Werden Sie Bei Breiten Schultern schwach? (Translation: Do you get weak when you see broad shoulders?)
Wo wedeln die Frauen mit ihren Puscheln? (Translation: Where do women wave their pushies?)
Wo spielen 22 M�nner mit einem Ei? (Translation: Where do 22 men play with one ball?)
Wo kunn man 160 Millionen f�r 10 Mark laufen sehen? (Translation: Where can you see 160 million marks running for 10 marks?)
Those were just some of the questions that were being posed on posters plastered all over Berlin last week as the National Football League airlifted a preseason game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams into that symbolic city. (The translations were provided by the German advertising agency that handled the promotion, so please don't write in.)
Last Saturday night's game in the historic Olympic Stadium was the fourth, final and most fascinating game of the NFL's American Bowl '90 series, which featured games in three other foreign cities. It posed yet another question: Can a soon-to-be-reunited land in which the Wall just came tumbling down, and from which Steffi Graf, Boris Becker, Katarina Witt and the World Cup champions hail, find a place in its heart for an exhibition game of professional football? Let's face it, the man in the Strasse doesn't really much care whether Steve Pelluer or Steve DeBerg quarterbacks the Chiefs this year.
Yet Berliners, East and West, did take to the game. A crowd of 55,000 saw the Rams beat the Chiefs 19-3, placing Berlin ahead of Montreal (28,000) and Tokyo (48,000) and behind only London (63,000) in attendance at the NFL's international venues this summer. Although there were a great many U.S. servicemen and servicewomen in the stands, one could tell that the spectators were predominantly German because they whistled rather than booed the stalled Kansas City attack, and because they cheered wildly every time the Rams' and Chiefs' cheerleaders waved their pushies, or, to give the German ad agency the benefit of the doubt, their pom-poms. To borrow another of the promotional slogans, Ach du dickes Ei! Colloquially, that means Oh, boy! Literally, it's Oh, you fat egg!
To get that fat egg to Berlin required a mini- Berlin airlift. The Rams brought 340 people and the Chiefs 375, and then there was the equipment. "It's no easy thing shipping goalposts," said Jim Steeg, the NFL's executive director of special events. The league brought in 25 people, counting the world-champion whistler and the owners of Frisbee-catching dogs, all part of the pregame entertainment. "Those are the acts we usually turn down for the Super Bowl," said Steeg.
Why did the NFL go to all this trouble—and expense—to take its act to Berlin? Well, the league is seriously thinking about international markets, which have already proved to be fertile ground for the NBA. The World League of American Football, a minor league for the NFL, is scheduled to kick off next March in, among other possible locales, Barcelona, Milan, Mexico City, Frankfurt, Orlando, Fla., and New York City. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue told reporters last week that an NFL team in London is possible before the year 2000.
The first NFL game in Germany, indeed the first on the Continent, was supposed to have been played in Frankfurt, but the profound political evolution of the two Germanys within the past year suddenly made Berlin an attractive option. Then there was the significance of Olympic Stadium. It was there 54 years ago this month that Jesse Owens gave his magnificent performance before Adolf Hitler in the '36 Games.