Busy week of criticism displays again that Ryan surely isn't everyone's Buddy

PRO FOOTBALL

September 12, 1993|By VITO STELLINO

Buddy Ryan is not exactly a stranger to controversy, but he outdid himself last week.

He managed to get himself knocked publicly by two of his former colleagues and one of the players on his own team.

Not a bad week.

It started Sunday, when NBC commentator Mike Ditka, who was Buddy's boss -- well, officially, anyway -- in Chicago, suggested that the Houston Oilers defensive coordinator would put a bounty out on Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Joe Montana today.

Coach Marty Schottenheimer of the Chiefs, who is not even sure he'll play Montana today before of a sore wrist (or maybe because he doesn't want him facing Ryan's blitzes), didn't exactly disagree.

"I don't think it [trying to get quarterbacks] exists among reasonable people in our league," Schottenheimer said. "It may exist among the one or two people who are unreasonable in our league."

Would Schottenheimer mind identifying those people?

"I think you know who they are," he said.

Would any of those people happen to be on the Chiefs' schedule this year?

"They might be," he said.

Would they be on the schedule this week?

"No comment," he said.

Ryan, of course, denied all the charges.

"As far as trying to take a cheap shot at a quarterback, we've never done that," he said. "We've knocked a few out of the game, but it's by a legal blitz. It's their responsibility to pick up the blitz, not mine."

One controversy a week would be enough for most coaches, but Ryan was just warming up.

He got ripped by Oilers wide receiver Ernest Givins for knocking the team's offense.

"I think he ought to keep his comments to himself," Givins said. "Jack Pardee's our head coach, not Buddy Ryan. Jack's got enough problems trying to get to the Super Bowl. He doesn't need any more distractions. . . . We're in this boat together, and the boat can't float with only one side working."

Ryan responded: "I don't even know who he is. I'll tell you one thing: I haven't said anything about our offense."

Well, he does call it the run-and-shoot the run-and-duck and chuck-and-duck, but he said: "That's what I called it when Jerry Glanville put it in here. If somebody's a little tender, he ought to get out of the kitchen."

Quarterback Warren Moon said: "Everybody just needs to shut up and start playing."

After all, the Oilers were drilled by the New Orleans Saints, 33-21, in the opener.

But there's still more. Up in Philadelphia, head coach Rick Kotite said Ryan used to lie to reporters.

Lying to reporters is not exactly unheard of in the coaching ranks, but Kotite said: "Now, when's the last time I ever lied to you? You had someone here who loved to do it. He used to go, 'Ooh, hoo, hoo, wait till I tell them this.' I tell you what I consider to be the truth."

Ryan replied: "He's already lost all of my players. He's going to have a hell of a time. . . . He doesn't know his [rear] from third base. If it was someone who had some credibility, it would be different."

How's Ryan going to top all this next week?

The expansion derby

The pullout by James Busch Orthwein, who also owns the New England Patriots, as the lead investor in the St. Louis expansion group didn't make any difference to the league office. It is still supporting St. Louis and Charlotte, N.C., for the expansion effort.

But the league now has to persuade the owners to bypass Baltimore for two offers that are obviously inferior.

If what happened at an owners meeting in Dallas on Wednesday is any indication, commissioner Paul Tagliabue is no sure bet to pull that off.

Tagliabue tried to sell the owners on starting up the World Leagueagain in 1994. He had seven of the 10 votes on the committee, but he didn't come close to getting it passed.

Lobbying just isn't Tagliabue's forte. He's not good at selling his ideas. He simply wants them rubber-stamped. It didn't help that the presentation was poorly organized. He said he wanted to start up a six-team league in Europe, but didn't even have the cities lined up.

When it became obvious that there were only between 10 to 14 owners in favor of going ahead, they didn't even conduct a vote. The matter was tabled for 1994, and they'll talk in the future about starting up in 1995.

Tagliabue also muddied the waters by suggesting the NFL play three regular-season games each year overseas. That means each team would play one regular-season game in Europe every five years.

That'll never fly (teams won't give up home-field advantage) and Rankin Smith, owner of the Atlanta Falcons, noted his lease at the Georgia Dome stipulates he has to play all his home games there. Some other teams probably have similar leases.

The unfortunate thing about all this is that the World League is a good idea for the NFL because it can spread the popularity of the league.

But if Tagliabue can't sell a good idea to the owners, it's difficult to believe he can sell them on the bad idea of passing up the money in the Baltimore deal.

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