- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 25, 2005

Memo to all Presidents Cuppers: No tie this time, please. If we don’t have resolution by nightfall, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player should decide it with a nearest-to-the-pin contest.

• • •

Boy, David Toms and Stewart Cink really took it on the chin Thursday in their 6-and-5 loss to Trevor Immelman and Mike Weir. I mean, that match was over faster than Renee Zellweger’s marriage.

• • •

On the plus side for the Americans, none of them has been accused by Rafael Palmeiro of supplying him with vitamin B-12.

• • •

Though I wouldn’t be surprised if Fluff Cowan kept a stash in Jim Furyk’s bag.

• • •

Speaking of Palmeiro, I can’t wait to see how he tries to wriggle out of this one. He’ll probably claim he was misunderstood, that what he really said to the arbitration panel was, “Tejada gave me a really cool B-52s CD.”

• • •

Did you know one of the voters in the new Harris college football poll is Brentson Buckner, the Carolina Panthers’ defensive tackle? The Harris people want as broad a cross-section of pollsters as possible, it seems, and figure they should have at least one 310-pound guy who has been suspended by the NFL for steroids.

• • •

Who do you suppose Martha Stewart had No.1 on her Harris ballot this week?

• • •

Clinton Portis says in the current issue of Sports Illustrated that “I don’t know any” Rolling Stones songs. Hey, Clinton, what about “Start Me Up,” which is only played on the PA system at FedEx Field before every opening kickoff?

• • •

On the subject of Redskins — former Redskins, that is — did you see Gary Hogeboom, briefly a backup quarterback with the team in 1990, is a contestant on “Survivor: Guatemala”? Hogeboom should be one of the favorites, having engaged in a pitched battle with Danny White for the Dallas QB job in the 1980s — and lived to tell about it.

• • •

These quarterbacks have all the fun, don’t they? Hogeboom lands a spot on “Survivor,” Jesse Palmer gets fought over by hot babes on “The Bachelor.” What’s next, Art Schlichter in “Taxicab Confessions” — as the driver?

• • •

In other pro football news, Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich was fined $5,000 for giving the finger to Colts assistant John Teerlinck, whose defense sacked him six times last Sunday. NFL policy prohibits such a gesture, according to a spokesman, though nose thumbing and the chanting of “nana nana boo boo” are still permissible.

• • •

The NFL’s supply of soccer-style kickers is almost infinite now. When one gets hurt, as the Redskins’ John Hall did recently, the team just flies in a half-dozen more to audition. It wasn’t always that way, though — as the death last week of Toni Fritsch, the ex-Cowboys/Chargers/Saints leg man, reminds us.

In the early 1970s, after sidewinders Pete Gogolak and Jan Stenerud had revolutionized kicking, NFL clubs were forced to go to Europe to find soccer players capable of booting an American football. That’s how Fritsch, who had played on the Austrian national team, was discovered.

A few years earlier, Chiefs coach Hank Stram went on an expedition to England. He already had Stenerud, the best in the business, “but we thought we might find some good kickers to bring back with us to use as incentives in trading for players,” he said in the autobiography he wrote with Lou Sahadi, “They’re Playing My Game.”

The first tryout, at White City Stadium in London, attracted 110 aspirants. The Chiefs contingent set up portable goal posts and, well, I’ll let Stram take it from there:

“Each [candidate] got three kicks. We lined up the first 10 in a row and had them go at it sequentially, while we measured each kick’s distance. Number seven booted the ball about 70 yards. I took a close look at him: Bob Howfield, London. He was a little guy in a brown sweater, slacks and a beat-up shirt. In the second round of kicks, the seventh man banged it 65 yards, but there was something wrong.”

Howfield had kicked the first with his right foot, the second with his left. “I kick with both feet, naturally,” he told the dumbfounded Stram. The Chiefs took him back to the States along with two other prospects, and he wound up kicking for seven seasons for the Broncos and Jets. In fact, he led the AFC in scoring in 1972 with 121 points.

• • •

It must have been quite a scene, Stram trying to explain American football to a bunch of soccer players. The players seemed to like the idea, though, that “those who qualified could each earn about 8,000 American dollars a year by sitting on a bench during an American football game, trotting in to kick the ball for an extra point or perhaps a field goal [of] 20 to 50 yards, then trotting back to the bench,” the coach wrote. “They couldn’t believe that was all they had to do.”

• • •

Women’s rights activist Martha Burk is now targeting the NHL for what she terms “offensive” TV ads that portray women as “sex object.” Unlike the Masters folks, however, Gary Bettman and Co. are trying to placate her. In fact, they’ve offered to let her drive the Zamboni at the All-Star Game if she’ll simmer down.

• • •

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen the ads. And if they’re “clearly selling sex and violence” — as Martha maintains — I probably won’t, since I don’t get the Playboy Channel.

• • •

The San Antonio Saints.

The Oklahoma City Hornets.

Maybe it’s just me, but no team name — even the name of a team uprooted by a hurricane — will ever sound that strange as long as the Utah Jazz are around. It’s like I’ve been immunized for life.

• • •

A study by the American Society of Microbiology found that 37 percent of men and 16 percent of women left the bathroom at Atlanta’s Turner Field without washing their hands — the highest figures of any venue.

The society plans to conduct a follow-up study to determine which is the greater threat to public health, the high-five or the low-five.

• • •

After that, perhaps the group will look into the possibility of illnesses and diseases being transmitted by spitballs. Wouldn’t it be something if they traced a flu epidemic in the 1970s to a foul ball off Gaylord Perry that landed in the seats?

• • •

This doesn’t have anything to do with sports, but: In the parking lot the other day, I saw a woman open the car door after placing her hand in a baggie. I kid you not.

• • •

Tales of the Weird, Part 2: Brett Blackwell, an Australian-rules football player, had his left ring finger amputated last week so that the digit — achy and largely immobile since being broken in 2002 — wouldn’t get in the way of his game.

Good thing the correct finger was removed, otherwise Blackwell might have hit the Cutoff Man.

• • •

It might seem a little extreme, hacking off a finger to be a better footballer, but look at it this way: He won’t have to spend nearly as much time washing his hands.

• • •

And finally …

Taking advantage of the new NCAA rule, the Maryland basketball program will begin Midnight Madness at 8p.m. on Oct.14. If Lefty Driesell were still the coach, he’d probably move the practice to Nova Scotia so he could get an hour’s jump on the Tar Heels.


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide