Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on September 14, 1990 · Page 17
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 17

Indiana, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Friday, September 14, 1990
Page 17
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fKlft ,3nbimta (Sazctte SPORTS Tuesday, September 16, 2003 — Page 17 Parcells steals first victory ByJIMLITKE AP Sports Columnist EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ. — A few hours before kickoff, Bill Parcells stopped at one of his teen haunts in nearby Teaneck for ice cream. Nobody but the old coach could have guessed it wouldn't be the only stop on this visit that left a sweet taste in his mouth. The 35-32 upset of Parcells' first team, the Giants, by his latest, the Cowboys, in overtime Monday night was a reminder that while you can go home again, you better bring plenty of tough, talented and angry guys along. Plan B, apparently, is to have Parcells lead whoever shows up. The sudden-death win against a division rival on the road not only buys Parcells more time for the rebuilding effort; it means the skeptics in his locker room will buy into the philosophy he's been peddling for a little while longer. "Stamina and staying power, stamina and staying power — he's been preaching that every day since training camp began," Dallas defensive tackle La'Roi Glover said. "He keeps asking, 'Who can take a shot to the chin and come back?' "With our style of football, we know the games will come down to the fourth quarter and we've got to be ready." Glover paused. "That's coach Parcells talking, too." In the coming weeks, once the emotion wanes and the Cowboys get pounded by more poised and powerful opponents, people will ask whether Parcells, 62, can still coach over the long haul. But not now. Now, it's the Giants and coach Jim Pass el who have a lot to answer for. Fassel's clock management at the end of regulation begs second-guessing. Even more begged to be made of the dispute between coach and kicker over how the final kickoff in regulation wound up out of bounds. That miscue gave Dallas a chance to drive for the field goal that forced the extra period. Fassel said afterward he wanted a squib kick down the middle; Matt Bryant said he was told to angle it toward the left sideline. •.-.. What trie rest of New York will wonder, instead is how Parcells brought his undermanned, inexperienced and overmatched squad to the Meadowlands, yet somehow coaxed the Giants to play even worse. On the Cowboys' first play from scrimmage, Troy Hambrick ran right and lost 3 yards. On the second, he went left and lost 2. On the third, tackle Flozell Adams was whistled for a false start, losing 5 more yards before the play began. Then, just to prove things could get worse, quarterback Quincy Carter opened the Cowboys' second series by completing his first pass to Giants cor- nerback Ralph Brown, who returned it 29 yards for a touchdown. But the crazy portion of the program was just beginning. With a light drizzle becoming a downpour late in the first quarter, the Cowboys scored the first of 23 unanswered points. Then, just as inexplicably as they built the lead, they handed it back, falling behind 32-29 with 6 minutes to play in the fourth quarter. That's when the Cowboys were supposed to wilt. Parcells said repeatedly his biggest challenge in Dallas would be changing the losing culture that took hold through three previous 5-11 seasons. "You can talk about how to win, but until you learn how to do it, all you're doing," Parcells said, "is talking." The Cowboys he Inherited don't fit his ideas of offense or defense. The offensive line is too big — "he hates fat, sloppy offensive linemen," one former Parcells sidekick said — and the defensive line and linebackers aren't big enough. He can't turn the personnel over fast enough to make a difference this season, and he's been surprisingly compliant about letting his coordinators run schemes tailored to the personnel on hand. On the surface, Parcells' handiwork appears limited to assuring players they're better than they are. Anything else that remains a proprietary secret. Asked what he was getting for the $17.1 million he forked over to lure Parcells back to the sideline from the broadcast booth, Dallas owner Jerry Jones struggled. "I'll say this," he said finally. "I'm glad he was on our sideline tonight instead of the other one. We've got a young team that was down with 11 seconds left and they didn't quit. "I give him a lot of credit," Jones said. Then he swallowed hard. "THE credit." But afterward, Parcells was trying to tamp down the euphoria. "We weren't too resilient last week," he said, recalling the Cowboys' season-opening loss to Atlanta. "So I don't know whether it's a temporary thing or something that we can take with us." Wave after wave of former Giants showed up before and after the game to exchange hugs. They, too, talked how he dragged Nthings-;out of them.—.desire, efV.. fort, cool under pressure — they didn't know they possessed. They didn't know how, either, but they didn't care. One of them, Bart Gates, said he expected his old boss to be more nostalgic about his return. But he noted the Jersey kid did stop off at Bischoff's for the ice cream. Oates didn't say whether Parcells paid for the treats, but no one should doubt that he stole a "W" from the Giants. And no doubt he was already plotting how to do the same to the Jets. "If you'll excuse me, I'm going to take a shower now," Parcells said with a weary grin. "I'll be back in two weeks." Jim Litke is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at The Dallas Cowboys celebrated their overtime win against the Giants Monday night. (AP photo) Late-game gaffe costs Giants in overtime ByTOMCANAVAN AP Sports Writer EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ. — Bill Parcells stood outside the locker room and congratulated each and every passing player. He had just escaped with his first victory as coach of the Dallas Cowboys and did it against the New York Giants, the team he led to two Super Bowl victories. "I feel fortunate to win," Parcells said. "I would have been very disappointed to lose. It was one of the greatest games I've ever be en involved in." It took a record-tying game from a relatively unknown kicker and some help from those notoriously inept guys on New York's special teams to give Parcells the unlikely victory, a 35-32 overtime thriller Monday night. "That was about as wild a win as I've ever been in," Parcells said a few minutes after Billy Cundiff kicked his seventh field goal with 5:56 left in sudden death. Cundiff's winning 25-yard kick' came after jie..forced overtime,,, ;!wrm a career-long 52ryarder that barely got over the crossbar on the final play of regulation. Cundiff probably never should have had a chance to tie it after Matt Bryant kicked a 30-yarder to give New York a 32-29 lead with 11 seconds to play. All the Giants—who passed up a chance to run the clock down before the field goal — had to do was put the kickoff in play so that the clock would start. That would have left the Cowboys with one desperation play, but they wound up with just enough time to tie it. Jim Fassel said he told Bryant to squib the kickoff down the middle. Bryant said his instructions were to squib it to the left. The kick skidded on the artificial surface and went out of bounds at the 1, giving the Cowboys the ball at their own 40. "They gave us a chance when "I feel fortunate to win. I would have been very disappointed to lose. It was one of the greatest games I've ever been involved in." they kicked the ball out of bounds on that kickoff," Parcells said. Quincy Carter then hit Antonio Bryant with a 26-yard pass in front of the New York bench to put Cundiff in position to tie it. "You've got to give a lot of credit to coach Parcells," said Carter, 25-of-40 for 321 yards: "All through training camp we've been working on situational things. "You never know when they'll come up. We were prepared for it. No one panicked." An emotionally drained Fassel had trouble explaining what happened on the squib kick after the last of the Giants' 18 fourth,quarter points. .,,,.. . . . ,." I didn't plan o h having the ball" at the 40-yard line with no time off the clock," said Fassel, whose red eyes showed his deep disappointment of blowing what should have been a 2-0 start. Matt Bryant seemed just as frustrated after another special teams fiasco. Remember, the Giants missed two fourth-quarter field goal attempts because of bad snaps in dropping a 39-38 decision to San Francisco in the playoffs last season. "We should have won, but that ... happened at the end," Matt Bryant said. "I know what's about to happen, but I did what I was supposed to do." Cundiff, who had never kicked more than two field goals in a game, made the Giants pay. "To be honest, I felt I just did my job," said Cundiff, the fourth NFL kicker to make seven field — Bill Parcells goals in a game. Cundiff's kicks covered 37, 49, 42, 21, 36, 52 and 25 yards. In Dallas' season-opening loss to Atlanta, he missed a 33-yarder on his only attempt and he had an extra point blocked. Carter added an 8-yard touchdown run and linebacker Al Singleton scored on a 41-yard interception return for Dallas. New York's Kerry Collins was 21-for-51 for 265 yards and threw three touchdown passes, and cornerback Ralph Brown scored on a 29-yard interception return. Co Urns' TD passes covered 6 yards to Ike Hilliard, 1 to Jeremy Shockey, and 20 to Amani Toomer. Tiki Barber ran for a 2. point conversion to tie it at 29 ."with 6:20 to gti in the fourth quarter. "They just made plays at the end and we didn't," Giants defensive end Michael Strahan said. "We can't be mad at anybody but ourselves for coming back at the end and then letting it slip away." NOTES: Toomer had seven catches for 126 yards in replacing Frank Gifford as the Giants career receiving leader (5,533 yards).... Cowboys receiver Terry Glenn had eight catches for 113 yards. ... Giants DT Keith Hamilton was sidelined in the second half with a hamstring injury.... Barber had 41 yards on 15 carries after gaining 146 last week. He also lost a fumble for the second straight week. ... Shockey finished with two catches for 8 yards and two drops, including a wide-open 1-yard flip in the end zone. Clarett's challenge could change landscape BYARTTHIEL Seattle Post-Intelligencer SEATTLE — Now that Maurice Clarett appears to have broken as many rules as tackles, the soon- ta-be-former Ohio State University running back is taking aim at the NFL. This could be fun, inasmuch as all the suits in the NCAA and NFL may soon develop a weapons- grade pucker regarding his future. Seems the sports executives can't figure out what to do with a guy who doesn't fit. Again. After his suspension from Ohio State for the season after various violations of NCAA rules, as well as an ongoing academic fraud investigation, Clarett and his lawyer wrote a letter last week to NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, asking for'a meeting to discuss changing the rules to allow him to be eligible for the NFL draft next April. The rumored threat is that Clarett plans to sue the league. An NFL rule forbids eligibility until three years after the player's high school graduation. In the rapidly changing big-time sports world, where an 18-year-old basketball player gets drafted with the first pick in the NBA draft, a 14-year-old soccer player earns millions in a shoe contract and a 13-year-old female golfer hits 300-yard drives in a pro tournament, the NFL rule seems a little Aunt Bea. And let's not forget how many Olympic medals are won by skaters, swimmers and gymnasts not old enough to drive. The perceived threat is that in allowing Clarett, a would-be sophomore, into the draft, pro football would be made subject to the same marketplace rules as just about every other pro sport upon the globe. Horrors. "I can't believe a practice for the protection of the colleges would be legally ruled invalid," said an NFL executive. "I can't believe something like that would hold up."It would destroy college sports — all sports in the colleges." The speaker was not talking about Clarett, even though the situation is similar. The speaker was former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle. In March 1971 he was speaking of the unprecedented case of basketball wunderkind Spencer Haywood. As some sports ancients might recall, Haywood was a teenage phenom who jumped from the University of Detroit after his freshman year into the old American Basketball Association in 1969. Not long after, tempted by the riches of brash Hollywood mogul Sam Schulman, who owned the expansion Seattle Su- perSonics, Haywood bolted his ABA contract for the NBA, despite the association's prohibition against players less than four years removed from high school. Several of Haywood's Sonics games in 1970-71 were played under protest by opposing teams furious with Schulman's stunt, which they saw as a threat to the collegiate farm system for the NBA. The ensuing legal caterwaul reached the U.S. Supreme Court, where Justice William O. "(Clarett) isn't ready physically for this league. It's different. The chance to go to college is something we should encourage." — Mike Holmgren, Seahawks coach Douglas ordered that Haywood be permitted to play while the litigation proceeded. Eventually, the NBA lost in court because there were no legal grounds to deny employment to Haywood. Rozelle, along with most sports executives then and now, saw the decision as calamitous. Then and now, they were wrong. Numerous recent reports proclaim big-time college sports alive and well enough. For a couple of years, the NBA tried a "hardship" rule, in which underclassmen seeking eligibility were forced to plead poverty, which proved to be one of the larger jokes in the business history of sports. All a player needed to do was park the agent-purchased muscle car around the corner while filling out the forms, and voila, he was poor enough to qualify for pro ball. "We were uncomfortable," Russ Granik, NBA deputy commissioner, said yesterday of the hardship rule. "So after two or three years, we dropped it and said that a player was eligible after his college class graduated, but he could apply for early entry if he renounced college eligibility. That's the way it's been since." The Haywood case set the national precedent for pro sports. But the NFL acquired some insulation in 1990 by talking its players union into an early entry requirement of three years past a player's high school graduation class. As with unions in many industries, the NFLPA has the right to set terms and conditions for entry employment. The union doesn't want a flood of kids lowering the market value of its members, and the NFL doesn't want to have to add training wheels. "I hope that rule never changes," said Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren. "(Clarett) isn't ready physically for this league. It's different. The chance to go to college is something we should encourage." But nothing Clarett has said or done has indicated he wants to be in college. Much in the fashion of former Washington running back Corey Dillon, he went to school because the system forced him. A junior college transfer, Dillon in 1996 lit up Husky Stadium but, as campus legend has it, rarely showed up in the classroom. Once he completed his junior year of eligibility, his four-month UW sentence was over. He was eligible under NFL rules, and has become a star with the Cincinnati Bengals. Despite Holmgren's contention, others think Clarett is NFL-ready. As with Dillon, there are many more who also have no need or desire for college, yet take up college space and resources because the NFL-NCAA duopoly precludes any other choice. In the case of Clarett, if the continuing investigations prove Ohio State officials knew or should have known of his rules violations and criminal misdeeds that would have made him ineligible last season, the NCAA could order Ohio State to forfeit its regular-season games, ruining its Bowl Championship Series tide triumph over Miami. Perhaps the collapse of the Ohio State championship might inspire fresh thinking about continuing to force octagonal pegs into trapezoidal holes. Then again, not much reform has happened since Michigan was forced to surrender two men's NCAA basketball second- place finishes because its celebrity "Fab Five" players were making more money than Canada. Tagliabue says he feels the NFL is legally safe because the league's entry minimum was collectively bargained. He's probably right But the NBA was just as certain it could force Haywood off the Sonics roster. If Clarett has the will — he certainly will be provided the money — he may well ask a court, and the sports world: Why is it OK for my teenage buddy up the road in Akron, Le- Bron James, to be a pro athlete in the sport of his choice, but not me? He will hear rationalizations. He will not hear reasons. Browns- can't forget Lewis By TOM WITHERS AP Sports Writer BEREA, Ohio — The lights darkened, and suddenly Jamal Lewis was breaking tackles, flattening linebackers and slamming through safeties with ease. Lewis ran all over the Cleveland Browns again. One day after allowing Lewis to set an NFL rushing record with 295 yards, the Browns had to endure watching the tape of the Baltimore back's stunning performance. Seeing it on the big screen Monday was so painful, Kenard Lang swore he would never do it again. "It's over," the defensive end said. "That was one of those- games where you get the tape, you burn it and you don't look at it anymore." Too bad, but that's impossible since there's historical documentation of Lewis' rampage, which he predicted last week in a phone call to Browns linebacker Andra Davis. "I'm going to be on NFL films for the rest of my life," Lang said with a sigh. Forgetting their trip to Baltimore is a No. 1 priority for the Browns (0-2), who were outplayed in every facet of a 33-13 loss on Sunday. Despite coach Butch Davis' positive spin during his weekly news conference, little went right for the Browns. Cleveland's offense, which was supposed to be one of the AFC's most dangerous units, managed just 175 yards and has scored one touchdown in two games. Quarterback Kelly Holcomb looked horrible. He was indecisive and forced several passes into double and triple coverage, finishing 17-for-37 for 115 yards with two interceptions. The Browns' special teams were anything but special. Norr mally automatic punter Chris Gardocki shanked a 10-yarder, and kicker Phil, Dawson sliced a kickoff out of bounds. And although the defense prepared for the Ravens to give Lewis the ball 30 times, the Browns still couldn't stop him. "All we can do now is put it behind us," safety Earl Little said. "It's in the history books." And, in the record book, as Lewis' day was the greatest rushing performance in more than 80 years of the NFL. Still, Davis attempted to put a happy face on things. He said Lang (two sacks) and defensive tackle Gerard Warren "may have had their best games since I've been here," and that linebacker Davis "was outstanding." Butch Davis then pointed out the Browns did a good of stopping Lewis most of the time. "We obviously did not play the run well," he said. "And the sad thing about it is that on 25 of the runs, they averaged 2.4 yards per carry. But you can't have five carries that make 200 or so yards." No kidding. Davis blamed the Browns' inability to pick up yardage on first down as the primary reason for Cleveland's offensive ineptitude. He's surprised the unit hasn't played better, but Davis said Holcomb isn't at fault. '""* "He knows exactly what do," said Davis, who picked Holcomb as his starter over Tim Couch. "He's making the right reads. He's certainly been a victim of situations in the ballgame. It's never easy battling from behind. It's tough when you get behind 16-3 and you're fighting uphill." Davis scoffed when asked if the loss was the low point of his three-year tenure in Cleveland.-' "No, God, no," he said. "You can't imagine how low previous times were. A lot lower." ''" Davis also bristled when aske^ if a change at quarterback might be warranted. .; "Nope," he said. i.w The Browns, though, need to regroup quickly. If the defence had trouble with the one-dime^ sional Ravens, who had just J50 yards passing, they could be.m for another long day at San Francisco on Sunday trying to stop Jeff Garcia, Terrell Owens and Garrison Hearst. ,, Offensive tackle Ryan Tucker said it's time to dig deep. There's plenty of blame on both sides of the ball, he said, and now isn't the time for anyone to be pointing fingers. "We're all in this together," n^ said. "We're going to sink or swirn together." „,, Tackling might be nice, too. j( . The Indiana Gazette on the Internet

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