Dan Reeves, 34, well may be the bright young assistant coach the also-ran teams are always looking for at this time of the year.
The offensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys who specialized in handling the backs was interviewed at length by the Los Angeles Rams in January before they hired George Allen.
Reeves rated high with image-conscious Carroll Rosenbloom because of being good-looking, clean-cut, and a sharp fellow with a comprehensive grasp of progressive football who could be expected to bring a version of the entertaining Dallas offense to Los Angeles.
Reeves, former South Carolina quarterback and run-pass option halfback with the Cowboys, turned down the Atlanta Falcon job before Leeman Bennett took it. That led to speculation that Reeves was being groomed eventually to replace Tom Landry at Dallas.
Landry was asked about that the day after the Cowboys defeated Denver in the Super Bowl and had no comment.
Reeves might have had that in mind, plus increasing impatience for his big chance, yesterday. Asked if any other National Football League teams have asked permission from the Cowboys to talk to him, he replied: "Nobody has contacted me. Am I interested? You bet."
Reeves' name emerged Sunday after the Cowboys defeated the New England Patriots with the help of a modified "flea flicker pass" that was referred to as "Reeves' play," although Landry called it.
The anatomy of a trick play that has become almost commonplace this season might have smacked of the impromptu nature of a sandlot formation, but perish the thought.
A time study had gone into streamlining the pivotal play, which scored a touchdown in a tough game, deceived a prospective Super Bowl participant-and won the Eastern Division title in the National Conference.
In order to get the play off in four seconds against the speed in the Patriots' defense it was synchronized to a count wide receiver Tony Hill made while blazing 40 yards down field.
The amount of time it would take for Hill to fake a block, as if it were surely a running play, also was figured in the computation. The whole maneuver was even designed to capitalize on a charge by left cornerback Raymond Clayborn and free safety Tim Fox.
Usually, the Cowboys have four players handling the ball on the flea flicker. Quarterback Roger Staubach takes the snap from center, hands off to running back Tony Dorsett, who hands off to wide receiver Drew Pearson, who flips the ball back to Staubach for a forward pass.
This time precious seconds were saved by eliminating Dorsett and Pearson. A running play appeared more plausible when Staubach took the snap, handed off to slower running back Scott Laidlaw, 205 pounds, who feigned a slam into the line before lateraling the ball back to Staubach.