Mike Ditka 'Bear-ing' up under pressure; Buccaneers win, finally
With a losing record and with pressure coming at him like water out of a fire hose from both the media and fans, Head Coach Mike Ditka of the Chicago Bears nevertheless doesn't think his team is that underpowered.
Asked if what he needed wasn't four or five new players who could start immediately, Ditka replied: ''You're wrong. This is a good team just the way it is. What has been killing the Bears are injuries, inexperience, and too many team mistakes at the wrong time. You saw what happened to us today? (He was referring to Sunday's 21-14 loss to the L.A. Rams when Chicago had a pass receiver in the clear and quarterback Jim McMahon badly overthrew him.) Well, we have had more than our share of situations like that this year.''
The Bears, who have only one victory in their last five games, are tough defensively but erratic offensively. Ditka has both of his quarterbacks angry with him. McMahon says that most of the time Ditka is too impatient with him; that one or two early mistakes and he gets benched. Meanwhile, backup QB Vince Evans feels that Mike hasn't given him enough quality playing time to show what he can do as a starter.
Although some members of the Chicago media want Ditka fired, Bears' publicity director Pat McCaskey says, ''It isn't apt to happen. I know the people who run this team and they have only the highest regard for Mike as a person and as a football coach.'' Bucs get untracked
After the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted quarterback Doug Williams out of Grambling in 1978, they went 34-34-1, including three playoff appearances in the last four years. This season without Williams, who decided to sign with the Oklahoma Outlaws of the USFL after Tampa Bay refused to meet his salary demands, the Bucs were 0-9. Well that nightmare ended Sunday when Tampa Bay upset the Minnesota Vikings 17-12 for its first win of the season.
James Wilder gained 219 yards for Tampa Bay on 31 carries, one a 75-yard dash down the sidelines for a third period touchdown. The defeat was the second in a row for Minnesota against losing teams (St. Louis and Tampa Bay) after being 6-2 at the halfway point in the season.
The Bucs' victory leaves the Houston Oilers as the NFL's only winless team. Houston lost 55-14 Sunday to the Cincinnati Bengals. Oilers' running back Earl Campbell, who gained only 42 yards on 16 carries, was not used at all in the second half. NFL tidbits
* When Frank Kush took over as coach of the Baltimore Colts last season, he began a housecleaning job that flushed out all but 13 of the players on the roster then. There are also 13 current Colts who either played for Kush at Arizona State or were recruited by him. The Colts, winless last season, are 6-4 so far this year. Their defense in recent games has been outstanding.
* The Los Angeles Raiders, citing court delays caused by appeals that might eventually force them to move back to Oakland, are postponing construction of luxury boxes on the rim of the L.A. Coliseum until after the 1984 Olympics. The decision reportedly means a loss of $6 million in revenue for the Raiders next year.
* Maybe it's time somebody began to take the 6-4 Seattle Seahawks seriously. After beating the Denver Broncos 27-19 on Sunday, the Seahawks now have three wins in the last four weeks over the top teams in their division. Denver lost starting quarterback Steve DeBerg indefinitely in that game with a shoulder injury, thus providing another chance for rookie QB John Elway to run the club.
* Forbes magazine lists several NFL owners as among the country's 400 wealthiest Americans. Jack Kent Cooke of the Washington Redskins heads the list with a personal fortune of $600 million, give or take a few Krugerrands. Cooke's figure is about $100 million more than that of Lamar Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs.
* Quarterback Cliff Stoudt of the Pittsburgh Steelers: ''I told my wife and parents that the best way to stay popular in the National Football League is to never play.''