SAN DIEGO, JAN. 31 -- As if the Washington Redskins needed another distraction, today there was a report that the Green Bay Packers are interested in talking to Joe Gibbs about their coaching vacancy.
According to a report out of Milwaukee, apparently, a third party contacted the Packers saying Gibbs would be interested in discussing the job. The Packers reportedly are set to announce Lindy Infante as head coach, but are waiting until Tuesday because they want to talk with Gibbs.
Gibbs has one year (1988 season) remaining on his contract with the Redskins. He has never expressed an interest to leave the team or the organization, and there was no indication from the Redskins he was interested in leaving now.
When asked after the game, Gibbs said that "there is absolutely no truth" to those rumors. . . .
Super Bowl morning on the West Coast began with the taped broadcast of the 700 Club, a spiritual television show that today featured Gibbs speaking to several hundred people in a fellowship session that resembled a revival meeting.
Gibbs, speaking primarily extemporaneously, did not talk at all about football or the Super Bowl, but about personal commitments to God. Gibbs' talk, which was punctuated with references to Old Testament scripture, also included very personal stories about his own family, and the trying time he and his wife Pat had before and after a complicated surgical procedure to remove a facial tumor.
At the end of the session, Gibbs was given a prolonged standing ovation. A spokesman for the Christian Broadcasting Network said the show was taped during a prayer breakfast Saturday.
Broncos Bonuses May Be Illegal
The Denver Broncos award cash and free trips to their players under a bonus system that may be illegal under NFL rules, according to a copyright report.
The San Francisco Examiner in today's edition quoted three Broncos confirming the system of cash awards and trips to Hawaii, which are not part of their contracts.
NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle fined San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. $50,000 a month ago for that team's bonus system. Immediately after the players strike last fall, DeBartolo offered a bonus to about 50 players if the team made the playoffs. The payments came to $10,000 per player after the 49ers won the NFC Western Division.
The Examiner said the Broncos' system consists of paying varying amounts of cash for quarterback sacks, among other things, as well as trips.
"Both of those types of rewards are illegal according to league rules," said an executive from one NFL team that the newspaper did not identify. "It is especially illegal to give cash bonuses for things such as sacks like that because that could encourage head-hunting."
NFL executive director Don Weiss confirmed bonuses of that type probably are illegal. "Technically, if it's not in their contract, it's not legal," Weiss said. "Basically, any compensation that a player receives should be in his contract."
He noted that some teams give video cassette recorders or watches to players who win weekly NFL honors, but said "a regular bonus situation such as this that is not covered in the playing contract could be a violation."
John Beake, the Broncos' general manager, did not return the newspaper's telephone calls Saturday concerning the team's reward system.
Defensive back Jeremiah Castille, who clinched Denver's victory over Cleveland in the AFC championship game by stripping the ball from Earnest Byner in the final minutes and recovering the fumble, said he was paid $200 for the play. In the regular season, he said, a strip was worth $50 and a recovery $50.
"We get money for knocking down a pass, intercepting, stripping, almost any big-play type thing. That's not written in the contract, it's for the whole team," Castille said.
Linebackers Karl Mecklenburg and Ricky Hunley also confirmed the bonus system, which Hunley said rewards trips to Hawaii based on gold stars accumulated during the season for big plays. . . .
Twenty reputed mobsters whose $500 million-a-year gambling ring was smashed by police spent most of Super Bowl Sunday -- the biggest betting day of the year -- behind bars in New York and officers said they would be held until after the kickoff.
Raids on the ring by undercover detectives Saturday night could add insult to injury for the Genovese crime family, which police said was behind the betting operation.
After the 20 reputed associates of the crime family miss Super Bowl parties and part or all of the game, the organization may face some difficulties paying out and -- worse -- collecting on the $5 million in bets they were holding on this weekend's sporting activities, including the day's big event, police said.
The raids, conducted at seven Manhattan apartments by 45 plainclothes members of the Manhattan South Public Morals Division, netted the records used by the bookmakers to keep track of who bet how much on what, police said.
"The records are gone and this is going to create a lot of problems for organized crime in Manhattan," said Capt. Michael Murray of the police department's Public Morals Division. "People are going to want their money."
"There are a lot of people who are going to be angry," said the captain, who coordinated the raids. "The only people who will be happy will be the losers."
The raids were the result of a month-long investigation and were conducted Saturday night because, Murray said, they wanted to "do it the night when we could hurt organized crime the most, and the Super Bowl is one of the biggest days of the year for a bookmaker."
No money was seized at the locations, which took bets by telephone, and no one who placed bets will lose any money, Murray said.
Murray said the ring did $500 million-a-year in business.
"This is probably one of the biggest arrests in gambling here in the city in quite some time. Usually we just hit one or two locations at a time," he said.