can't measure heart" is a cliché in sports, but Carroll Hardy, the Broncos' veteran coordinator of combine scouting, believes he has come up with a reasonably accurate indicator: mothers and grandmothers. Not to take anything away from dad, but after thousands of visits with athletes' families and countless conversations with college coaches, Hardy believes that mom is the parent who actually shapes the mental side of the player. Hardy finds that a less aggressive player is often the product of an overly protective mother, while a mother who expects the best from her son, but is never satisfied, tends to produce a tougher, overachieving athlete.
BEARING UP NICELY
From his ever-present sandals and shorts to his flair for windsurfing and bellyflop catches, Ken Margerum, the Chicago Bears' wide receiver, has always seemed off-beat. But now Margerum has folks believing that maybe his way is the right way. Margerum, who had reconstructive knee surgery last May, has come up with an unconventional rehabilitation program. He rode his 10-speed bike over hills and played lots of Frisbee, simulating the cuts he'd make on a football field.
SHAKE WELL BEFORE USING
"I have no idea how they come up with quarterback ratings," says the Raiders' Jim Plunkett, who has a career rating of 65.6. He's not alone. Says George Young, the Giants' general manager, "To me, it's like crossword puzzles. A lot of busywork for nothing. "The QB ratings system is completion percentage plus interception percentage plus average pass yards per attempt plus percentage of touchdowns per passes attempted, then multiply, divide and shake well. So, how would quarterbacks rate quarterbacks? Says the San Diego Chargers' Dan Fouts, "Does the guy win?" Says the Saints' Richard Todd, "Factor in receivers' errors." Adds Dallas's Danny White, "Measure how the rest of the team is doing." But Archie Manning of the Minnesota Vikings has come up with his own equation: arm strength plus drop plus delivery plus ability to read defenses plus escapability plus number of injuries plus leadership plus experience plus heart.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR IN '85