- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 27, 2002

First Michael and Juanita Jordan, and now Pat Summerall and John Madden. It's been a tough couple of weeks.

At least Dan Snyder and Vinny Cerrato are getting back together.

If I were Houston Texans general manager Charley Casserly, I'd take Sean Gilbert in the expansion draft just so I could cut him.

I hear Brett Favre is getting his own TV show. They're gonna call it "Pardon the Interception."

Speaking of Summerall, I found myself thinking about him last Saturday night after Adam Vinatieri kicked that 45-yard field goal in the snow to send the Patriots' game against the Raiders into overtime. Pat booted one almost exactly like that in the last game of the '58 regular season to give the Giants a 13-10 victory over the Browns and force a playoff for the Eastern Conference title. If he had missed, Cleveland would have gone to the championship game and there would have been no sudden death game between the Giants and Colts. How's that for influencing pro football history?
Summerall's field goal was even longer than Vinatieri's 49 yards. It was also the longest of his career and the longest in the NFL that season. As clutch kicks go, it might be the all-timer.

Summerall was a pretty fair kicker, all right. "There's only one way to defense him," Redskins scout Wayne Millner once cracked, "and that's by giving him an ingrown toenail."

Little-known fact: Summerall was born with a clubfoot his right (kicking) one. "Basically it was turned around backwards," he once said. "At that time, the way they treated it was by breaking both bones in the bottom of the leg and just turning the foot around. The doctor told my mother afterward that I would be able to walk, but I would probably never be able to run or play with other kids. As time passed, however, through nature's help and the Good Lord's help, it got better and better."

People tend to forget that Summerall was part of the Redskins' broadcast team for a spell in the '60s. He had previously been the color man for the Giants, but the club decided to replace him because he was too good at predicting, as the New York offense broke its huddle, what play it would run. The front office was afraid he might be helping the opposition. (Or so the story goes.)

Of course the Raiders got jobbed in New England, but don't feel too sorry for them. They're the team, remember, that won a game in 1978 on the infamous Forward Fumble.
(For the uninitiated, that was when Oakland's Kenny Stabler, on the verge of being sacked in the final seconds against San Diego, flipped the ball underhand toward the line of scrimmage, and Dave Casper batted it into the end zone and recovered it for the winning touchdown. A rule was passed the next year to prevent such a play from happening again, but it was too late to help the Chargers, who missed the playoffs because of the Raiders' subterfuge.)

I mentioned in last Tuesday's column that the Eagles hadn't allowed more than 21 points in any game this season. This piqued my curiosity. I mean, just how rare a feat is that? My findings: Philly is only the fifth club since 1960 to pull it off. The others:
The '92 Saints (12-4 record, 202 points allowed), led by killer linebackers RickeyJackson, Pat Swilling, Sam Mills and Vaughan Johnson.
The '71 Colts (10-4, 140), starring defensive end Bubba Smith and 'backers Ted Hendricks and Mike Curtis.
The '70 Vikings (12-2, 143), featuring the Purple People Eaters (Alan Page, Carl Eller and Co.).
The '63 Bears (11-1-2, 144), led by defensive coordinator George Allen, defensive end Doug Atkins, linebacker Bill George and a safety named Richie Petitbon.
The Eagles have played the most games of the bunch 18 in all (16 regular season, two postseason). The Saints held their 16 regular-season opponents to 21 or fewer points but gave up 36 in the first round of the playoffs. The Vikings also kept it going for 16 games (14 regular season, two postseason) but surrendered 23 in the Super Bowl. Ditto the Colts, who lost in the AFC Championship game. As for the Bears, they played just 15 games (14 regular season, plus the title game).
The '77 Falcons, who allowed a minuscule 129 points to the Eagles' 208 didn't make the list. Neither did Pittsburgh's Steel Curtain defense. (Not even the '76 unit that gave up only 138 points and limited its last nine opponents to a total of 28). Also conspicuously absent: the '85 Bears.
The Redskins team that came closest was the '77 club (9-5, 196), George Allen's last in Washington. The hated Cowboys scored 34 on 'em, but nobody else got more than 20.

Yes, that's former Redskins tight end Anthony Jones who was just named coach at Division I-AA Alabama A&M; (alma mater of another ex-Redskins tight end, Michael Williams). Jones caught just four passes in his NFL career (1984-88), which ended in San Diego, but he more than pulled his weight by being a terrific special teams player.
His A&M; club will be going up against are you ready for this? former teammate Doug Williams' Grambling outfit in the SWAC. In fact, they both coached at Morehouse before getting their current jobs Doug in '97 and Anthony from '99 to this past season.

Injury report of the week: WBC president Jose Sulaiman, concussion (probable).

Just wondering: Did high school phenom Ty Tyron need a hall pass to play in the Phoenix Open?

Ty has an entourage of 11, by the way (excluding family members) two swing coaches, a trainer, a yoga instructor, a tutor, an image consultant, a caddie, a sports psychologist, an agent and two massage therapists.
And that's just for the front nine. On the back, he's joined by a makeup man, a short-order cook, a personal shopper, a tax attorney and most important of all for a 17-year-old a dermatologist.

I can't see Charles Howell III's name on a leader board without thinking of Jim Backus' character in "Gilligan's Island" Thurston Howell III.

Thurston's wife was named Lovey which also happens to be the name of the St. Louis Rams' defensive coordinator (Lovie Smith), for whatever that's worth.

You're Never Too old to Learn, Even at 48: I wasn't aware until Phil Mickelson earned one last weekend at the Hope, that is that a golfer gets a lifetime exemption on the PGA Tour when he wins his 20th tournament. (Maybe it's because it doesn't happen very often any more.) Do you realize Phil now has as many victories as Hale Irwin, one more than Tom Kite, two more than Greg Norman and three more than Curtis Strange?
His next title will tie him with Gary Player, and the one after that will pull him even with Raymond Floyd. And he's still only 31.

After 21/2 years of incubation, we're beginning to see the first stirrings of Jonathan Bender, one of the Indiana Pacers' straight-out-of-high-school striplings. Bender averaged 13.3 points over his last four games before last night, and his playing time already on the rise figures to increase even more now that Al Harrington is done for the season. He's an unusual package, to say the least: A 7-footer who can hit the 3.

Wouldn't it be more fitting if the contestants being grilled by John McEnroe in "The Chair" sat in a tennis referee's chair?

And finally, did you notice Texas Tech (26th) got more votes than Indiana (30th) in the AP men's basketball balloting last week? It didn't take Bobby Knight long, did it?

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