Maybe Cornhuskers should be in Supe

January 19, 1995|By PHIL JACKMAN


At the rate the betting line for the Super Bowl is going -- 17, 18, 19, all aboard! -- it could be in triple figures before XXIX graces our televisions Jan. 29. Nebraska might not be that much of a 'dog.

* Here's a statistic that might stop you in your tracks: Mike Schmidt had 10 league-leading totals in home runs and RBIs during his career, which outdoes well-known sluggers like Henry Aaron (8), Ted Williams (8), Jimmie Foxx (7), Lou Gehrig (7), Hack Wilson (6), Mickey Mantle (5), Reggie Jackson (5) and Willie Mays (4). The Bambino scored a huge 18, a dozen in homers.

* Some figure filbert unearthed the shocking statistic that just eight of the 28 major-league teams had a stopper who had at least 10 saves last year and an average of 20 saves during the past two seasons. Which, if the trend holds up, could produce the situation of teams having to rely on its starting pitchers. Egad, what a revolutionary idea in this day of a pitcher being credited with a "quality start" if he shows up and puts his uniform on correctly.

* All of a sudden, Mike Shanahan again is a hot coaching property because he has the pleasure of working with the likes of Steve Young and Jerry Rice as the 49ers' offensive coordinator: "Go score a touchdown, fellas." We say again because the same thing happened in 1988 after Tom Flores quit as Raiders coach after nine seasons, 91 wins and two Super Bowl titles. It took Al Davis 40 days to make the decision on Shanahan and just 20 games (8-12) to send Mike on his way.

* Respect, a word that seems to crop up in at least half the stories on the sports pages these days, will be tossed around incessantly for the next 10 days or so as Super Sunday approaches. The San Diego Chargers, truth be known, aren't highly regarded, if you hear them tell it. But it's nothing compared to the ol' American Football League days.

First in Los Angeles and then down the coast, the Chargers were dominant during the AFL's first six seasons, making it into the title game five times. Only trouble was they got beat four times and everyone figured, take these guys out of the balmy breezes and Balboa Stadium and they can be had.

* Last season, the Washington Capitals had a winning record and sneaked into the NHL playoffs at the last minute. But they were 13-15-4 against Atlantic Division foes and 12-13-3 against Northeast Division opponents, the sum and substance of their all-Eastern Conference schedule this abbreviated campaign.

By the way, the Caps say they averaged 14,000 spectators a game last year but, while complaining they lost $8 million, 'fessed up to paying the state amusement tax on just 11,000 per game.

* Of the 33 players relinquishing college eligibility (so far) for the NFL draft April 22-23, Florida State and Ohio State lead the parade with three each. State, you can understand, John Cooper being the coach, but Bobby Bowden's fun city?

* Can you believe there were 169 no-shows for the massively hyped 49ers-Cowboys game in San Francisco last Sunday? I hope their excuses were a little better than the guy who left the binoculars on the hall table, "right next to the tickets."

* What everybody interested in hockey is going to find out about the slapped-together 48-game schedule the NHL kicks off tomorrow night is that's the total number of contests teams should play to put forth a first-class effort each game. Let's see someone rack up 50 goals in this amount of time, as Rocket Richard was known to do.

As for 16 teams still gaining passage to a two-month-long playoff system with a potential to last until July, be thankful it wasn't expanded to two dozen (of a total 26) teams.

* The Washington Bullets' recent run at the team record for 13 consecutive losses, registered by the 1966-67 team when it was in Baltimore, conjures up fond memories of Honeycomb, Waxie, Murph, Chink, Space, the Burglar and Leroy when they were frolicking at the Baltimore Street Ruins. Gus Johnson, Don Ohl, Kevin Loughery, Ray Scott, Johnny Egan, Ben Warley and Leroy Ellis are the owners of those above-named nicknames on that 20-61 juggernaut. The team the year before was 38-42 (Walt Bellamy was traded) and the year after it was 36-46 (Earl Monroe showed up).

* The reason the New York Yankees did not choose to make Jim Abbott an offer to continue pitching for them is his 91- to 93-mph fastball in California was down to 86 mph in Gotham. A headwind as opposed to a tailwind? Atmospheric pressure? Pollution in the Bronx? Faulty radar gun? No, the Bombers are saving their dough to exercise their acquired option of being able to match any offer unrestricted free agent Jack McDowell might get.

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