It's just about total now, the way the media and the sports they cover have become one ball of wax, dog chasing its tail, you name it. You can hardly tell where one begons and the other ends anymore - where will it all end?
The Super Bowl is the epitome, but for a gross example, try the Senior Bowl:
To meet television commitments a spcial committee elected the game's MVP with half a quarter left. The South led, 24-14, at that point, and the award went to its quarterback, Tommy Kramer of Rice. Steve Pizarkiewicz of Missouri then passed the North to two touchdowns, completing 10 for 13 on those drives to pull out victory for the North, 27-24. Sorry, Steve . . . but too late, even for you to beat out North teammate Pete Johnson for the $2,500 bonus as your team's top offensive player despite your 23 completions for 201 yards. (Johnson, incidentally, wasn't even the top rusher on the North - he got 83 yards in 17 carries, Wendell Tyler of UCLA 104 yards, also in 17 tries.
At least they - and Maryland's Tim Wilson, South's lending rusher with 54 yards - got to play, and earn their first pro football wages ($1,500 to winners, $1,250 to losers). In North Carolina, there was gnashing because Tar Heel tailbakc Mike Voight - No. 5 rusher in NCAA history with slightly under 4,000 yards - had been passed over.
Ray Schuessler, Senior Bowl general manager, explained that "we go by what the pro scouts tell us," and they'd pegged Voight as too slow (didn't they say that once about UNC's Don McCauley, now a Baltimore Colt fixture?). Besides, said the candid Schuessler, to ensure a good crowd in Mobile, Ala., "we have to select some Alabama and LSU players."
To his credit, Schuessler said after Kramer was presented his new car as MVP, he and the game's board would discuss things and, "We may be able to come up with another car for Pisarkiewicz. That would seem a fair thing to do" . . .
But to pursue the point of media/performer mix as in NBC analyst Fran Tarkenton/Super Bowl player Tarkenton: Today in Baltimore, Sugar Ray Leonard will be on hand for announcement of his first pro boxing foe at the Civic Center for CBS-TV's Feb. 5 card; then he heads for Las Vegas to do color commentary as fellow Olympic champs Leon Spinks and Howard Davis make their pro debuts on CBS-TV . . . In the Colgate Triple Crown women's golf championship this week-Calif., it won't be players Carol Manu, Laura Baugh and Mariene Floyd but roving fairway reporters Mann, Baugh and Floyd . . . Part-time ABC commentator (who isn't?) George Foreman signed yesterday to fight Pedro Agosto in scheduled 10-rounder at Pensacola, Fla., Saturday, Jan. 22 a Don King promotion on live TV. Agosto is 34-7-1 with his chief claim to fame a 1972 loss to long-ago champ Floyd Patterson in six rounds . . . There was Fanfare's own experience last week of three times going with "He-e-e-e-re's Johnny" items , then blowing it when the lead item, about Joe Namath, really did come from a Johnny Carson show! . . . But that was topped by one of Our Men at the Super Bowl, who reports the highlight of his week came when a Raider publicity aide walked up and introduced himself; "My name's Leonard Shapiro." "So's mine," said the man from Washington, and so do the twain meet . . .
Not only do we have the token woman TV football "commentator," we have a new bugaboo: the obliga-three-fourths of whom either wouldn't be there or would be mousily quiet if the network cameras weren't there . . . Oh well, the word from Oakland's Jack London Square the night of the triumph was that Raiderootersslapped hands, kissed, hugged, yelled and drank, and said Oakland housewife Nancy Richards, veteran of Oakland A's WOrld Series baseball jubilees: "Football celebrations are more physical, just as the game is more physical" . . . In Minneapolis-St Paul, Super Bowl week brought a want-ad listing of a phone number to call for Dial-An-Excuse, "to anwer the burning question: Why can't the Vikings ever win the big ones?" Callergot a recorded message from a spokesman for the Royal Ancientand Mystic Order of the Hipper-Dipper. "We have an historian and a reasearch arm digging up these excuses from 1970, 1974 and 1975," said the Mystic Order, which was getting a call aminute 24 hours a day. Pre-Super Bowl-11 excuses included, Chuck Foreman has his helmet stuffed with his contract and won't be able to hear the audibles"; and "The Rose Bowl has crabgrass." Dial-an-excuse was unreachable yesterday.
If Good La Quinta, a 5-year-old thoroughbred stabled at Chicago's Washington Park, was seen guzzling beer Sunday night, it wasn't because he bet his $2 on the Raiders. It was either his regular ration of suds, or maybe a little extra for posting his first win of the new year on Saturday. The Nebraska-bred gelding was claimed last year at Centennial in Colorado and a week later, trainer Billy McKeever made a discovery.
Good La Quinta csed to stand around in stall, sullen and withdrawn, said McKeever. "If you riaised a hand, he would back away real scared . . . I was holding a beer and looking at him and, all of a sudden he comes over to me. It was the first time he'd shown any friendliness and I put some beer in my hand. Hesuckedit up, and I swear he licked his lips. (With a steady diet) his temperament improved tremendously and he won four races last year. Heck, he drinks about a six-pack a day starting with two in the morning." The horse must abstain for two days before a race so no alcohol will show up in the postrace tests, but has gained 200 pounds and moved up in class . . .
. . . On Sunday, the director of the International Ski Federation was saying in Germany he doubted the 1980 Winter Olympics will be staged at Lake Placed, N.Y. "Nothing has been done so far," he said. Yesterday, something was done: the adirondack Park Agency approved, by 6-4 vote, erection of that controversial 90-meter ski jump at Intervale, a mile south of Lake Placid that environmntal-protection groups had fought . . .