Edward J. DeBartolo Jr., 31-year-old president of the San Francisco 49ers, said he was solidly behind General Manager Joe Thomas after the firing of coach Pete McCulley in favor of Fred O'Conner, but well-informed sources say Thomas is not that deeply entrenched.

DeBartolo is said to be an admirer of Don Klosterman's success as general manager of the Los Angeles Rams and has talked other matters with him recently.

"I know Ed fairly well," Klosterman said. "He looked into some property I have an interest in, the Houston area. Every year there is some rumor like this. I've never been contacted about working for the 49ers. I'd be interested if I were. There's always new horizons. It would be a heck of a challenge and I've never been one to stand still."

A National Football League release about trades made in 1978 noted that the Rams acquired the most future draft choices in the deals, 11. "You can't think one year at a time," Klosterman commented about that, but added, "That hurts us right now.It is tough to make deals."

The Redskins have averaged about 30,000 in attendance at home exhibition games since the player strike in 1974, not nearly enough to pay the kind of guarantees that would bring in the top attractions. Over that span, about 12 percent of the regular season ticket holders have exercised their options to buy the same seats for exhibitions.

At one time, exhibitions frequently sold out. In 1976, the Pittsburgh Steelers were booked for an exhibition here and the National Football League underwrote the guarantee. It was not necessary. Visiting teams do not automatically receive 40 percent of the receipts for exhibtions, as they do in the regular season, which usually amounts to about $215,000 in Washington.

It had been owner Bill Sullivan's hope for years to come up with an Irish Catholic quarterback as a natural attraction in the Boston area.

The New England Patriots now have three quarterbacks of Irish extraction - Steve Grogan, Tom Owen and Matt Cavanaugh, but superstar Grogan is Protestant. No one is protesting, of course

Rick Stewart of the Boston Herald American took note of an ethnic consideration before picking the Patriots to beat the New York Jets 27-10: "But before we go around barring any miracle, let us remember that Jets Coach Walt Michaels was baptized Wladek Majka and is Polish. He may have an 'in'." The Patriots made the issue academic by winning, 55-21.

Cleveland quarterback coach Jim Shofner says of Brian Sipe, "What difference does it make how you throw the ball as long as you get it where you want it, even if it goes end-over-end? I call him 'Raggedy Andy.'"