Guns Draw Attention in NFL; Search for a Super Halftime

PRO football's Dallas Cowboys targeted gang and teenage violence last week with the announcement of a guns-for-tickets campaign called ``Real Cowboys Don't Carry Guns.'' Individuals are encouraged to turn in handguns and semiautomatic or automatic assault rifles to the police with no questions asked in exchange for game tickets (in this case, for 1994 preseason contests).

The idea, which has been tried by Chicago and Denver, appears to be catching on with pro sports teams.

``As a team we don't support carrying guns,'' Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said.

His statement took on unexpected relevance after defensive tackle Jeff Alm of the Houston Oilers shot and killed himself following a car crash in Houston last Tuesday.

Alm, an avid hunter, apparently was so distraught that his recklessness led to the death of his passenger and close friend Sean Lynch that he took a shotgun from his car trunk and committed suicide.

Alm's tragic act must have given many people pause about the tragic consequences that carrying a firearm can have.

Maybe Alm's story, the recent passage of the Brady gun-control bill, and efforts by teams like the Cowboys will encourage more activism and awareness when it comes to gun-related issues.

In the sports world, there's probably no better place to send a signal than in Washington, where basketball's Washington Bullets may wish to consider following the example of Houston's major-league baseball team, which many years ago changed its name from the Colt .45s to the Astros. How does the Washington Blazers sound? Wanted: Super Bowl superstar

One might think that entertainers would jump at an opportunity to perform at the Super Bowl. Few events, after all, attract such a large TV audience - and a global one to boot. And television usually provides uninterrupted coverage of the halftime show, which is not the case at other football games. Nevertheless, the National Football League has had trouble booking a headliner for the Jan. 30 championship game in Atlanta.

Country singer Garth Brooks recently turned down the NFL's invitation. Earlier, Billy Joel and Elton John reportedly passed. Brooks said he didn't have time to do the kind of big halftime show the league wants.

The NFL likes its Super Bowl halftime show to be distinct, so the league has drifted away from using college marching bands. For some future game, however, perhaps the NFL would consider using several of the outstanding marching bands that are seldom seen on TV. Bands from the predominantly black colleges, like Jackson State, Florida A&M, and Grambling could put on a big-cast spectacular. There is some precedent for this, since Florida A&M and Grambling made separate Super Bowl appearances more than 20 years ago. NHL newcomers are no doormats

The National Hockey League's newest expansion franchises - the Anaheim (Calif.) Mighty Ducks and Florida (Ft. Lauderdale) Panthers are doing well, thank you. Nobody is kicking sand in the face of the Ducks, least of all Wayne Gretzky's Los Angeles Kings, who are battling their new metro rivals tooth and nail for fourth place in the six-team Pacific Division.

Gretzky is personally enjoying outstanding results and appears headed to his 10th league scoring title, which he says is ``immaterial'' given the Kings' protracted slump. ``Believe me, the first thing I look at is where we are in the standings,'' he says.

Florida, the league's other first-year team, has avoided the cellar in the Atlantic Division by playing even with the once-powerful New York Islanders and outperforming the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Lightning, a sophomore franchise.

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