Big hats are "in" for the new year if Houston and Dallas make it an all-Texas Super Bowl.
Flak jackets already are in for survivors of the new 16-game season, such as quarterback Dan Pastorini of the Oilers.
While a nation waits to see if Coach Joe Paterno of Penn State has "no interest" in the New York Giants job and whether Chuck Fairbanks can finesse the New England Patriots' legal defense and find happiness at Colorado, there is intrigue developing to test the machinations of George Allen and Al Davis.
Since Davis managing general partner of the Oakland Raiders, joined "Super Gossip" Jimmy (The Greek) Snyder on the CBS "NFL Today" program Sunday, the wonder is whether there was more hard news discussed publicly or privately, off camera.
Tom Flores, coach of Laklandhs receivers, reportedly is under strong consideration to be the next head man of the Raiders.
Ray Malavasi, the Los Angeles Rams' head coach, will be permitted to rejoin the Raiders as defensive coach Chuck Knox was "permitted" to go to Buffalo under the same circumstances.
The Raiders were of the opinion that the Rams did them wrong in hiring Malavasi, the former Oakland linebacker coach, in 1973.
There are persisting reports that Davis would let Coach John Madden out of the last year of his Oakland contract to become the Ram coach for a consideration, meaning draft choices.
Davis needs high draft choices after giving up a No. 1 and a No. 2 in the upcoming draft to the Rams for cornerback Monte Jackson, to keep him away from AFC West rivals San Diego and Denver.
The Rams could afford to give back one of those high draft choices to Davis for Madden, and owner Carroll Rosenbloom of the Rams holds Madden in high esteem.
With foresight characteristic of a successful organization, the Rams are said to have already sized up three head coaching prospects in the event Malavasi is let go.
Davis did not realize the dividends he expected for the Raiders when he spent a No. 1 draft choice for cornerback Neal Colzie in 1975 and a No. 2 for 6-foot-9 defensive end Charles Philyaw in 1976.
Big-winner Madden doubtless could have the Giant job or the Patriot job, when and if it opens. But he prefers to remain in Calfironia.
Joe Thomas almost certainly is out as general manager of the San Francisco 49ers, with his job offered last week to John Thompson, general manager of the Seattle Seahawks, who declined it.
Edward J. DeBartolo Jr., president of the 49ers, reportedly would like to hire Don Klosterman, the Ram general manager, and Madden, as coach.