It could be that two players on the same team deserve the primary consideration for the National Football League's most valuable player: Jerry Rice and Joe Montana of the San Francisco 49ers.

With four games to go, Montana has completed 66.5 percent of his passes, thrown 27 touchdowns to only 12 interceptions and has a chance to break 100 points in the quarterback ratings.

Rice, who has averaged more than 100 yards receiving per game in his last 27 games, has 14 touchdown receptions in only 11 games, giving him a chance to break Mark Clayton's NFL record of 18 touchdowns in a season.

Denver quarterback John Elway is another possible MVP choice. Cleveland quarterback Bernie Kosar and Chicago quarterback Jim McMahon would need an especially strong kick in the final four weeks for serious consideration . . .

Several playoff-bound teams, such as Minnesota and New Orleans, have no single player who will receive any votes, just another bizzare occurrence in a bizarre season. Dallas Cowboys Coach Tom Landry blames this season of strangeness on the 24-day players' strike. "This is no season like any other you ever saw," he said. "Just like with Washington {losing last Monday night to the Rams}, you would never see a contending team play like that this late in the season. That's not normal, but that's the way the games are being played right now. You can't predict how they're going to play when teams step on the field, just because of what's taken place this year." What's Wrong With the Bears?

One "what's-wrong-with-the-Bears" theory is that there hasn't been enough controversy since the strike, not enough "outrageousness" to use one of McMahon's favorite words. Well, wide receiver Dennis McKinnon has taken care of that. After publicly ripping into the team's struggling defense, McKinnon then began offering money to special teams players for special plays.

"They know they haven't played up to par, the way they used to play," McKinnon said of the defense. "The opposition used to be afraid to show up." McKinnon added that the Bears had "lost the respect of our peers around the league," and that he wanted to get back to "bloody-nosed football."

Bears defensive coordinator Vince Tobin said McKinnon had a big mouth and told him, in effect, to mind his own business. McKinnon answered, "I never take back what I say. If I can stir things up and get the team inspired, fine."

And with that, McKinnon, who has returned two punts for touchdowns this season, gave $200 to defensive lineman Al Harris for blocking two field goals Sunday against the Packers. Other bonuses range from $100 to $500 . . .

When the Saints say they don't have any tradition, believe it. New Orleans played its first 12 seasons without a 1,000-yard rusher and has had only four in the club's 20-year history. The only two retired jerseys belong to Jim Taylor, the Hall-of-Fame back who made his career with the Packers and played one season for the Saints, and Doug Atkins, the Hall-of-Fame defensive end who made his name with the Bears before playing three seasons with the Saints.A New Gloves-On Approach

Stickum was the preferred choice for receivers in the 1970s before the league banned it; gloves are the rage now. Outside Florida and California, it seems about half the receivers in the league are wearing gloves, and the trend has spread to the linemen and at least one quarterback: McMahon.

Redskins equipment manager Jay Brunetti estimates that 75 percent of his team's players wear gloves. "It's been the last five years or so that it's become so popular," he said. "There's about three types of gloves. One is a Neoprene glove, a black rubber glove that feels like what a skin-diving suit is made from. That's what we call the arctic glove. Then, there's a 'Neuman' glove that's an all-weather glove. They also make what we call a tackified glove, which is a real soft leather with a sticky palm. You can get a real good grip on the ball with that glove, which I think is the kind McMahon wears.

"They've been around for a while, but they're like seat belts; it's taken a while for some guys to want to use them. Guys like Art Monk and Gary Clark {who often wear gloves} aren't going to become better receivers because of gloves. But when the ball gets cold and dry, or wet and slippery, they feel they can grip it and get better control . . . "

Giants defensive back Perry Williams apparently is getting burned so much lately he's in danger of picking up Elvis Patterson's nickname, "Toast." Coach Bill Parcells said he didn't want to point fingers, then mentioned how Williams might have been burned on a few plays. Parcells has been critical of the regulars before, during and after the NFL players' strike and at one time refused to talk to them, except on the practice field and during meetings. Perhaps, however, the Giants' troubles began immediately after the Super Bowl when Parcells had his flirtation with the Atlanta Falcons. Also, it probably wasn't Williams who called all those unsuccessful running plays early in the second half against the Redskins Sunday. And wasn't that tight end Mark Bavaro standing near Parcells on the sideline during the final play? . . .

After setting a Raiders rushing record by gaining 221 yards in only 18 carries Monday night against Seattle, running back Bo Jackson said, "When the time comes, I will give up the sport that I want to give up. It will probably be football." Those words might prevent Kansas City Royals General Manager John Schuerholz, in the middle of a cruise, from going overboard . . .

Candid Quote of the Week -- Tommy Kramer, on the fact that the regular Vikings (7-1) have had their season tainted by the club's replacement team going 0-3: "It's our own management's fault for not getting replacement players in here who could play."The Upset Pick

Ouch! After going 0 for 3 last week, the UP is 2-8 for the season and as far away from the playoffs as the Giants. Desperate to regain respect, the UP goes with the Cardinals over the Redskins, the Bills over the Raiders and the Chiefs over the Bengals.