The Los Angeles Rams were playing the 49ers, and Quarterback John Hadl attempted a sneak from the one-yard line. He was immediately engulfed and, so the story goes, 49er players began shouting at the officials to untangle the players heaped on the goal line. "Take it easy," the referee said. "It's not easy to find a Hadl in a kneestack."
Evel Knievel's helicopter pilot is named Watcha McCollum.
Gary Cleverly, centerfielder for the Reno Silver Sox of the California League, was given a watch for being the team's most popular player. The next night he was lined $10—for being late to infield practice. No excuses.
During a recent tournament, Jack Nicklaus was approached by a boy asking for an autograph. Nicklaus signed, and the youngster asked for his address, too. "What do you need that for?" the golfer asked. "So I can write to you," the little chap said. As Nicklaus was obligingly putting down his address, the kid added. "You know, it's going to cost me 10¢ to write to you." "And it'll cost me the same to answer you," Jack noted. "Yeah," said the kid, "but you can write it off."
Johnny Miller, golf's leading money-winner, has taken up duck hunting. So far, Miller bags a lot more birdies on the golf course than in the marshes. "The ducks have a heckuva chance," says Miller of his prowess in the blinds with a shooting iron. "It's more of a sport for them than it is for me."
Most awkward to explain casualty on the Team Canada '74 outfit that played the Russians in Moscow last week has to be Defenseman Pat Price. A junior player from western Canada who signed with the Vancouver Blazers for a reported $1 million, Price suffered a sprained ankle. He sprained it when he—blush—fell off his platform shoes. "I'm not really used to them, and I tried to run in them," Price said. "I tipped over. Boy, was it ever embarrassing."
Liza Minnelli claims she has discovered recently that life need not consist entirely of acting. It can also include people—and sports. "I had never wanted to get into the whole Hollywood social-life scene," she says. "I always assumed it was totally phoney and blugghk. Well, listen. When you play tennis with these people, or ski, or play backgammon, you're all concentrating on something outside yourselves and each other. Everybody's thinking about the game; nobody's thinking of status, and is your latest movie doing better than mine? Sports are a great way of finding out that there are really some swell people out here."
While Muhammad Ali and George Foreman work toward a big payday in jungly Za√Øre, another heavyweight. Ken Norton, is hard at work in the jungles of Louisiana. Norton is playing the role of a strong-willed slave in a Dino De Laurentiis film of the book Mandingo. "Acting is tedious like boxing." Norton says, "only more so. The day never really ends. But it's more exciting in some ways, and the people are just fantastic." (They hardly ever hit you, for one thing.) Speaking of which, when asked the obligatory question about the outcome of the Kinshasa title fight, Norton said, "Ali's a fine man—but Foreman will win." Meanwhile, there was the stranger who walked up to Norton on the set and said, "That's a helluva pair of arms you've got. Ever swing a bat in organized ball?" Norton replied, "Nah, I'm just an actor."
Although John Newcombe has won over $200,000 this year and a number of other tennis players have passed $100,000, Don Budge reads the news without weeping. Thirty-six years ago, you may remember. Budge dominated tennis more thoroughly than any player does today. In 1938 he won the U.S., French, British and Australian titles. When he turned pro he got a total of $100,000, spread over three years. Yet he doesn't envy the present players. "Know how much income tax I paid for 1939?" Budge asks. "Exactly $2,080. That was when a dollar was worth a dollar. Today it's worth 29¢. Steaks were $2 then. We received a pro rate on hotels—five or six dollars a night. Gasoline was 12 or 13¢ a gallon. To have the purchasing power I had with my $100,000, a player today would have to earn at least $500,000."
Reserve Arkansas Quarterback Mark Miller startled Razorback coaches in August by announcing that he would be the starting quarterback. A coach pointed out that Miller would have to beat out two more experienced players. "I know that," Miller said confidently, "but they're both getting married. I'll be the only one thinking about football all the time." Sure enough, bachelor Miller started Arkansas' opening game, in which the Razorbacks upset USC, and has been at the controls ever since.
The Kentucky Colonels' latest brainstrain is an AMC Gremlin painted as a basketball shoe. Ellie Brown, the Colonels' chairman of the board, drives it around Louisville. She says people look at her like she's crazy.
Dr. Billy Graham has reported that he had made a decision to change his ways. The evangelist spoke of his conversion in Dallas. "I don't putt cross-handed any more," he said. "Tom Weiskopf talked with me about my grip. He also told me I wasn't practicing the positive thinking I'd been preaching. I accepted his counsel on the grip, but I told him he had me mistaken for Norman Vincent Peale, about that positive thinking." Particularly on the golf course.