Al Davis puts those baseball card autograph shows to shame.
"If things were any better, it would be illegal," he said.
Jim Finks, the New Orleans Saints general manager who lost the commissioner's job to Tagliabue, said Tagliabue has to work on the public-relations aspects of the job.
"We're all impressed with the energy and ability that Paul has shown in trying circumstances," he said. "He's really getting his arm around the job. The one thing he will learn is that everything a commissioner says is news. There's no such thing as a throwaway line by an NFL commissioner."
Finks cited such comments that the NFL could expand to Canada in 1993, London in 2000 and could get a collective-bargaining agreement by the end of the year.
All three are unlikely to happen, but were taken seriously because Tagliabue said them.
Indianapolis Colts running back Eric Dickerson will get his hearing with Tagliabue tomorrow, but he's not likely to get back in uniform right away.
Meanwhile, the Colts were risking young quarterback Jeff George's health by throwing him to the wolves in the first game. It was no surprise that Cornelius Bennett of the Buffalo Bills knocked him out of the opener with a concussion.
George is back this week for more punishment, but the Colts' porous line is likely to make things hazardous for him.
The Colts-New England Patriots game features a not-so-friendly reunion between Colts coach Ron Meyer and Patriots coach Rod Rust.
In 1984, Rust was Meyer's defensive coordinator. Meyer tried to fire Rust, but Patriots management intervened, kept Rust, fired Meyer and hired Raymond Berry as head coach. When Berry was fired this year, Rust, who was working for the Pittsburgh Steelers, got the head job.
"This is the game between the Colts and the Patriots, not between the coaches," Meyer said.
"I have no ill feelings about Rod Rust whatsoever."
Checking the clock: The first week of the season, the games averaged 3 hours, 4 minutes, down from 3:11 last year. Seven games were finished in less than three hours.
But the fourth quarter of Monday night's game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Saints didn't start until 11:30 p.m., and the end came after midnight.
It was a great finish on Tuesday Morning Football for those who went to bed and taped the fourth quarter.
Despite much speculation that Tex Schramm's new World League of American Football might be sliced from 12 to 10 teams, the board of directors reaffirmed its desire Thursday to stick with a 12-team league.
But if 12 teams are to be fielded by next spring, Schramm has to make a lot of progress before the owners' October meeting.
Schramm has yet to line up owners in any of the cities.
When Bill Walsh was complaining during the Chicago Bears-Seattle Seahawks telecast that the Bears shouldn't allow Dan Hampton to play on his bad knees, he even blamed the sportswriters.
"Even the sportswriters are fascinated, rather than shooting straight and telling the guy he ought to retire," Walsh said.
Does anybody remember Walsh listening to sportswriters when he was coach of the 49ers?
Hampton, noting that Walsh didn't tell Joe Montana not to play after back surgery in 1986, said, "I think he's a big hypocrite and a fool."
Walsh is probably right that Hampton is going to pay a heavy price for playing after undergoing knee surgery 10 times, but they're his knees and it's his life.