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The Oilers, ranked 26th in the league in offense and 28th and last in defense, have become laughingstocks in Houston. In an attempt to polish up their image, the club bought a half-page ad in the Nov. 4 editions of The Houston Post and Houston Chronicle. The ad (right) offered an excuse for the play of the porous offensive line—"the youngest starting unit in the National Football League...average NFL experience is 1.77 years"—and boasted that management had "laid a very talented foundation for the offense' for years to come."
The ad laid a big fat egg with several Oiler players. "They're copping out," said veteran guard John Schuhmacher. "They're trying to cover their tracks. It's like a black plague around here, and it's getting worse."
Said another Oiler, "[General manager] Ladd [Herzeg] has a tremendous ego. He calls in [coach Hugh] Campbell every week and tells him to fire some of his assistants. The pressure on the coaches is unbelievable. Ladd listens to whatever people tell him. He's got a radio buddy who told him to put razzle-dazzle stuff into the game plan, so he calls in the offensive coordinator and tells him to put razzle-dazzle in the game plan. Campbell loves coaching, but if things don't change, if he isn't given more control, I think he'll quit."
After all their griping, the Oilers went out and upset Kansas City 17-16 on Sunday for their first win of the 1984 season. It wasn't exactly a tour de force for the offensive line, however—Oiler quarterback Warren Moon was sacked five times.
With the Eagles reportedly $30 million in, debt, Leonard Tose, who owns 99% of the club, and his daughter Susan Fletcher, the Eagles' vice-president and owner of the remaining 1%, met in Phoenix last week with attorneys for James Monahan, an Edmonton real-estate developer who is interested in buying a minority interest (reportedly 25%) in the team.
Fletcher said she and her father have no plans to sell a majority interest, but when pressed about whether they'd ever consider selling an interest sufficient to allow someone to move the Eagles from Philadelphia, Fletcher said, "Do I know if the Third World War's coming tomorrow? Who the hell knows? I don't know what life's going to bring."
One thing's for sure: the Eagles' lease with Veterans Stadium runs through 1991.
When Nancy McMahon arrived at the Northwestern Memorial Hospital emergency room two weeks ago to see her husband, Jim, the Chicago quarterback who had just been injured in a brutal game with the Raiders, doctors and nurses rushed to her. She was eight months pregnant. "I waddled in, my stomach sticking straight out, and they all gasped and said, 'Oh, my gosh! Are you O.K.?' " Nancy says. "I said, 'Hey, I'm fine. Just take care of my husband.' "
Jim, who earlier had suffered a hairline fracture of his hand, was diagnosed as having a lacerated left kidney. He was hospitalized and scheduled to be released Nov. 16 and will be sidelined at least a month.
"When Jim comes home, he's supposed to lie still," says Nancy. "I'll take care of him until the baby is born December 14. My mom will help out for two weeks. Then, the day after Christmas, I've hired a registered nurse to move in and take care of both Jim and me. We're quite a pair."