Soap opera weekend has Buddy on 'Edge of Flight,' but stay tuned

Phil Jackman

January 07, 1991|By Phil Jackman

They say life mirrors art. Actually, that's not what Seneca said at all, but it's close enough for our purposes.

One of the lead characters on the soap opera "Another World" is named Ryan, which seems extremely appropriate thinking back

over Wild Card Weekend.

Another world, time and dimension was where Philadelphia Eagles coach Buddy was coming from when he momentarily benched Randall Cunningham during a drubbing administered by the Washington Redskins.

The curmudgeon of Philly has long imbued his rakish Eagles with a siege mentality. Imagine their surprise when he turned on them. Anyway, it made for good early afternoon viewing, which indeed all games did.

* UNGUIDING LIGHT: Bulbous Buddy, obsessed with his ability, says he gives himself an A-plus grade for his coaching this year. Besides yanking Randall, his team played uninspired ball as it got bounced from the first round of the playoffs for the third straight year. No matter, Buddy bided his time chewing gum and answering calls to his radio program on the sidelines. Ol' butterfingers Earnest got a break when eye in the sky officials declared his bobble leading to a 94-yard touchdown in the opposite direction was no fumble at all. Joe waved bye-bye to Buddy's back as he harrumphs off the field, perhaps sensing he's about to be dropped from the show. Nay, nay, a thousand times nay, says Buddy, who figures he won't be out of a job "because I built this team, and why would I want someone else [coming in] to get all the credit?"

* RUN FOR OUR LIVES: All roads led to the Houston end zone as Ickey got to do his shuffle and Boomer pitched up a storm. Cody, taking Warren's place, not only had trouble handling a slippery ball but distinguishing jersey colors. With just one first down in the first half, it was decided to change the name of the run-and-shoot to the run-and-hide.

James goes to the hospital and after open-thumb surgery receives the good news that he'll probably be able to play next weekend. The 41-14 mugging laid on the Oilers puts everyone's season-ending celebration on hold on the flight home to Texas.

* THE COLD AND THE RESTLESS: Mike, who started out with Bears fans on his back, gets a big break when instant replay officials order dozens of reviews and the frozen faithful in Chicago turn their wrath their way. Despite an awful call from the bench -- a double reverse? -- Mike drives team 83 yards to only touchdown needed in the game. Steve sits on the sidelines, learning plays until lost in action under a avalanche wrapped in No. 72.

The Other Mike learns it is to be his day when Neal throws the ball straight up in the air and right into the waiting arms of Ron who is standing just 27 feet from pay dirt. Throughout, it's a Big John type of game, the world's most famous bus passenger reveling in the fact nothing is happening but a bunch of 290-pound guys are having a ball slugging it out at arm's length. The Other Mike, who is accused of mellowing, must hide his true feelings for Mike I while wondering if the lad might do better as a lefthander.

Meanwhile, coach Jim, proud of his team's 8-9 record, learned some interesting information about football: Don't throw the ball to Ironhead in the end zone, and it's tough to play without semblance of an offense.

* ONE GAME TO WATCH: The best game easily was the one taking place in Miami. Natural (dry) grass. Sun. Different styles. Don and Mark are reunited via the airwaves for the 66th time in their careers and the score caps a terrific comeback sending the Fish to the deep freeze (Buffalo). The Marauders from the Midwest had the game in control until the final act when the 80-degree climate took its toll.

Despite totaling just three points through three periods, and that on a awesome 58-yard field goal by Pete, coach Don refuses to yank pitcher Don (a la Buddy) and the latter comes through. His pass to Mark was low and away, the perfect spot, and while Albert is an inch from being a hero, he is fitted for goat's horns nonetheless.

Poor Nick is preparing to kick a winning three-pointer of no more than 30 yards when rookie David is noted holding. Nick backs off to the next area code and still barely misses.

Great theater, all of it, made infinitely better by no victorious coach being christened by a bucket of whatever. Now if the director can just get rid of a few of those work stoppages, otherwise known as instant replay reviews.

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