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Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida • 8

Tampa Bay Timesi
St. Petersburg, Florida
Issue Date:
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SPORTS St PftprsburgiimrSN. Friday, April 26, 1974 SECTION CLASSIFIED buddy martin Sources say the NFL will adopt only one more city, probably Seattle if it comes down on its stadium rental and that the remaining three will have to settle for the WFL, at best. IS Times Sports Editor Tampa's Franchise Pitch Was Perfect i iiMiii IMSf ilillliP if mm li I -at mM mm Editorial, 26-A. Depending on which coast of the United States one happens to live, the National Football League is either a hero or a villain today. While there is joy abounding around Tampa Bay oyer the news an NFL team will play here in 1976, there is disdain in Seattle over the league's snubbing of the Washington city.

The problem, you see, is that Seattle has this multimillion-dollar stadium which will be completed next summer and so far there is nobody to play In it. That problem may quickly remedy itself, however, should Seattle choose to allow the World Football League admittance. The WFL applied for the rights Thursday. What we have here among the NFL, Seattle and the WFL is a bit of a poker hand. Quite frankly, Seattle's blase attitude proved costly.

It went into negotiations with the NFL. cocky over its chances and somebody failed to do their homework. WHAT APPARENTLY prompted the NFL's surprising de- cision to adopt Tampa as the 27th franchise and nobody else until June was the high rental rate on the Seattle Stadium. Reports as high as 18 per cent of the gate circulated in New York during the special NFL meeting. Seattle also stipulated that the new owner, whomever it may be, would have to spend $l-million in improvements on the new stadium.

In a day when the NFL is hit hard by inflation and competitive salaries from the WFL, it wasn't about to agree on such terms. So what the NFL did was slap the wrist of Seattle, to bide time until the June 4 meeting in New York when "at least one more team" will be chosen from the four remaining cities, Seattle, Memphis, Phoenix and Honolulu. My sources say the NFL will adopt only one more city, probably Seattle if it comes down on its stadium rental, and that the remaining three will have to settle for the WFL, at best. West Coast, where not only sports fans are ecstatic about becoming a major league city, but businessmen have come to realize what an economic boom it will be to the Suncoast. The first and most obvious question is what the new team will be called.

I can almost say for sure that the new appellation will be called the "Tampa Bay" somethings because the new franchise is dependent on the whole area for support. THE SENTDIENTAL choice at the moment would be the "Tampa Bay Buccaneers" or something reminsicent of the area's tradition with Pirates. I don't think it would be Pirates because Pittsburgh already has a baseball team by that name. And even if it is Buccaneers, it subsequently will be shortened to Bucs by headline writers, which is the nickname for the Pittsburgh Pirates. People like Bill Marcum, the promoter who is vying for the franchise and one of the most influential figures in bringing the franchise to Tampa Bay, favor Buccaneers.

The final decision, of course, rests with the new owner, whomever that might be. The chronology leading up to Wednesday, April 24, 1974, and Tampa's admission to the NFL is quite interesting. Especially in view of the fact that the whole thing may not have happened had the National Collegiate Athletic Association awarded the bowl game which Tampa sought. The NCAA chose, instead, to give Atlanta the Peach Bowl and ironically Phoenix the Fiesta Bowl. So the pro football enthusiasts went to work.

It started with the promotion of the Atlanta-Washington game in 1968 by the Tampa Jaycees, LOOKING BACK, It showed great Ingenuity and determination on the part of many people. And certain business acumen, such as setting a reasonable rental rate about eight to 10 per cent on Tampa Stadium. The performance by Tampa Bay leaders was flawless. One should only hope someday that the Tampa Bay Somethings would be able to perform half as well as the football field. UPI a "7.." Pete Rozelle Slapped Seattle On The Wrist HOWEVER, the announcement Thursday of the WFL that it is bidding for Seattle "regardless of what the NFL does" may change the posture of the whole situation.

No matter what NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle and other NFL officials say, they fear the WFL, as evidenced by the massive rules changes made Thursday to open up the game. It Seattle waits and consents to come off its price, it will be the choice. If not and if it makes an agreement with the WFL I believe the NFL will then look to Memphis. Meanwhile, excitement and enthusiasm prevail on Florida's St. Ptrtrsburs Tirnt Photo by Frsier Hal Sign Of Expansion Times: A Formidable Co-Tenant succinctly indicates stadium newest NFL home.

TIMES With Ru BLNFL Scores Choimges GARO YEPREMIAN 'big CHANGES REASONS Sudden death overtime for tied regular and Provide possibility of overtime excitement preseason games, limited to 15 minutes. now enjoyed by hockey and basketball. Goal posts moved to back line of end rones Should reduce number of field goals, which as they are for college games. critics say made NFL duller. Return missed field goal attempts from Should deduce field goal attempts.

A beyond 20-yard line to line of scrimmage missed 50-yard try now gives other team prior to kick. prime field position. Kickoffs from S5-yard line rather than Provides opportunities for better field posi- 40-yard line, tion for returning team. Kicking team cannot go down field until Creates great chance of exciting kick re-punt or field goal attempt is kicked. turns, cats down off "fair catches." Defenders prohibited from hitting eligible Increases maneuverability of receivers, pass receiver more than once in secon- probably opening up passing attack, dary.

Penalty for offensive holding near scrim- Also aids passing by turning first-and-25 mage line reduced from 15 yards to 10 situation into more makeable first-and-20 yards. after violation. "Crackback" blocks by wide receivers are Such blocks have been blamed for numer- outlawed. Receivers blocking back ous Injuries since the player being toward ball may no longer bit below blocked is almost always hit from the waist. blind side.

4 Latest WFL Coup: Philbin, Harraway, Oilers' Robinson The World Football League executed several more coup de etat on the National Football League Thursday, signing established stars who will be able to play in the WFL this season. The Birmingham Americans signed Washington Redskin running back Charlie Harraway and Houston Oiler running back Paul Robinson, the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1968 with Cincinnati. The New York Stars contracted New York Jets defensive end Gerry Philbin, a two-time All-Pro, and New York Giant defensive lineman Carter Campbell and veteran defensive lineman Lloyd who played nine years in the NFL but sat out last season. Philbin rejoins former Jets teammates George Sauer and John Elliott on the Stars. Bengals' Hearing Scheduled A court hearing on the Cincinnati Bengals' request for a preliminary injunction against the World Football League will be held Monday as scheduled, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

U.S. Dist. Judge David Porter refused to rule on a Bengals' request that the hearing be postponed and -a temporary restraining order be extended indefinitely past its Monday expiration date. Porter issued the temporary restraining order April 19, after the Bengals filed suit against the WFL and Bengals linebacker Bill Bergey, who signed a contract with the WFL's Virginia Ambassadors. Mets' McGraw Sidelined Tug McGraw, star relief pitcher of the New York Mets who has been suffering from a shoulder 'strain, was ordered Thursday "not to pick up a baseball for 8 days" by Dr.

James Parkes, the Mets' team physician. Parkes said McGraw is suffering from a minor muscle strain below the left shoulderblade. Judger Rules Blue Grass Judger stamped himself this year's Kentucky Derby favorite Thursday with a four-length victory in Keene-land's $65,550 Blue Grass Stakes. "There was. no problem today," jockey Laffit Pincay Jr.

said as he hopped from Judger's back. "We took our time and I was only afraid of finding a place to go." The surprise of the race came when Everett Lowrance's Big Latch finished second at 45-to-l and Gold and Myrrh, carrying the colors of brothers William and James Wilmot, finished third. Bid Fails An attempt by Sen; David McClain, R-Tampa, to bring a resolution to the Senate floor Thursday urging Florida State University and the University of Florida to schedule football games with the University of Tampa fell two votes short of the required two-thirds, going down 22-12. McClain said the resolution should be acted on immediately after Wednesday's announcement Tampa will be granted a National Football League franchise. McClain said playing FSU and UF would aid Tampa University's football program, which is endangered by the professional football franchise.

NORM VAN BROCKLIN 'reaction to the By HUBERT MIZELL sr. Pitersburg Tlmtt SUff Vfrltar National Football League owners made seven blockbuster rules changes Thursday aimed at cracking a domination of the game by super-sophisticated defenses and field goals. It was the biggest overhaul in 40 years. The NFL voted in New York to attempt settling tied games with sudden death overtimes and also sought to hypo the excitement by bringing back kick returns and "bomb" passes. The owners hope scoring will skyrocket.

Faced with gritty competition from the new World Football League and salty criticism from fans and the media, the NFL decided on the immediate changes that follow: A sudden death period, limited to 15 minutes, will be used when the score is tied after the regulation four periods. The first team to score in any fashion is the winner. If it goes 0-0 for 15 minutes, the game is recorded as a tie. Previously used in playoffs, sudden death now will be used in all games. Kickoffs will come from 'the 35-yard line instead of the 40, giving the receiving team better field position since the returner will be starting from his 5-yard line instead of the goal line in most instances.

Missed field goal attempts (when the line of scrimmage is beyond the 20-yard line) will see the ball returned to the original line of scrimmage. If the kicking team is operating from the 40, attempts a 47-yard field goal and misses, the ball goes back to the 40. In the past, it went to the 20 when not returned by the receiving team, Goal posts will be moved from the goal line to the rear of the end zone in an attempt to cut down on field goals. The kicking team must now move 10 yards closer for an attempt. Members of the kicking team on punts or field goal attempts must not advance downfield until the ball is kicked, which creates far more chances for a kick returner to get roll: ing before he can be challenged by tacklers.

Fair catches should be reduced greatly. Cutting down of wide receivers and roll-blocking on anyone but the tight end will be eliminated. Receivers can now not be blocked below the waist. Also, defenders can strike an eligible receiver only once In the secondary, curbing the famed "bump-and-run" tactic by cornerbacks and safetymen. This is designed to reduce injuries and open up chances for more long pass completions.

Wide receivers blocking back toward the ball (the infamous "crackback" block) will no longer be allowed to block below the waist. The penalty for offensive holding or tripping within three yards of the line of scrimmage will be reduced from 15 yards to 10 yards, slightly reducing the worry of a passing team about being pushed too deep into a hole by such penalties. It's an explosive list with nearly every change aimed at easing complaints that NFL games had become too dull since defensive systems had caught up and began giving offenses bloody noses. As far as death overtimes are concerned, they may well alter strategy in the closing moments of a game. A team possessing the ball at its own 20-yard line in a tied game may now decide to run out the clock instead of straining to get within field goal range, knowing it has a 50-50 chance in overtime.

Here's how sudden death' will work: THERE WILL be another flip of a coin, with the team winning the flip choosing whether to kick off or receive. Any team choosing to kick off will be a candidate for mental examinations. The first team to score a touchdown, field goal or safety in the 15-minute "fifth quarter" will win. If there is no score, the tie goes into the books. There were seven tie games of the 182 played in 1973 and just 12 deadlocks in 364 games the past two years.

Coach Don Shula of the Miami Dolphins said he had voted against all the rule changes, saying they were presented as a package with no opportunity to vote on the Individual changes. "They are designed to put more scoring in the game, but we'll have to wait and see what happens," he said. "We'll where behind the line of scrimmage. With the return of the goal posts to the back line, field goals now become an easier task in collegiate football than in the pros. The college boys can use a kicking tee, while the pros must boot off the turf.

Also, the college goal posts are 23 feet, 4 inches compared to the pros' 18 feet, 6 inches. "I'm extremely pleased," said NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, speaking in the same Drake Hotel suite where he had announced 24 hours earlier that Tampa would become the 27th league franchise beginning with the 1976 season. (See RULES, 3-C) give it a try this year and if it doesn't work we can change it next year. "When you have been as successful as we have in Miami, you naturally are against all changes. There are some I think I can live with.

It makes it easier on kick returns. We've got a fine kickoff return man in Mercury Morris and I'm sure glad we have Jake Scott back there on punt returns." NFL OFFICIALS said at a press briefing that the changes were the most significant since the 1933-34 seasn when goal posts were originally moved from the rear of the end zone to the goal line and when passing was first permitted from any Clearwater Man Joins Bidding George Blanda; 6. Ed deBar-tolo of Cleveland, builder and developer of shopping centers, including the university center now being constructed on Fowler Avenue and Tyrone Square Mall, St Petersburg; 7. Tom McCloskey, construction man in Philadelphia; 8. I'pton Bell, former general managing partner of the Boston Patriots; 9.

Joe Schmidt, former Detroit Lions coach, now associated with Dunedin condominium builders; 10. Rommie Loodd of the Florida Suns, Orlando; 11. Hugh Culverhouse, Jacksonville attorney; 12. Nick Miletti, president of the Cleveland Indians. 13.

Ed Rood, Tampa attorney. are: 1. The Harry Mangurian group, consisting of furniture chain owner Harry Mangurian of Fort Lauderdale, Del Mil-ler of Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay area residents Bill Marcum, Chester Ferguson, Scott Under and Bob Crisp; 2. Stormy Bidwell of St. Louis, former co-owner of the St.

Louis football Cardinals; owner of Sportsman's Park In Chicago and part owner of the Tampa Greyhound Track; 3. Nick Trilo toy manufacturer of Philadelphia; 4. Leonard Eh ing of Pittsburgh, owner of hotels; 5. Tom Kole of New York, president tf REA Express, and Oakland kicker currently is building an office-apartment complex west of the St. Petersburg Junior College campus in Clearwater.

SPANOS has scheduled a press luncheon for noon Saturday at the Tampa International Airport Hotel to further explain his intentions for bidding for the NFL franchise. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle and other NFL officials will study a list of franchise seekers and announce ownership at a later date. Besides Spanos, other individuals or groups seeking ownership of the franchise By JACK FLOWERS St. Petersburg Tlmei Staff Writer Alex G. Spanos, 50, a California building-land developer who has some interests in Pinellas County, announced his intentions Thursday to enter the bidding for Tampa Bay franchise awarded Wednesday by the National Football League.

Spanos becomes the 14th Individual or group tfiat has shown interest in acquiring the 27th NFL franchise which, will cost $16-million and become operational in 1976 at Tampa Stadium. A. G. Spanos Enterprises, headed by Spanos Correction, C-Section Thursday morning's editions erroneously reported Tampa was awarded a National Football League franchise on April 23 (Tuesday), when the actual announcement was made April 24 (Wednesday). Also, Tampa pro-" moter Bill Marcum was incorrectly identified as 'Bill Markham' in a picture caption.

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