Saints fans devilish in booing QB Wilson

PRO FOOTBALL

December 26, 1993|By VITO STELLINO

New Orleans Saints fans weren't in a holiday mood Monday night, when the team lost to the New York Giants.

When quarterback Wade Wilson went down with a knee injury and was in obvious pain, the fans cheered.

ABC sportscaster Dan Dierdorf called the fans "classless pigs," and Wilson said: "It was low-class and uncalled-for. Those people have to live with themselves."

Even opposing coach Dan Reeves of the Giants seemed shocked.

"I've been in the game for 29 years, and I don't think I've heard someone cheer when one of their players got hurt," Reeves said. "I've heard cheers when the other team's players got hurt, which I always thought was bad in itself. But when you do that for one of your own players, I couldn't believe it."

Saints coach Jim Mora was even more annoyed.

"Those are some sick, sick, sick, sick people," he said. "Mentally sick. I thought it was horrible, disgusting, embarrassing, shameful. It stunk."

He continued in that vein and finally said: "What's the world coming to when people cheer when somebody gets hurt? What is sports coming to when they do those kinds of things?"

Unfortunately, it's probably a sign of the times. In this big-money era, the fans don't have much patience. They have to pay inflated prices to see the games, they know what the players are making and they want results.

Chicago Bears owner Mike McCaskey, a former Ivy League professor, gave a more scholarly view of the problem when he talked about the flak quarterback Jim Harbaugh is getting in Chicago.

"I think what we're seeing is a sea change in people's attitudes toward athletes, entertainers and politicians," McCaskey said. "I'll leave it to the sociologists to decide whether it's television, an emphasis on instant gratification, advertising, the disappearance of Latin from the school curriculum or the weakening of the nuclear family. People wiser than I can decide why it is."

Incentive

The San Francisco 49ers and the Giants are the two teams blocking the Dallas Cowboys' road to the Super Bowl. The Cowboys obviously think the 49ers have better talent from their Pro Bowl vote.

They voted six 49ers on their first team -- Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Jesse Sapolu, Guy McIntyre, Tim McDonald and Harris Barton. They didn't vote one Giant on the first team. The Giants may remember that when they play the Cowboys next week.

The fans also were allowed to vote this year, and their vote is supposed to count one-third, but the ballot was so confusing that few fans voted.

The Pro Bowl selections will be announced on ESPN next Tuesday night. The league is trying to turn everything into a TV show.

The signal

Los Angeles Rams owner Georgia Frontiere sent a public message last week: She's thinking about moving.

The fact that gave her first interview in several years to the Los Angeles Times and talked about exploring her options was a signal that she at least will consider it.

On the West Coast, the feeling is that she'll even decide to give the city of Anaheim the 15 months' notice that she must give before she can get out of her lease at Anaheim Stadium.

Giving notice doesn't mean she'll move -- the odds are probably less than 50-50 right now that she'll do it -- but it would open the door for serious talks with Baltimore officials, and those talks could take on a momentum of their own.

Frontiere probably hasn't made up her mind whether to move and probably doesn't relish the hassle that goes with moving. But if she starts the process, the logic of a move could prove to be overwhelming.

The interesting thing is that pressure from commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Jack Kent Cooke's talk of moving the Washington Redskins to Laurel haven't deterred her from at least considering a move.

Meanwhile, the team's vice president, John Shaw, is keeping his options open.

He seems about to agree to an extension of the lease at the team's training facility that would give the Rams an escape clause and allow them to leave by 1995.

The ??? Patriots

Gov. William Weld still is trying to get a $700 million megaplex (a convention center and domed football stadium) passed by the Massachusetts legislature to save the New England Patriots from being moved.

He said Tagliabue said he would "push very hard" for a Boston Super Bowl if the bill passed, although the owners wouldn't be thrilled with another northern Super Bowl.

House Speaker Charles Flaherty, one of the key opponents of the megaplex, has softened his opposition if Boston can get premier events, such as the Super Bowl.

Weld said he thinks that a deal to finance the project is closer to reality.

"I think it's moving," Weld said last week. "I have increasingly the sense . . . that it will get done in January, if not by Jan. 4," the end of the legislative session.

If the bill passes, it's likely a local group would buy the team from St. Louis businessman James Orthwein, who is trying to sell.

The club is in such bad financial shape that it's no longer viable at Foxboro Stadium.

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