In Fort Collins, the ecstatic throngs drinking beer over at C.B. and Potts must feel like tearing the goalposts down all over again--even without a game-day excuse. Go ahead. We'll keep the cops busy while you're out at the stadium. Maybe you can even get Sonny to tag along with you.
All of which brings us, somehow, to Paul "Bear" Bryant, the man in the checkerboard hat. He knew better than most the peaks and valleys of the coaching life--knew, like Bill McCartney, the demons of the night; knew, like Wade Phillips, the nightmares of porous defense. But Bryant had a greater gift for explaining it all. One story is especially telling. When Bear was head coach at Kentucky (Dan Issel's alma mater), his football program was always overshadowed by basketball--and by legendary hoops coach Adolph Rupp.
"I knew it was time to leave," Bryant said, "when they had a banquet and they gave Adolph a Cadillac and they gave me a cigarette lighter."
Barring the assassination of Steve Young in front of the Fontainebleau, Neon Deion's arrest on bad dancing charges and George Siefert's entire offensive line eating tainted fish, San Francisco is bound to do to the San Diego Chargers what they did to a certain other AFC West team in the Super Bowl--which was beat 'em by 45 points.
Now, Stan Humphries seems like a very nice young man, and Junior Seau is a very talented young beast, but if the two of them don't leave Joe Robbie Stadium in the prone position with their tongues lolling out of their mouths, a lot of Americans will be surprised. Say all you want about San Francisco's heralded Montana-Clark and Montana-Rice teams, or the absent genius of Bill Walsh. This year's edition is the best 49ers club ever--probably one of the most talented NFL teams of all time--while their opponents would likely be in tough against UCLA. Hey, the Donks beat 'em, didn't they?
Take a look at that point spread. What is it? Nineteen? Twenty? Twenty-eight? Who cares. There hasn't been a mismatch like this since Hitler took out Poland. You can bet the Buffalo Bills are happy to be reheating chili on the stove this year--Loss Five wouldn't just be a humiliation, it would be mass murder.
Instead, the hapless Chargers are doomed to the long walk. Not to worry. They're so frigging happy just to have upset Pittsburgh that they'll love putting a field goal on the board in Miami. By halftime, we could be tuning in old Danny Kaye movies and wandering outside to rotate the tires on the car.
Meanwhile, Steve Young will finally get his due, as the conventional wisdom holds up: San Francisco 49. San Diego 10.