"Congratulations from the other side of the line," wired Youngblood. "The first 200 are the toughest. See you at 300."
Replied Dieken, "Remember what Indiana Jones said, 'It's not the years, it's the mileage.' "
Patriots offensive tackle Brian Holloway, who is a Stanford graduate with an economics degree, has sent his teammates back to school. "The percentage of players in the NFL who have their college degrees is very low—about 33 percent," says Holloway. "[College] players are asked to do something no other student is asked to do, devote 40 to 50 hours a week to football—taking hits to the body—and study to get a degree. Getting an education isn't a legitimate goal."
Earlier this year, Holloway, a four-year NFL veteran, contacted the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, and the school set up a two-credit course called Integrated Language Skills. Each Wednesday evening for the past 15 weeks, instructors have traveled the 20 miles from Northeastern's Boston campus to Sullivan Stadium in Foxboro and conducted two-hour classes for 14 Patriots who signed up—and who paid $338—for the course. It is broken into four segments: public speaking, writing, literature and economics-finance. Reading assignments have included The Old Man and the Sea and Of Mice and Men. The scholar-pros have also worked with personal computers (using programs such as Andrew Tobias's Managing Your Money). On Dec. 18 comes a final exam.
Says Richard Astro, dean of Northeastern's College of Arts and Sciences, "Never in my 20 years of higher education have I been so enriched. These guys have just come alive." They may not have had much choice. "Brian terrorized them," Astro says, laughing. In between classes, Holloway, who is acting as a course coordinator, gave out reading assignments from Fortune, Forbes, Money and The Wall Street Journal and demanded written summaries. "No way was I going to make the course a joke," he says. "I'd have been guilty of the same thing colleges are."
Apparently rookie San Diego owner Alex Spanos has decided to jettison general manager Johnny Sanders and assistant general manager Tank Younger. The man he wants as chief operating officer is Redskin G.M. Bobby Beathard. Even though Beathard has two years remaining on his contract, it might happen: Washington owner Jack Kent Cooke is no picnic to work for, and Beathard is a native Californian. If there's no way for Beathard to get out of his contract, Spanos will have to go shopping. One name already on his list is Don Klosterman, formerly of the Rams and currently G.M. of the Los Angeles Express of the USFL.
Scott Franz, manager of Smith & Jones, a restaurant in suburban Lakewood, Colo., found out the hard way what a popular guy Broncos kicker Rich Karlis is. After Karlis hit the right upright with his last-second, 25-yard field goal attempt in a 27-24 loss to Seattle on Nov. 25, Franz wrote on the restaurant's marquee KARLIS DOESN'T EAT HERE. The restaurant was almost immediately deluged by phone calls and threats of picketing and boycotts. "Some people didn't even bother to explain what they were calling about," owner Rob McClure said. "They just started screaming profanities into the phone. I was appalled."
Said Karlis, "I'd rather let it die." Said Broncos coach Dan Reeves, "I don't eat there, either." Finally, McClure got smart and added the phrase WE WISH HE DID.
Explained Marti Franz, Scott's mother, "I know how Rich Karlis's mother feels. Her son committed a faux pas on the football field. My son committed a faux pas on a billboard."
Oh yes. Mrs. Karlis's son committed another faux pas on Sunday when his 42-yard attempt for a game-tying field goal on the last play of the game hit the left upright and fell back, giving Kansas City a 16-13 win.