A win may not save Bugel's job, but it could cost buddy Glanville his


January 02, 1994|By VITO STELLINO

Joe Bugel and Jerry Glanville roomed together in a log cabin back in 1967 when they were assistant coaches at Western Kentucky.

They drew up plays on the back of pizza boxes and dreamed of bigger things ahead.

They eventually went on to become NFL head coaches, and their paths will cross again today in a meaningless season finale at the Georgia Dome.

Their teams -- Bugel's Phoenix Cardinals and Glanville's Atlanta Falcons -- are both 6-9 and there's only one thing at stake -- their jobs.

In a year in which there's not likely to be much coaching turnover in the NFL, Bugel and Glanville are at the top of the list of coaches who have to worry about job security.

Bugel's fate already may be sealed. Owner Bill Bidwill gave him an ultimatum at the start of the year that he had to win nine games to save his job.

He can't reach that goal now and it doesn't help that the man who hired him, Larry Wilson, has resigned as general manager.

But the players like Bugel, they've won three of their past four and they hope a victory today and a 7-9 record will save his job.

That may be wishful thinking, but the players are convinced better days are ahead.

"It's sad we don't have eight more games," linebacker Eric Hill said. "Playing at this level, I think we're unstoppable. I hate to talk about next year."

Bugel said: "This team will be in the Super Bowl one of these years."

Bugel may not be coaching it, though. The interesting thing is that if the Cardinals win one for Bugel, it may not save his job and could cost his friend Glanville his job.

Unlike Bugel, Glanville doesn't have much support among the players and the team is sagging -- losing back-to-back road games to Washington and Cincinnati.

"My contract says I get paid until March of 1995," Glanville said, "Other than that, I don't think about it."

Glanville has two things going for him. The Falcons would have to eat his contract at about $800,000 if they fired him and, Taylor Smith, the son of owner Rankin Smith, is supporting him.

But Rankin Smith may step in if he's worried about selling tickets. The Falcons lost 17 percent of their season-ticket base from the first to the second year at the Georgia Dome. It's likely to drop again -- especially if Glanville is back. Although they've sold about 56,000 tickets for today's game, only about 30,000 may show.

It could turn out that the two old friends are both coaching their last NFL games against each other.

Tex can't believe it

Ted Schramm, the former boss of the Dallas Cowboys, can't believe what's happened in the league he once shaped.

Schramm, who quit as the Cowboys president shortly after Jerry Jones bought the team in 1989, was stunned when the NFL gave the NFC package to Fox over CBS.

He said it was an example of "greed, greed, greed" among the new breed of owners.

"It's just a very sad thing when you see something like this can happen," Schramm said. "When you think of trading CBS for Fox with 120 UHF stations, it's ludicrous. There's got to be a point where style and class mean something. It just makes me sick because I spent 40 years in the league. To see this happening just kills me."

He said that in the old days, "There was just a different attitude in that what was best for the league came first. Now it's designed to be a money-making machine."

The strange thing is that while the TV committee was grabbing the money from Fox, the owners left a lot of money on the table because of the way they handled the negotiations.

When they made a "gentlemen's agreement" with NBC, the deal was that Fox could still bid against NBC, but CBS couldn't. So when CBS came back and bid $250 million for the AFC package, compared to NBC's $217 million bid, CBS was turned down.

League officials simply say that was the "process."

Now there's a familiar word. They talked about the "process" when Baltimore was bypassed for expansion.

One owner who didn't like the deal even told a CBS staffer, "They did the same thing to CBS that they did to Baltimore."

At least when they bypassed Baltimore, they had a reason. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue wanted the Baltimore market for Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke.

Nobody has yet to figure out why the bidding process was weighted against CBS.

Maybe the owners will get an explanation when they meet in Dallas Wednesday to ratify the deal.

Modell's explanation

Art Modell, owner of the Cleveland Browns, finally gave an explanation for why he voted for Jacksonville in the expansion derby even though his good friend, Al Lerner, was leading the Baltimore effort.

"I wasn't voting for or against Al Lerner. I was voting for a city," Modell told the Akron Beacon-Journal last week, "I felt Jacksonville was a better prospect for the NFL. It's virgin territory. It's another Green Bay in the making. It's going to be around a long, long time as an extremely important franchise."

Modell also had an explanation for why Lerner never commented publicly on his Baltimore effort.

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