The TV Repairman:
One of the segments of the "Highlights for Highbrows" show on "This is the NFL" on Channel 2 Sunday at noon is Tom Clancy's "Hunt for Red Cashion." Get it? Red Cashion's a referee. Contemporary artists are given the opportunity by NFL Films to do their thing with a football theme. Oliver Stone's "The SBIII Conspiracy" should be a hoot, too, as it deals with you know what Super Bowl. Good grief, was Bubba Smith right?
* HTS is bringing in the general managers again for a 90-minute gabfest on the exploits of the Orioles, Redskins, Bullets and Capitals in '93, and the show will be aired Christmas night at 7:30. One of these years, they should inject Roland Hemond, Charlie Casserly, John Nash and David Poile with truth serum and see what happens.
* Citing a fan poll conducted by CBS News, the NFL is crowing that nearly four of five people viewing pro games these days find the action as exciting or even more so today than 10 years ago. Bull!
For one thing, who off the top of their heads during a 30-second phone call can recall what transpired during the 1983 season? And, truthfully, can anyone recall so many games being played wherein field goals constitute the only scoring?
Incidentally, in the NFC playoffs a decade ago, the Rams beat the Cowboys, 24-17, in the wild-card game, the 49ers defeated the Lions, 24-23, in a conference semifinal and the Redskins gained the Super Bowl by edging the 49ers, 24-21. Sound pretty exciting?
* You could do worse than checking out the Division I-AA title showdown between Marshall and Youngstown State on CBS tomorrow at noon. These two are meeting for the third straight year, always provide an explosive show and Marshall running back Chris Parker is worth the watch.
* The pro games tomorrow are the Broncos visiting Soldier Field for what has a 6-3 score written all over it against the Bears on NBC at 12:30, and the Cowboys visiting the Jets on CBS at 4 p.m.
Jets players spent the week complaining about all the no-shows at their home games (there will be about 30,000 tomorrow), not bothering to remember they don't score touchdowns anymore, just kick field goals, and the tickets are paid for, after all. Jets fans have been known to show up at Giants Stadium, tailgate for a couple of hours and then head home, never bothering to go inside.
* Don't forget, Showtime has that ring tripleheader from the fistic hotbed of Puebla, Mexico, Sunday night (10:30) -- Julio Cesar Chavez (88-0-1) taking on Andy Holligan (21-0), Terry Norris (36-3) and Simon Brown (39-2) threatening to fight each other for about the fifth time, and Michael Nunn (41-1) going against Merqui Sosa (22-3).
Boxing add: Now that we have a clue why Riddick Bowe wasn't eager to risk the title when he was heavyweight champ, taking on tomato cans Jesse Ferguson and Michael Dokes before losing a return bout to Evander Holyfield, it seems a bit strange that HBO is going along with Bowe fighting unknown South African Francois Botha Feb. 5. Once describing itself as a "five-star restaurant" as opposed to ESPN being the "automat," some of the premium cable's ring efforts these days are taking on the appearance of a soup kitchen.
* Mike Ditka, out of the NBC studio and doing games for a change, is interesting if not always understood. Doing the Jets-Redskins 3-0 thriller last Saturday, Ditka said, "I don't understand fans" when they gave Washington quarterback Rich Gannon the business for not moving the club. Two breaths later, he said, "This is as ineptly as I've ever seen the Redskins play. They look as if they don't have a clue on offense. But I don't blame [coach] Richie Petitbon." Oh yeah, those coaches stick together.
And, Mike, leave the blood, sweat and mud meanderings to Big John over at CBS; that's Madden's Schtick.
* As if that 3-0 stinker at RFK Stadium last week wasn't bad enough, the NBC affiliate in Washington (Ch. 4) gave just cursory coverage to the Heisman Trophy award show so that it could rush back to a Redskins locker room show. Teams with 3-10 records should be allowed to slink off into a corner and lick their wounds.
* The way things have gone with the Maryland basketball program since Gary Williams showed up to coach five years ago, I think I'd be embarrassed with those "Gary-land" ads on Ch. 11 if I was the head Terp.
* Would someone please explain how Shaquille O'Neal's busting up another glass backboard somehow inspires people to go rushing out to purchase whatever it is the manchild from Orlando is pushing.
* The Johnnie Walker World Championship golf from Jamaica tomorrow and Sunday at 4 p.m. on ABC should be a welcome haven from college hoops and the helmet-heads for brief stretches the next two days.
Meanwhile, if you can tear yourself away from the Caps playing Ottawa on HTS or the Knicks and Bulls playing on TNT at 8 o'clock tonight, the bowl season kicks off with a biggie, Ball State and Utah State colliding in the "grandson of all the bowls," the Las Vegas Bowl.