George Allen, on the move again. Jim Joseph, owner of the Arizona Wranglers, and Ted Diethrich, the Phoenix heart surgeon who owns the Chicago Blitz, report agreement in principle on a U.S. Football League deal in which Diethrich would buy the Wranglers for $7 million. Diethrich has a group of Illinoisans ready to buy his majority share of the Blitz. If it all goes through, he would bring along to Arizona the name Blitz (copyrighted) and Allen (under personal services contract).
Allen has been quoted as not wanting to coach "those losers" in Arizona (4-14 last season, 0-10 finish), but the deal is supposed to include a swap of several top Chicago players for some of the Wranglers' best . . .
Aftereffects of the 1982 strike, advent of the USFL, the profusion of drug stories--even nice things like the weather and the baseball races--have perhaps taken a bite out of National Football League attendance and television ratings.
Commissioner Pete Rozelle, shown a four-week tally of per-game paid crowds averaging just above 58,000 compared to 61,000 for the opening four weeks in 1981 (and 60,000 in '82 when the strike hit after weekend two) and a marked dropoff in the Nielsens, mentioned all those as possible factors.
Too soon for the numbers to be meaningful, says Val Pinchbeck Jr., NFL director of broadcasting. But there they are, the ratings for the first two weeks: CBS 13.6, NBC 10.5, ABC 16.4--compared to CBS 17.5, NBC 13.9, ABC 21.7 in peak year 1981.
Rozelle: "I wouldn't say there is a major concern. "We can't keep going up and up" . . .
With Tampa Bay 0-4, already the wolves are at John McKay's door, eliciting from him, "I have given resigning or retiring no thought." Buccaneers owner Hugh Culverhouse, recalling an 0-3 start last year with Doug Williams at quarterback, supports his first and only coach . . . Chicago observers noticed a lot of confusion and conflict on the sideline Sunday in Baltimore, some between Coach Mike Ditka and Ed Hughes, offensive coordinator who has been calling the Bears' plays. "No slight on Ed," says Ditka, but "I'll be calling the plays from now on . . . and put the blame on myself."