Art McNally, supervisor of National Football League game officials, says the rule requiring a quick whistle once a passer is in the secure grasp of a tackler has been an outstanding success in reducing injuries to quarterbacks.
He acknowledges that there has been a slight increase in clipping penalties since the ban on blocks below the waist, but of a different type.
"They have been from blocks high in the back or from pushes in the back," McNally said, "but the low, crippling block has been almost wiped out."
George Allen, having long ago put aside his differences with Chicago Bear owner George Halas, was among former club executives who attended the recent funeral of George Halas Jr. Allen was defensive coach of the Bears the year they won the NFL title, 1963.
For the man who has nearly everything else, Houston Oilers Coach Oail (Bum) Phillips would appreciate for the new year a new rug -- in the Astrodome.
Center Carl Mauck of the Oilers blamed the artificial turf for the injury to quarterback Dan Pastorini that sidelined him in the 13-7 victory over Denver in their playoff game there.
"Dan tripped on the carpet," Mauck said after the game. "He caught a seam. Everybody knows it's the worst turf in professional football. If I ever get hurt that way I'll sue them (the Astrodome authorities)."
Earl Campbell wondered if he had not caught a seam on the play before he was injured in the same game. Pastorini and running back Campbell suffered groin muscle strains.
Coach John McKay of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers points out that though they had the No. 1 defense in the NFL, only defensive end Lee Ray Selmon was selected for the NFC's Pro Bowl team.
"Lee Roy's a great player," McKay said, 'but he certainly didn't stop all those teams singlehandedly."
In the year of the pass, no other team defended better against it. The Buccaneers gave up 395 fewer yards passing than any of the other 27 clubs.