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EXTRA POINTS
Jill Lieber
October 15, 1984
New Orleans linebacker Jim Kovach, who made the tackle on Walter Payton's record-breaking six-yard carry in Chicago, enjoyed his moment in the spotlight.
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October 15, 1984

Extra Points

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QUICK COUNT
Just because Walter Payton has rushed for 775 yards through six games this season, don't conclude that there's a trend toward grinding it out on the ground in '84. So far, NFL teams have gone to the air for more yardage than ever before.

Avg. net yds. passing per game

Avg. net yds. rushing per game

Differential

1974

307

267

40

1975

326

291

35

1976

304

301

3

1977

284

288

-4

*1978

318

284

34

1979

360

271

89

1980

392

255

137

1981

409

260

149

1982

399

236

163

1983

409

260

149

1984

415

243

172

*The first season of the five-yard bump

New Orleans linebacker Jim Kovach, who made the tackle on Walter Payton's record-breaking six-yard carry in Chicago, enjoyed his moment in the spotlight.

"I'm holding out for a card on Trivial Pursuit," said Kovach. "My agent and I are waiting to negotiate."

Meanwhile, as Payton was writing himself into pro football's annals, Seattle running back Franco Harris was having his problems in Los Angeles, gaining only 13 yards on nine carries in the Sea-hawks' 28-14 loss to the Raiders.

The 13-year veteran, who was passed by Payton on the alltime rushing list on Sept. 23, has gained just 147 yards (for a 29.4-yard-per-game average) and hasn't scored a touchdown since joining the Seahawks on Sept. 9. After Sunday's game, Harris was asked what he thought of Payton's achievement. Harris was silent for a long time. Then he said softly, "Tell him, 'Congratulations.' "

No one in the NFL seemed surprised by reports last week that USFL owners had voted to authorize the league office to file an antitrust suit against the NFL. Said one NFL exec, "I said when the USFL was born that two things would happen: One, our salaries would spiral, and two, we'd be hit with an antitrust suit. That's the history of 'other leagues'—the Titanic plan. Football is the last thing they do well. They can't make it in the stands, so now they're going to see if they can make it in the courts. They figure by hitting us with a suit, they'll force a merger."

Insiders say the USFL's suit would seek more than $1.5 billion in damages because of the NFL's "monopolistic practices, specifically with regard to the television networks." The suit would be based in part on the USFL's inability so far to negotiate contracts with the three major networks for the 1986 season (and beyond), when, the league has said, it will shift from a spring to a fall schedule.

The Redskins' Joe Theismann, who had thrown only four touchdown passes going into Sunday's game in Indianapolis, finally got untracked—even if it was against the lowly Colt secondary. Theismann completed 17 of 20 attempts for 267 yards and four TDs. Afterward, he came up with a theory to explain why Miami's Dan Marino is so far ahead of him: " Marino's probably got half his touchdowns from five yards in."

Say, that ain't so, Joe. Only three of Marino's TD passes were launched from inside the five.

The Raider tight ends—Todd Christensen, Andy Parker, Derrick Jensen and Dave Casper—and assistant coach Bob Mischak took their wives to see Joe Namath in the musical Sugar on Sept. 28 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in L.A.

As they settled in, somebody standing in the aisle said, "Excuse me, but you're in our seats."

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