•You've got to hand it to Tagliabue for negotiating the network TV contract the league signed in '90 and for achieving labor peace. However, he has evidenced brain lock in his appointments to the league's all-important competition committee, which formulates playing rules. Last week he named Cincinnati general manager Mike Brown, yet another business-side guy—the commissioner's fourth such appointment—to what is supposed to be a nuts-and-bolts football body. The committee, now co-chaired by Miami coach Don Shula and Giant general manager George Young, also includes Seahawk coach Tom Flores and Chief coach Marty Schottenheimer, all veteran football men. A businessman or two would give the committee some balance. But four? Come on.
Late in the Rams' 23-20 upset of New Orleans, L.A. rookie running back Jerome Bettis took off his helmet near the Saints' sideline and stared at the enemy. "I just wanted to show them, Hey, I'm for real. Here I am. Get used to me," he said. They know, they know. Bettis, a 244-pound brick house, carried 28 times for 212 yards—the fourth-highest total by a rookie in NFL history. By the end of the first quarter, Bettis already had 125 yards on the ground and the Ram line was operating without its two best players, tackle Jackie Slater and guard Tom Newberry, who were injured....
First hints on realignment: The league would like to shift Phoenix to the NFC West while keeping the Dallas-Washington-Philadelphia-Giants axis in the NFC East. There could also be a southern division, probably in the AFC, made up of Carolina, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Miami and Atlanta. The other Dixie entry, the Saints, would most likely stay in the NFC West....
One NFC scout says that four of the top five picks in next April's draft will be nonseniors, if all the top prospects elect to declare themselves eligible. The scout's top five: Tennessee quarterback Heath Shuler, San Diego State running back Marshall Faulk, Ohio State defensive lineman Dan Wilkinson, Notre Dame tackle Aaron Taylor and Michigan running back Tyrone Wheatley. Taylor is the only senior....
The agent for former Phoenix quarterback Timm Rosenbach, who walked away from football last spring at age 26, has had a dozen inquiries from teams trying to get Rosenbach back into the game. "I try to tell them it's over for Timm," says Gary Wichard. Rosenbach will earn a degree in psychology from Washington State in May, but he still has some growing up to do. The last thing he said to anyone in the Cardinal organization, after the '92 season, was "See you in the spring," but he never showed up for spring drills. Rosenbach's decision was obviously painful, but he has never picked up the phone to tell offensive coordinator Jerry Rhome, who was a good friend, why he quit.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Dallas at the Jets, Saturday. How nutty is this? This game against the Super Bowl champs might be the best chance for the playoff-hopeful Jets (8-5) to win in the last three weeks of the season. The game is in the cold and the swirling December wind of the Meadowlands, which the Jets are used to. And in the last two weeks they visit the Bills and the Oilers, two teams in the thick of the playoff fight. Says New York cornerback Eric Thomas, "It's the perfect opportunity for us to show everyone we can slug it out with a big guy. And Dallas is a big guy."
THE END ZONE
Moosemania has hit Dallas. Every time fullback Daryl (Moose) Johnston touches the ball, Texas Stadium resonates with Moooooose calls. The fans are showering him with gifts, too. Gianna, an upscale boutique in Irving, is sending Johnston a stuffed toy moose—with a belt worth a reported $3,000 wrapped around its waist.
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