Diron Talbert, the pride of the Pascagoula, Miss., might have become the sage of Texas City, Tex., at age 16, when the Dallas Cowboys were formed, but the National Football League thinks he flunked history.
Although he probably was merely shoveling smoke to heat up the Redskins for tomorrow night's game here against Dallas. Talbert said club President Tex Schramm used his influence with Commissioner Pete Rozelle to get the Cowboys placed in the Eastern Conference, where the "easy" teams were.
The fact is that Schramm, a product of the Los Angeles Rams' organization, wanted to be in the Western Conference with all the "glamour" teams, such as the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and Rams, but Redskin founder George Preston Marshall wanted the Cowboys in the East.
Marshall had fought expansion and held out for the Cowboys to be in his conference because they did not share the Cotton Bowl with a baseball team, as did the Redskins, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, St. Louis and Pittsburgh, who then were in the Eastern Conference.
The Cowboys were nominally in the Western Conference in 1960, finishing 0-11. They were moved to the East in 1961. Nice try, Diron.
Of more comfort to Redskin backers is the history of home underdogs beating the point spread on Monday night. On top of that, the Cowboys usually lose once a season under the lights. H&H Weekly, a tipsheet, picks Dallas to win, but the Redskins to beat the spread, with a score of 24-21. The Baltimore Colts are selected to beat Philadelphia by 34-14 today.
Rusty Tillman expects to be signed by the Colts. He needs a job. He went to buy a compact car and couldn't get credit because he was out of work. He paid cash from the $30,000 injury settlement he got from the Redskins.
Tom Landry's reputation as a play caller is on the line Monday night against a "rookie," offersive coordinator Joe Walton.
Don Coryell is hoping that history repeats for him today, as his Sam Diego Chargers play New England. In Coryell's only game against the Patriots as coach of St. Louis, the Cardinals won, 24-17 in 1975.
Hope for the future if the Cardinals are patient with new-old coach Bud Wilkinson: they have 14 new faces, 10 rookies and four veterans.
The Cardinals could take encouragement from the success of the Cowboys in making wholesale changes to stay young. Twelve rookies made the Dallas squad in 1975, 10 in 1976, nine in 1977 and five this season.
Fran Tarkenton predicts the pressures to win will result in as many quarterbacks losing their jobs this season as did coaches last season - 10, or 11, counting two at Kansas City.
Joe Theismann, of course, is a new starter. Others are David Whitehurst at Green Bay, Doug Williams at Tampa Bay, Steve DeBerg at San Francisco, Don Strock at Miami, Bill Troup at Baltimore, Matt Robinson with the New York Jets, and Ken Reaves at Cincinnati. Injuries to Bob Griese, Bert Jones, Richard Todd and Ken Anderson accounted for the last four changes.
John Michels, offensive line coach at Minnesota, suggests that game officials should be required to sharpen their powers of observation by working every day in training camps with the players. He thinks that relations with coaches and players would improve that way, too.