For a while, it appeared that not even one week of National Football League action would escape a players' strike.
But in a team meeting Friday night, the Seattle Seahawks players voited not to carry out their previous threat to stage a wildcat strike of today's home opener against the Cleveland Browns.
So it appears -- and appearances, of course, can be as deceiving as Bill Walsh's offense -- that all of the fascinating elements of Week 1 will be allowed to fascinate without interruption.
First, there is the thumping of tradition:
In Minnesota, the Vikings will not play Tampa Bay outdoors in blustery Bloomington, but inside the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. No longer will the Vikings and Coach Bud Grant have to watch the hang time of their frozen breath.
In Candlestick Park, the Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers will play the Los Angeles Raiders. The Raiders will now play their home games in Los Angeles and will practice in Oakland, meaning they will travel 450 miles south for all home games.
Next, there are the holdouts:
Buffalo's Joe Cribbs, who rushed for 1,097 yards last season, still wants a renegotiated contract and will not play today when the Bills host Kansas City.
The New York Giants' rob Carpenter, who joined the team in midseason last year and served as the team's generator (748 yards in 11 Giants games), has still not signed. He will miss playing against Atlanta today at the Meadowlands.
The NFL's two toerh key holdouts are Houston offensive tackle Leon Gray and Denver linebacker Bob Swenson, both of whom are without contracts. Gray, a one-time all-pro, will miss Houston's game at Cincinnati. Swenson is a multitalented player who will sit out San Diego at Denver.
Detroit running back Billy Sims is now a former holdout. Sims will play when the Lions play visiting Chicago and its new-old quarterback Bob Avellini, who will start.
Sims reported to camp in midweek and did not play in one exhibition game. However, Detroit Coach Monte Clark has 1,437 reasons (each yard Sims rushed for last season) why Sims will start.
Next, there are the quarterbacks:
For the first time since their birth in 1976, the Seattle Seahwks have a starting quarterback other than Jim Zorn. Zorn was beaten out by Dave Krieg, the third year player. In the Kingdome today, Krieg will have to contend with Cleveland linebacker Tom Cousineau, playing in his first NFL game since a $3.5 million contract lured him from the Canadian Football League.
Denver's Craig Morton, 39, has beaten out Steve DeBerg and will begin his 19th professional season as the starter at home against San Diego. Running back Chuck Muncie, meanwhile, returns to the Chargers, after spending two summer sessions in a drug rehabilitation center.
Kansas City's Bill Kenney takes Steve Fuller's place as the Chiefs' quarterback against the Cribbs-less Bills. The Bills are also without injured Roland Hooks and will start Curtis Brown at running back.
Finally, there are the two games of intrigue:
The Dolphins will visit the New York Jets. What is intriguing here is not that Miami will split time at quarterback with starter David Woodley and Don Strock. What is intriguing is that the Dolphins have not beaten the Jets in eight straight games.
"But at least we tied them once last year," said Miami Coach Don Shula, laughing at a streak both frustrating and odd. "I don't know why we've had so much trouble with them"
And in Baltimore, the Colts and the Patriots begin anew, Baltimore's Frank Kush against New England's Ron Meyer, Baltimore rookie quarterback Mike Pagel against New England rookie defensive lineman Kenneth Sims.
Last year, remember, the Colts beat the Patriots, 29-28, in the opener. The Colts didn't win again until the season finale, which, naturally, was against the Patriots, 23-21.