The Sacramento Bee from Sacramento, California on December 23, 1980 · 6
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The Sacramento Bee from Sacramento, California · 6

Sacramento, California
Issue Date:
Tuesday, December 23, 1980
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§P0irt§ business Classified SECTION The Sacramento Bee Tuesday December 23 1980 1 Benirschke Fouts Pace Chargers To 26-17 Win SAN DIEGO (AP) — Rolf Benirschke kicked four field goals and quarterback Dan Fouts steered San Diego on five straight scoring drives as the Chargers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 26-17 Monday night to move into the National Football League playoffs The victory gave San Diego 11-5 its second straight American Conference West Division title and the final berth in the 10-team NFL playoff field By virtue of the victory San Diego drew a bye into the AFC semifinals Jan 4 against the winner of Sunday’s wildcard matchup between Oakland and Houston Playing near-flawless football the Chargers used ball control to hand the Steelers their seventh loss in 16 games Running back Chuck Muncie rushed for a season-high 115 yards on 26 carries and scored an insurance touchdown of 10 yards with 3:22 remaining Benirschke who nearly died of a rare stomach disease a year ago was successful on his four field goal attempts connecting twice from 33 yards and twice from 26 yards He tied a club record for most field goals in a game and broke a team mark for most points scored in a season with 118 San Diego scored on six of its eight possessions behind the play of Fouts who completed 21 of 37 attempts for 308 yards and scored on a 1-yard run that gave San Diego a 16-3 lead early in the third quarter of the game that was witnessed by a sellout crowd of 52000 and a national television audience Pittsburgh playing only for pride after being denied a playoff berth for the first time since 1971 opened the game by marching to the San Diego 12 but Matt Bahr missed a 26-yard field goal attempt The Chargers then drove 66 yards in 14 plays to set up Be-nirschke's first 33-yard field goal The Steelers tied it 3-3 on their next possession going 81 yard to the San Dead Son's BOSTON (AP) — He wasn’t poor but when John and Timmy were growing up James Bowen couldn’t afford a real vacation So he took his kids to watch the New England Patriots at their training camp Last year John then 20 and Timmy 18 "saved for three months” so they could join a tour group that was bussing down to New York to watch the Patriots play the Jets on Dec 9 their father says All the Bowens were avid Patriots fans They would watch them often But on Dec 9 1979 the boys saw only Pinal Standing! American Confirm lilt Klinchnd dimion title y-dinchad playoff berth Saturday's Oamea New York Jets 24 Miami 17 Chicago 14 Tampa Bay 13 Sunday's Oimet Washington 31 SLLouls 7 Cleveland 27 Cinclnniti 24 Detroit 24 Green Bey 3 Houston 20 Minnesota 16 New England 38 New Orleini 27 Oakland 33 New York Giants 17 Kansas City 38 Baltimore 28 Lot Angeles 20 Atlanta 17 0T Bulfito IS Smv Fnocisco 13 Denver 25 Seattle 17 Dallas 35 Philadelphia 27 Monday'! Remit San Diego 26 Pittsburgh 17 End Regular Seaton TODAY RADIO AY SHADOWS NORSI RACI RISUITS Thoroughbred report KFBX (1530) 336136 iM Golden State it Houston KNBR (600) COUIQI IASKITIAU 1:10 Mt New Meiico State el University of San Francisco KNSR (680) (tape delay) T1LIY1SION Diego 15 before Bahr hit on a 32-yard field goal Benirschke got his two 26-yard field goals in the second period to give San Diego a 9-3 halftime lead Fouts the NFL’s record-breaking passing yardage leader for the second straight year opened the second half with a 59-yard bomb to tight end Kellen Winslow setting up San Diego’s first touchdown on Fouts’ keeper The Steelers roared back behind a pair of long completions from Terry Bradshaw to wide receiver Theo Bell for their first touchdown Bell had receptions of 32 and 35 yards before running back Sidney Thornton scored on a 2-yard run midway in the third quarter to make it 16-10 Benirschke's fourth field goal Which tied the club one-game record he shares with three others came with 3:33 remaining in the third quarter after Fouts took the Chargers on a 12-play 59-yard drive On that series Fouts hit a pair of third-down passes of 13 and 17 yards to Winslow and John Jefferson respectively Trailing 19-10 late in the third quarter Pittsburgh marched to the San Diego 20 but stalled when a fourth-down pass by Bradshaw was batted out of Thornton’s hands by San Diego linebacker Woodrow Lowe Muncie’s 10-yard run boosted the San Diego lead to 26-10 with 3:22 remaining and capped a 10-play 64-yard drive The Steelers scored the final touchdown on the last play of the game when Bradshaw hit tight end Bennie Cunningham on a 16-yard scoring pass But it was not enough for the Steelers who won four Super Bowl titles including the last two but missed the playoffs this year Fouts finished with 4715 yards for the season breaking the record of 4082 See CHARGERS Page C4 Mom: ‘ Where Were The Jets?' After Shea Stadium Mishap the first half John spent the rest of the National Football League game in a hospital his brother nearby Four days later John was dead A halftime display of remote-controlled airplanes had gone awry A device called the "Flying Lawnmower” a title that James Bowen says accurately describes the object plunged into the seats behind the Patriots’ bench John one of the 60372 persons counted in the official attendance was hit in the bead It is a year later now and the three Bowens are still devoted boosters of the litionil Conference East i-Philadelphia 12 4 0 750 3M 222 Playoffs Wild Ctrl Playoffs Sunday Dec 21 America Conference Houston at Oakland National Conference Loa Angelee it Dallas Divisional Hayoffi laturday-tunday Jin 3-4 Oakland or Buffalo at Cleveland Buffalo or Houtton at San Diego DatM to be determined National Conference Dallat or Minnesota at Atlanta Lot Angelet or Minnesota at Philadelphia Dates to be determined Conference ChampiontMps Sunday Jan 11 American Conference Teams to be determined National Conference Teams to be determined Sunday Jan 29 Super Surf W At New Orleans U AFC champion vs NFC champion Golden State at Houston 1 WIDNISOAV RADIO AY MSA DOWS HORSS RACS A I SUITS Throrougbered report KFBK (1530) 336 3J65JI pm TILS VISION Patriots a reverence enhanced by the way the club helped them Chuck Sullivan the team’s executive vice president was at the hospital daily after the accident and provided emotional and legal support The Patriots picked up hospital and funeral bills Club owner Billy Sullivan traveled to their Nashua NH home twrn days before last Christmas He gave them a poinsettia and an invitation for James and Timmy to accompany the club on its preseason trip to the West Coast They made that trip last summer John his wife Connie and Timmy also were the club's guests in the press box a year and a day after their son’s death at the Patriots’ win over Buffalo at Schaefer Stadium "Chuck is God No 2 as far as my family is concerned" said Mrs Bowen Finally It Can Be San Diego's Playoff Games Will NEW YORK (UPD — Here are the sites for the NFL playoffs: San Diego earned the final playoff spot Monday night defeating Pittsburgh 26-17 The Chargers clinched the AFC West title over Oakland on the basis of best net points within the division The Patriots are eliminated from the playoffs and Houston plays at Oakland in the AFC wild-card game Sunday The Raiders get the borne field because of a better conference record San Diego won the right to host all conference playoff games and will play either Houston or Buffalo on Jan 3 or Jan 4 depending on the result of the wild Gary BUFFALO BILLINGS or “What’s a nice team like the Bills doing in a city like Buffalo?" Minutes after the Buffalo Bills defeated the San Francisco 49ers Sunday to give them the title in the American Football Conference East Division the doors were closed to the Bills’ locker room Chuck Knox head coach and Ralph Wilson owner had a few things they wanted to say to the team The team also had a few things it wanted to say to Knox and Wilson as well as each other Then came the singing Forty-five players a few coaches and one happy owner all singing off-key If anybody wants a recording of the “Buffalo Jingle” K-Tel Records will probably have it on the market in a few days WHEN THE BAYING finally died down the door was opened The doorman however wasn’t vet congenial It happened to be “the meanest man" in “Where were the Jets? Where were the Jets?" The Bowens say they are bitter They say the Jets had a greater responsibility than the Patriots because the accident occurred in their stadium Yet they say the Jets did nothing "I don’t know of anything we’ve done" says Steve Gutman secretary and administrative manager of the Jets Why not? “1 can’t comment on that” he- said "If they feel that way then I’m sorry” Why did the Patriots help out? "The boy came down to see our game from New Hampshire and we feel a sense of responsibility to his parents to try and help them in whatever way we can” Chuck Sullivan says "I think they are obviously completely demolished by the accident but Told card game Sunday Cleveland clinched the AFC Central Division title Sunday breaking a tie with Houston on the basis of a better conference record Buffalo clinched the AFC East title with a victory in San Francisco but the Bills definitely will not host a conference semifinal playoff game Buffalo will play away on Jan 3 or Jan 4 because of NFL tie-breaker procedures In the NFC Philadelphia lost to Dallas but clinched the East title anyway on the basis of best net points in division games The Cowboys needed to win by at least 25 points to gain their fifth straight division crown Voet - — Buffalo Bills Are Heard pro football Conrad Dobler "Meanest” as in notorius for biting the legs arms and helmet noseguards of defensive linemen — in a 1977 game against Miami a formal protest was filed against Dobler by Dolphin management charging him “with deliberately trying to injure players” “Meanest” as in ornery All 6-foot-3 255 pounds of him As the media rushed inside to get the scoops Dobler became a one-man bulldozer “Get the out of my way” said Dobler as he pushed people aside on his way to his locker Some got out of his way others followed After all Dobler has been around He has played with good teams SL Louis and two division titles in "74 and ’75 and bad teams New Orleans for the last two years He is known in the NFL besides Mr Bad Guy as a very good football player He must have something to say about the Bills’ title compared to the Cardinals’ two titles “THOSE PLAYOFF GAMES are just memories” stated Dobler about the they have continued to follow the team Mrs Bowen told me she was a fan of the team when we played in Fenway Park” Gutman said the Electronic Eagles which staged the halftime show was "a national organization of substance" and had performed at Shea Stadium twice before as well as at other stadiums He said they have not performed at Shea since the accident Fran Connors an NFL spokesman said it’s up to the home team to choose the halftime entertainment He said that after the accident the league sent “a detailed report” on it to all club presidents and general managers "While there’s no league ban as such I doubt very much that anyone would do that sort of thing” Connors said The Bowens have retained a lawyer They have not filed suit and hope to two first-round playoff losses in ’74 and ’75 “Just memories you understand This is now today We have the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl Man that’s what this game is all about To be world champions You understand?" Settle down Conrad It was just a question "Look” continued Dobler not settling down one bit “that’s why we go to camp Going to the Super Bowl is a game that comes along once in a lifetime You don’t usually get two or three chances We know how important it is You understand?” Gotcha Mr Dobler Just one more question providing you don’t bite the pencil and notebook in half You’ve been traded a couple of times In SL Louis you played with a winning team and were part of helping New Orleans start a respectable program prior to this season How come when you were traded newspaper reports generally attributed to club officials said you weje hard to get along with a See VOET Page C4 reach a settlement with parties to the accident without going to court He said that since the accident he has been to four Patriots’ games and has retained his enthusiasm for football "Football didn't kill my son" he said "It was an overgrown kid playing with toys” Bowen 54 was a tackle on the Nashua High School football team Timmy was a kicker there and plans to try out for the kicking job at Plymouth State College next year Mrs Bowen said she remains "a football nut” But there was one game this season the Patriots’ Oct 5 meeting with the Jets at Shea Stadium that she made sure she didn't watch on television “It would have been too much deja vu" she said "As far as I'm concerned that’s my son’s tomb" Be At Home Dallas will play host to Los Angeles Sunday in the NFC wild-card playoff game Last week Minnesota clinched the Central Division and Atlanta became the Western Division champion If Los Angeles beats Dallas the Rams travel to Philadelphia and Atlanta plays host to Minnesota in the NFC semifinals If Dallas defeats Los Angeles the Falcons are home against the Cowboys and the Vikings travel to Philadelphia League rules stipulate no wild-card club may play a team from its own division until the conference title game wants to be understood

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