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With baseball blacked out, football ambles into fows -- at least for '81; and a faithful Dolphin is hanging up his cleats

By Ross AtkinSports writer of The Christian Science Monitor / July 16, 1981



If there can be such a thing as a beneficiary from the baseball strike, pro football might be it. With no big league games to watch, some fans and reporters are already thinking football.

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Though generally maintaining a low profile this time of year, the National Football League has been in the news. Granted, the league probably wishes its bitter court battle with the Oakland Raiders didn't have to go public, but at least the suit has kept the NFL front and center. And as team training camps begin to open, some attention will be diverted to preparations for the coming season. The Canadian Football League season, which began two weeks ago, has even attracted major headlines in the United States because of the arrival in the CFL of former Arizona State Coach Frank Kush and former Rams quarter- back Vince Ferragamo.

Before anyone becomes too euphoric over football's windfall profits, it's important to realize that the NFL faces the threat of a player strike in 1982. That's when a new collective- bargaining agreement must be forged, no easy task considering the harder line players are expected to take. They've seen salary offers lag behind those in other team sports and hardly any movement by free agents.

Ed Garvey, the executive director of the players' union, hopes to remedy the situation by establishing 55 percent of league revenues as the players' fair share. Garvey claims that is roughly what they got in the late 1960s, compared with 28 percent today. The owners and players are trying to set up strike funds , a sign that both sides are getting serious. The skies may be sunny now, but a storm appears to be moving in. Goodbye Bob Griese

When Miami Dolphin quarterback Bob Griese announced his retirement from pro football the other week, much was written about his cerebral, methodical nature. These qualities made him "the quarterback for the 1970s," the quiet, businesslike signal caller capable of foiling the new wave of sophisticated defenses.

Though not a fiery leader, Griese inspired those around him with his ingenuity, single- minded purpose, and unflappability. Coach don Shula knew the value of these qualities, and continued to play Griese even after his passes began to wobble and injuries took their toll. Shula and Griese formed a mutual-admiration society, each recognizing the other's genius. Both certainly will wind up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame someday, remembered chiefly for their roles in taking the Dolphins to back-to-back Super Bowl wins following the 1972 and 1973 seasons.

Miami fans and the Dolphin organization will also remember Griese for his loyalty. He never played for any other pro team, kept the team in contention after the defections of Larry Csonka, Jim Kiick, and Paul Warfield to the World Football League, and conducted himself as a gentleman throughout his career. Not surprisingly, Griese's name became associated with Miami muc h as Stan Musial's is still linked with St. Louis.