Some last Super Bowl reflections; a hockey rarity; Olympic standards
If people are still talking football, it's about Washington's victory over Miami in Super Bowl XVII, not this Sunday's Pro Bowl, the low-intensity all-star contest that seldom attracts much attention. So before we all bid adieu to discussion of the National Football League and its championship game, herein some parting observations:Skip to next paragraph
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* Isn't it interesting that some observers have called Super Bowl XVII the NFL's most exciting roman numeral game ever? Interesting because there were more rushing plays and fewer pass completions than in any Super Bowl. Teams obviously don't have to play ''throwball'' to make things entertaining.
* Congratulatory phone calls from the President, made famous during the Nixon administration, achieved new orchestrated heights after Super Bowl XVII was over. Both coaches, Washington's Joe Gibbs and Miami's Don Shula, received calls from President Reagan in their respective locker rooms. The conversations were seen and heard by a large nationwide TV audience, hardly the most ideal way to carry on a meaningful dialogue, particularly so soon after a tremendous victory or crushing defeat. If this sort of thing becomes any more faddish, we might expect the president of the American Farm Bureau to place a call to star ''Hog'' John Riggins should the Redskins repeat as champions. Or maybe the coaches will have to start leaving messages in case they're temporarily unavailable: ''Sorry, I'm in the shower now, at the sound of the beep please give your name and. . . .''
* No sooner had the Redskins become champions than two ex-Washington players were named to the 1983 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Quarterback Sonny Jurgensen and halfback Bobby Mitchell, now the team's assistant general manager, will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio, this summer. Joining them will be Kansas City linebacker Bobby Bell, Miami wide receiver Paul Warfield, and San Diego coach Sid Gillman.
* Joe Gibbs, many insiders feel, is no flash-in-the-pan as a winning coach. This has become a hot topic because of the collapse of the San Francisco 49ers under Bill Walsh this season. Walsh was hailed as a genius just a year ago.
* Count this writer among those who prefer a one-week, rather than the traditional two-week buildup to the Super Bowl. Both teams were obviously primed and ready to go Sunday after just six days off, and there wasn't quite as much media overkill. A refreshing change. Makeshift hockey
Mickey Volcan and Garry Howatt never expected to see action when their hockey teams, the Hartford Whalers and New Jersey Devils, met recently. Both nontheless skated the entire first period - with whistles, not sticks. The injured players were pressed into service when the regular linesmen were caught in a snowstorm, and saw their Hartford arrival delayed. A musty National Hockey League rule covers just such an eventuality, though no one remembers it being used before. The rule calls for each coach to select a player, then agree on one another's choice.
If all three game officials had been absent (which didn't happen in this case), the home team's player acts as referee and there is only one linesman.
Fortunately for Volcan and Howatt, the first period was free of fisticuffs and controversial calls. Thereafter, the regular linesmen took over. Faster, higher, . . .
Ever-escalating Olympic qualifying standards point clearly to the rapid strides being made by modern athletes. Just to qualify for the men's high jump competition at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, participants must clear 7 ft. 3 1/ 4 in. That requirement is 1 1/2 inches higher than Valeriy Brumel jumped two decades earlier, when he set an Olympic record at the Tokyo Games. Even as recent an Olympic champion as Miloslava Hubnerova, who won the women's high jump in 1968, would be shy of the recently announced 1984 standards. (The women must now jump 6-1 1/4 to qualify compared to Hubnerova's 5-1 13/4.) Amazingly, however, one 1932 gold medalist, sprinter Bill Carr, would qualify him for a return to Los Angeles based on his winning time. Carr covered 400 meters in 46. 2 seconds, the '84 standard for that distance.