What is one to make of the fact that four of the five undefeated National Football League teams are handled by new coaches?
Are Jack Pardee, Ray Malavasi, Neill Armstrong and Sam Rutigliano instant geniuses or have they benefited from the present and/or past talents of general managers - respectively, of George Allen and Bobby Beathard at Washington, Don Klosterman at Los Angeles, Jim Finks at Chicago and Peter Hadhazy at Cleveland?
Chuck Noll coaches the other unbeaten team, Pittsburgh.
Everybody in the pool! The Green Bay Packers' defensive lineman motivated themselves for the Detroit Lions by putting up money for a pool to go to the one who got the most quarter-back sacks. End Ezra Johnson won with five.
A definition of instant panic: After the Dallas Cowboys had their winning streak ended at nine games by Los Angeles, the captains convened a team meeting Wednesday without coaches present.
Running back Preston Pearson disclosed to the Dallas Times Herald that the feeling was: "Everybody's talking about how good we are, how awesome, yet we've let some teams push us around. We haven't proved that (the Cowboys' superiority) to anybody - number one, ourselves." Such impatience with mediocrity!
The most articulate and cogent explanation of how the new rules affect strategy have been given by Joe Theismann, without being glib, in his interviews on television.
Like other newcomers to the TV sports scene, George Allen used the word "great" too frequently and was too cautious with his opinions. But he did sting the Cowboys by saying he would like to coach against them 16 games a season. He seemed still to be fighting the Battle of the Potomac when he said that he wanted to "say hello to all my friends in Washington."
The Redskins should not expect Jet defensive tackle Joe Klecko to fight back if someone takes a punch at him, even though he was boxing champion in club competition at Temple University. Joe Frazier made him gun shy.
He put the gloves on with the former two heavyweight champion and, when Frazier whistled a punch past him, the thought os its possible impact ended any idea Klecko had of turning pro.
The Jets figured that Klecko "gained" 114-yards for them in their victory over Buffalo. Playing right end in the 3-4 defense, he was held five times and the Jets benefited with 50 yards of penalties. He sacked Joe Ferguson for nine yards and threw him for an eight-yard loss on a keeper play. The Bills had 37 and a 100-yard gains wiped out by two of the holding penalties.
Jimmy (The Greek) Snyder was wrong when he said Oakland, not Denver, was the "real champion" in the AFC, when the Broncos beat the Raiders, but he was right on the Ali-Spinks fight, favoring Ali by 11-15.
"H&H Predictions" offers an "upset special" - Buffalo over Baltimore by six points. The tipsheet "SCORE" picks the Jets over the Redskins by eight points, Houston over Los Angeles by 11.
Tom Nugent, former University of Maryland coach, is board of advisers chairman for National Football Fans Association, Inc., in Cocoa Beach Fla., which says, "We are not a protest group . . . not a bunch of fans marching with placards, bent on tearing something down . . . We are devoted to promoting the growth of the sport." Memberships are $15 annually. You get to vote on awards.