Neither Biles nor
Bum Phillips would discuss the matter. They had coached a patched-up,
eight-point underdog into the AFC championship, a team that had to rely on guys
like Boobie Clark and Guido Merkens. They preferred to talk about the ball
hawking of Perry and Carpenter's gutty performance. And very few Oilers could
take a thing like signal-stealing seriously.
formations dictated our coverages," said Houston Cornerback J. C. Wilson,
who had the only interception that wasn't made by Perry, the one that set up
touchdown No. 2, the winning score—a short Nielsen pass to Mike Renfro that
Renfro turned into a 47-yard play in the third quarter. "They try to mix
you up, and you have to stay with 'em."
But a few of the
Chargers had an inkling that something was up.
wondered why it wasn't done before," said one San Diego player.
"Stealing signals isn't that hard to do. People study films of your games.
Why can't they study films of your signals?"
But let's hear it
for the Oilers' walking wounded, for Carpenter, who kept driving for tough
yards, who took one horrendous three-way shot in the second quarter and had to
crawl off the field. "I got hit on my side," Carpenter said. On
Wednesday he had tripped over a blocking dummy in practice and twisted an
ankle. When the Oilers' bus arrived at the hotel Friday, he was on crutches.
The night of the long needle? Carpenter says no, no painkiller was
"I played in
pain," he said. "A lot of us did."
and Campbell and Burrough all figure to be back next week for the Steelers. And
as for stealing signals—forget it. Terry Bradshaw's one of those old-fashioned
quarterbacks who calls his own plays.