Now here's a story: Bugel should study Marchibroda

On the NFL

September 14, 1997|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

One of the toughest things an NFL coach has to do is deal with the losses.

Joe Bugel flunked that test Monday night.

The Oakland Raiders coach, known as one of the good guys in the profession, was so shaken after losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in the final seconds, 28-27, that he stayed in his office and never appeared for the usual postgame news conference.

The only Raider who came out of the closed locker room was Albert Lewis.

The next day when Bugel did speak, he made things worse.

"I don't know if I was ever hurt like that. Last time I had that kind of hurt was when my mom died when we played Tampa Bay. That's the kind of hurt this was," he said.

Bugel should have learned by now that football isn't a life-or-death matter. For him, it's a job.

He didn't do it well Monday night because a football team has to put a loss behind it and move on. It's difficult to do that when the coach becomes unglued.

Contrast Bugel's behavior with the way Ted Marchibroda has acted as the coach of the Ravens.

As the losses piled up last year, he kept preaching an upbeat message. He blamed injuries. He talked about how close the team was. And he never lost the team. They were outmanned, but they never gave up.

Only this year did he admit the obvious -- he didn't have the players last year.

When the Ravens blew the opener to the Jacksonville Jaguars, he not only didn't hide, but he also used the media to send a message. He said they were a better team. They weren't the same old Ravens.

With the team facing its first road game today against the New York Giants after going 0-8 on the road last year, he had another message. Marchibroda was selling the idea that road games are no big deal.

"I don't know what the difference is," he said. "You don't play the people in the stands."

Marchibroda knows it's more difficult to play on the road, although the Giants' home-field advantage may be diluted by the fans booing Dave Brown. But he didn't want his team worrying about the 0-8 road record.

Marchibroda said earlier this year of reporters: "I realize you guys just want a story."

Marchibroda knows he's better off if he tries to put his spin on the story rather than hiding from reporters. Bugel should learn that.

Lambeau at Camden Yards?

What can you do to improve a football shrine? How about a touch of Camden Yards?

The Green Bay Packers have come up with that idea to raise money and give a new look to Lambeau Field.

They're talking about replacing the green sheet-metal fence around the stadium's perimeter with wrought-iron fencing and graceful brick columns at four or five gate areas.

Team president Bob Harlan said he liked that look when he toured Camden Yards and Jacobs Field in Cleveland.

"Camden Yards is a beautiful park. It's like walking through a luxury hotel," Harlan said.

If the Packers complete the project, they'll sell various sizes of bricks that would be cemented into the columns with names or customized messages from the individuals or corporations making the purchase.

Harlan may turn to this idea because the idea of selling more stock in the community-owned team is running into a lot of red tape.

Harlan figures they'd have no trouble selling the bricks. When they floated the idea of a stock purchase, some fans immediately started sending in checks that were returned.

One elderly woman in Minneapolis even offered to pledge $500 to the team every year for the rest of her life.

Harlan said the club hopes to decide by next spring if the project is feasible.

The name game

The late owner of the Redskins, Jack Kent Cooke, decided to name the area where his new stadium is for his two sons, Ralph and John -- Raljon.

He even got the post office to give him a ZIP code for the stadium, but Raljon is a name only the Redskins will use. It doesn't appear on any maps, and the Associated Press will use a Landover dateline for the Prince George's County location.

The structure will be the largest outdoor stadium in the league and a money-making machine with plenty of premium seats.

But it has the look of one designed 10 years ago when Cooke first announced he wanted to build it. It's basically just Giants Stadium with more premium seats. It has a dated, almost obsolete look with no special touches. All the Washington fans used to coming to Camden Yards aren't likely to be dazzled.

Bob Leffler, the Baltimore advertising representative for three teams building new stadiums (the Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cincinnati Bengals), said, "It's the last of the enclosed ovals."

By contrast, the Ravens' new stadium will have openings in the corners to give it a more open look and to allow seats to be closer to the field. The enclosed oval pushes the seats in the corners away from the field.

Legal file

The start of the trial in the city of St. Louis' suit against the NFL has been set for Oct. 6.

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