- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 22, 2002

I wouldn't want to be in Dan Snyder's box if the Redskins fall behind the Texans today.

If I were, though, I'd stand well away from the avocado dip.

For the record, the Redskins have never lost to a first-year expansion team since they moved to Washington anyway. But they came close twice in 1944, edging the Boston Yanks by scores of 21-14 and 14-7.

The Yanks were run by Ted Collins, better known for managing Kate Smith's singing career. His brief stint in the NFL was a complete disaster. "The trouble with me is that I'm too much of a fan," he once said. "I go overboard for players if I happen to see them play one good game in college. I oversell myself on my team."

Sound like anybody we know?

Reason No.384 why football is better than baseball: Trailing 31-30 with five seconds left last Sunday, Vikings coach Mike Tice went for two points and the win (and beat the Saints). Faced with a similar decision in the Barry Bonds Home Run Ball Case, the judge went for the tie (and told the two fans to sell the ball and split the proceeds).

By the way, did you notice that the judge in the Bonds case was named Kevin McCarthy? If they ever decide to make a movie about the trial, they should call it, "Invasion of the Baseball Snatcher."

Seven thoughts on the Pro Bowl voting:
1. Saints kick returner Michael Lewis should send the Redskins a basket of fruit. Without the game he had in Washington in Week 6 which included returns of 97 (kickoff) and 83 (punt) yards, both for touchdowns he never would have made the NFC squad.
2. I told ya Drew Bledsoe would have "the last laugh in Buffalo" (The Washington Times, Sept.5).
3. Sure Michael Strahan's sack total is down from a record setting 22 last season to 11 (with two games to go) but you have to remember: He didn't get to play against Brett Favre this year.
4. I'll never get used to Pro Bowl fullbacks such as the Bengals' Lorenzo Neal who have stats like these: nine carries, 31 yards, 3.4-yard average, no TDs.
5. Kudos to Ravens personnel whiz Ozzie Newsome. Despite having the last pick in the first round of the 2001 draft (31st overall), he still managed to come away with a Pro Bowler (tight end Todd Heap). The last Super Bowl champ to do that was the Bears in '86 (running back Neal Anderson). Three years earlier, the Redskins pulled it off by selecting a player who, if I'm not mistaken, is still active (Darrell Green).
6. Old friend Charley Casserly found two Pro Bowlers in this year's expansion draft cornerback Aaron Glenn and defensive tackle Gary Walker. And it probably would have been three if offensive tackle Tony Boselli's shoulder had come around.
7. Assuming LaDainian Tomlinson gains 115 yards in the Chargers' final two games, the AFC team will have three 1,600-yard rushers the others being Priest Holmes (1,615) and Ricky Williams (1,668). Never has a Pro Bowl squad been so blessed. In fact, only four times has one of the conferences had even two 1,600-yard men. The most recent was in '97, when the AFC team featured Terrell Davis (1,750) and Jerome Bettis (1,665).

Since you'll probably hear Bing Crosby sing "White Christmas," oh, about 999 times this holiday season, I thought I'd share this note with you from the Detroit Lions' 1947 media guide: "When [Lions coach Gus Dorais] was head coach and athletic director at Gonzaga University [in the early 20s, he] one season had as a student manager a lad named Harry Crosby, now known to the world as Bing."

Future Redskins coach Ray Flaherty also was at Gonzaga around that time. (Crosby attended the school from 1920 to '24, Flaherty from '23 to '26.) Bing was a baseball player, though. It was easier on his throat.

Gonzaga is a basketball power today, but Flaherty pulled plenty of football talent out of his alma mater when he coached the Redskins in the '30s and '40s (e.g. Ed Justice, Max Krause, George "Automatic" Karamatic and Ray and Cecil Hare). One he let get away: Tony Canadeo in 1941. The Packers drafted the former Zag in the ninth round that year, and he went on to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Maybe Florida State quarterback Chris Rix had a legitimate excuse for missing that final exam. Do you think he might have been practicing the Seminoles' "sleeper play"?

The most amazing thing about "The Junction Boys" is that the Texas A&M; team never plays a game. That's gotta be a first for a football film.

I loved Tom Berenger's portrayal of Bear Bryant, but I wish the screenwriter had worked a few more Bearisms into the dialogue. Two of my favorites:
"The first thing a football coach needs when he's starting out is a wife who's willing to put up with a whole lot of neglect. The second thing is a five-year contract."
And: "If anything goes bad, I did it. If anything goes semigood, we did it. If anything goes real good, you did it. That's all it takes to get people to win football games."

The only reservation I have about the Miami Hurricanes is the 45 points they gave up to Virginia Tech. Do you realize no AP national champion has ever allowed that many points in a game? The only ones who've come remotely close:
Penn State, 1982 42 (in 42-21 loss to Alabama).
BYU, 1984 38 (in 41-38 win over Wyoming).
Oklahoma, 1950 35 (in 49-35 win over Nebraska).
Florida State, 1999 35 (in 41-35 win over Georgia Tech).
Nebraska, 1994 32 (in 42-32 win over Wyoming).

And when folks start talking about Miami being perhaps the best team of all time, well, I just don't know. After all, six AP champs surrendered fewer points all season than the Hurricanes did against the Hokies (post-World War II period only). The select half-dozen:
Notre Dame, 1966 (9-0-1) 38 points allowed. Most points given up in a game: 14 (in 26-14 win over Purdue). Shutouts: six. The Irish offense, meanwhile, averaged 36.2 points.
Alabama, 1961 (11-0) 25 points allowed. Most points given up in a game: seven (in 26-7 win over N.C.State). Shutouts: six (including five in a row). The Crimson Tide offense averaged 27 points.
Auburn, 1957 (10-0) 28 points allowed. Most points given up in a game: seven (four times). Shutouts: six. The Tigers' offense averaged 20.7 points.
Maryland, 1953 (10-1) 38 points allowed. Most points given up in a game: 13 (in 40-13 win over Georgia). Shutouts: six. The Terps' offense averaged 27.1 points.
Michigan, 1948 (9-0) 44 points allowed. Most points given up in a game: 20 (in 28-20 win over Illinois). Shutouts: five. The Wolverines offense averaged 28 points a game.
Notre Dame, 1946 (8-0-1) 24 points allowed. Most points given up in a game: six (four times). Shutouts: five. The Irish offense averaged 30.1 points.

In an Internet poll conducted by Esquire magazine the results of which appear in the January issue 3 percent of the male respondents thought Horatio Alger was "the football coach at Notre Dame from 1963 to 1979."

In the same issue of Esquire, former president Gerald R. Ford says, "I still read the sports pages first."

Attention, last-minute Christmas shoppers: If you're looking for a stocking stuffer for someone with a particularly large foot I heartily recommend "From Rock to Jock," the autobiography of Johnny Holliday, voice of the Maryland Terrapins ($22.95, Sports Publishing). It's full of great stories about Johnny's days as a disc jockey (not to mention the time he pitched three innings of one-hit ball in a celebrity baseball game at Yankee Stadium). Local writer/musician Stephen Moore collaborated with him on the book, and the result is a very entertaining read.

In an obituary last week, former St. Louis Browns first baseman Hank Arft was described as a "routine, nondescript major leaguer." Come on, the guy deserves a better sendoff than that. He played five years in the bigs. So let me just point out that on June2,1950, right here in Washington, Arft went 5-for-5 in the first game of a doubleheader against the Senators to lead the Browns to a 10-5 victory.

There, I feel much better now. (And hopefully, Hank does, too wherever he is.)

And finally News item: Three of Romania's leading gymnasts perform in the nude in Japan.
Comment: I've heard of the naked bootleg, but this is ridiculous.

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