There was no joy here today for Los Angeles Ram types, particularly team owner Carroll Rosenbloom and coach Chuck Knox.
It was Knox's charges who mucked things up by losing to Minnesota, 14-7, Monday night. It was the fifth straight season in which the Rams have fallen in the NFC playoffs, without reaching the Super Bowl.
Now Knox, whose situation is under review, may find it easier to get out of the remaining two years of his contract than he did in 1976 when he and the Detroit Lions were courting.
NFL sources suggest Knox may be headed for Detroit, but these same sources indicate his replacement will not be George Allen, the soon-to-be free-agent coach of the Redskins.
Allen reportedly will discover one of the charm he cherishes so much - full authority to do whatever he wishes with the club - can be found in Buffalo.
Rosenbloom, who had success turning assistant coaches into head men (i.e.: Weeb Ewbank, Don Shula, Don McCafferty and Knox), might go that route again.
Or he could turn to Monte Clark, who did well as a head coach for one year in San Francisco before clashing with Joe Thomas. Thomas took over the 49ers last year and took away much of Clark's powers. Clark quit.
The Rams reportedly are not looking for a figure to dominate the franchise, such as former Ram coach Alen might.
Rosenbloom's son, Steve has worked his way up from assistant equipment manager in Baltimore to new responsibility in the Ram power structure since his father's recent heart surgery.
Don Klosterman, the Ram general manager, provides more than enought quality players.
Ram candidates include Bill Walsh, who has had professional football experience to go with his current position as a head coach at Stanford. He has the reputation of a good offensive man.
Don Coryell of the St. Louis Cardinals is said to have "great credentials" in the trade, despite his recent misfortunes. Coryell coached at San Diego State before going to St. Louis.
The bolt-from-the-blue sleeper is an active quarterback - Bill Kilmer of the Redskins. A source says Kilmer is a viable prospect because "He is a leader of men, which is what coaching is all about. He has credibilty."
Incidentally, Jack Pardee, a former Ram and ex-Redskin teammate of Kilmer, is safe at Chicago despite seeing his Bears blasted by the Cowboys in the playoffs. His bosses think he did a fine job this season with the material at hand.
Among former head coaches who are available are Norm Van Brocklin and John Ralston, but their telephones may not ring, even in a current employees' market. Sid Gillman, 66, offensive specialist for the Bears, is available but probably will be passed over because of his age.
Ara Parseghian is free, but he's not stirring the speculation he once did every time there was a job opening in pro football. But he has sent out at least a weak signal - that if he ever a professional team.
The Redskins have not yet made clear their intentions about Allen's future in Washington.
Common friends of Ralph Wilson, owner of the Bills, and Allen may be indulging in a bit of wishful matchmaking by suggesting Buffalo and Allen need each other. Wilson has been given an unfair image of not being a big spender.
Wilson's friends have said it would be logical for Allen to go to Buffalo because Wilson has that big stadium 80,000 seats to fill. Allen probably could make a winner out of the Bills right away, if O.J. Simpson doesn't retire, and his prestige would provide an immediate shot in the arm the franchise has needed for three or four years.
Because of Allen's Los Angeles background as a successful head coach and home owner in Palos Verdes, Calif., he is always linked with any possible Ram vacancy.
But sources do not envision Rosenbloom allowing himself to be swept under the rug by Allen, as was the case with former Ram owner, the late Dan Reeves.
Reeves had to fire Allen twice before he could make it stick in the face of a protest vote by players well paid (with Reeves' own money).