The National Football League was newly alarmed about injuries, and possible lawsuits following them, at its meeting in Dallas on Wednesday.
The day before, the U.S. Supreme Court had let stand a U.S. Court of Appeals decision that Dale Hackbart, former Denver Bronco defensive back, was entitled to a trail to try to prove that Charles (Boobie) Clark, former Cincinnati running back, "negligently and recklessly struck him" on the back of the head during a game on Sept. 16, 1973.
Hackbart charged that he suffered a fractured neck and sued for $500,000.
The NFL once more is warning clubs and coaches not to teach any tactics that could be construed as "intimidating." Players also will be alerted on actions which might result in injuries and could be interpreted as intentional.
A fear is that if Hackbart wins his case against Clark several other victims of highly publicized football-connected injuries would try to capitalize on the precedent.
Injuries are a present concern for another reason; 260 players reportedly are on the league's injured reserve list, and there is no suspicion of teams hiding players there, because the procedure is being policed so closely.
It will be interesting today to see whether the Redskins will face a sign in Three Rivers Stadium inscribed, "Lambert's Lunatics." It was there on Sunday for the visit of the Dallas Cowboys, but the Pittsburgh Steelers may have a change of heart about free fan expression because of the overtone of violence the sign suggests.
John Robinson of Southern California is being talked of as the next coach of the Los Angeles Rams, despite a vote of confidence given to Ray Malavasi last week by owner Georgia Rosenbloom and a few players.
A report that Steve Rosenbloom may end up buying the Baltimore Colts should be discounted. Owner Bob Irsay has been consistent about one issue -- he will not sell because he wants to keep the club for his son Jimmy, who is obsessed with the Colts. The son is a 20-year-old sophomore at Southern Methodist University.
Rosenbloom is expected to join the front office of another NFL club by January. New Orleans is one of three organizations interested. If he does, he probably will have to sell his 6 percent of the Rams stock.
Franchise buying is inhibited by the new jump in the cost of borrowing money. The current (home) television contract makes NFL clubs worth about $40 million and pay television is viewed as the next big bonanza.
Dan Pastorini's most embarrassing moment this season -- when he lined up to take the snap, behind a guard instead of the center.