"I do know this: Right now, Chuck looks healthier than he has in years. He was finally able to admit to himself that he had a problem and to say he needed help. He's embarrassed about what happened. And he's ready to start living again."
The Bills sold only 19,179 season tickets this year, and they're averaging but 46,214 spectators a game at Rich Stadium, which seats 80,290. Despite temperatures in the low 70s most of last week—that's a heat wave in Buffalo—the Bills sold only 34,061 tickets for Sunday's game against Denver. Owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. wasn't surprised. "I don't expect we'll sell more than 15,000 season tickets for '85," he says.
Pete Rozelle wasn't surprised, either. "The stadium seems too big for Buffalo's market size," Rozelle says. "I know it's hindsight, but I would've preferred that Rich Stadium had been built with just 65,000 seats and the balance of the construction money be used for a Silverdome-type roof."
Something other than an 0-8 record might help, too.
When Charger cornerback Gill Byrd collapsed in the end zone after returning an interception 99 yards for a touchdown against the Chiefs on Oct. 14, doctors cited a condition called tachycardia, an accelerated heart beat (approximately 140 beats per minute well after he'd finished his run), for Byrd's collapse.
"They wouldn't let me back into the game until my heart was well under 100 beats per minute," said Byrd, who has been receiving medication for the condition for about a year. "I went back in for one play, but I couldn't really focus on anything."
Last week Byrd was given a battery of tests, and the San Diego doctors identified what may have been a contributing cause to the episode: the caffeine in the Snickers and Hershey bars Byrd scarfs down daily.
A couple of seasons back, a buzz word around the NFL offices was "parity." Well, that state has certainly been reached in the AFC Central, although not exactly the way commissioner Rozelle envisioned.
Pittsburgh, at 4-4 after a 17-16 loss to Indianapolis, is the only one of the division's four teams that doesn't have a losing record. Cincinnati, Cleveland and Houston have won a grand total of three games—while losing 21. And in Sunday's snoozer of the week—somebody had to win this one—the Bengals ended up with a 12-9 victory over the Browns. The two teams committed six turnovers in the field-goal fest.
How can any division be so bad?