Timeout for awards to some of the NFL's big gainers and losers in 1985. The envelopes, please:
Denver's. First, there was the incident on Nov. 11 in which a Bronco fan hurled a snowball at 49er holder Matt Cavanaugh just as Ray Wersching was getting ready to attempt a 19-yard field goal. Wersching botched the kick, and the 49ers lost the game 17-16 and possibly a playoff berth. Even worse is the way Bronco fans treat their own kicker, Rich Karlis, who was once a favorite son but has had an off year. After missing a potential game-winning 35-yard field goal in a game the Raiders won in overtime on Dec. 8, Karlis needed the protection of two body-guards to get from the locker room to his car in the parking lot.
ON THE BRINK OF EXTINCTION
The Bills will replace as many as 13 players; the Colts are ready to ship out both quarterbacks and all receivers. Also at the end of the line: John Riggins, Washington; Ed White, San Diego; Jan Stenerud, Minnesota; Cliff Branch, Raiders; Earl Campbell, New Orleans; Lyle Blackwood, Miami; Lynn Dickey, Green Bay (see below); Bubba Baker, St. Louis; Wilbert Montgomery, Detroit; Ken Anderson, Cincinnati; Bill Bain, Rams.
Bills wide receiver Andre Reed, a fourth-round pick from Division II Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. A surprisingly confident kid when he arrived in camp, Reed had 45 receptions through 15 games; the club record for most catches by a rookie is 52 by Joe Cribbs in 1980.
Tackle Kevin Allen, Eagles No. 1 pick and the No. 9 overall, replaced as a starter in Game 5 by rookie Ken Reeves, a sixth-rounder.
BIGGEST SPLASH BY EX-USFLer
Cleveland Running back Kevin Mack (L.A. Express) has rushed for 1,074 yards.
SMALLEST SPLASH BY EX-USFLer
San Diego wide receiver Trumaine Johnson, the former All-Everything for Arizona. Signed for $2.8 million. Only two receptions in 10 games.
Curt Warner, Seattle Seahawks, with 1,002 rushing yards a year after serious knee surgery.
Miami tackle Jon Giesler, who played almost entire season on knee that needs surgery. Arthroscopy on Oct. 29, back in lineup 12 days later. Also has sprained Achilles tendon and ligament damage in his hand. Says Giesler, "There have been times when I wake up at 3 a.m. after a road trip in tremendous pain, and I turn to my wife and say, 'That's it. I'm not going to play anymore this season.' "
Quarterback Richard Todd. Making $665,000 this season as the Saints clipboard holder.
Lynn Dickey, Green Bay. Granted, he's 36 and has had more than his share of injuries in a 15-year career. But does an $850,000-a-year quarterback bench himself because, in his words, he can't get motivated?
OVERBEARING EXEC OF THE YEAR
Houston general manager Ladd Herzeg. In a class by himself. An All-Pro meddler. Even polled players about team progress, unbeknownst to coach Hugh Campbell. Fired Campbell Dec. 9, admitting the hiring was only to lure quarter-back Warren Moon from the Canadian Football League in '84, then tooted his own horn: "I traded for Drew Hill, Butch Woolfolk and signed Heisman Trophy winner Mike Rozier...." So what will he do for an encore? Or is he the next to go in Houston?
ALUMNI OF THE YEAR AWARD
To rookie punters Dale Hatcher of the Los Angeles Rams and Harry Newsome of the Pittsburgh Steelers, both from Cheraw, S.C. (pop. 5,654). Classmates ('81) and teammates at Cheraw High—Hatcher was the punter, Newsome the placekicker and quarterback—and best friends since elementary school. Hatcher even dated Newsome's sister Melody. Taught each other how to kick in front of the old National Guard Armory on Powe Street. Hatcher went to Clemson; Newsome to Wake Forest. Now Hatcher ranks eighth among NFL punters; New-some is 26th.
MOST EMOTIONAL MOMENTS
•After informing Tom Bass, his longtime defensive coordinator, that owner Alex Spanos wanted Bass fired, San Diego coach Don Coryell reportedly went to his office, closed the door and cried.
•Seattle trainer Jim Whitesel stood teary-eyed on the sidelines watching Curt Warner in his first game back from his knee injury. The two had worked eight hours each day for 10 months on Warner's rehabilitation.
•Kay Stephenson, the former Buffalo Bills' coach, tried to spare his secretary's feelings, telling her he was on his way to the bank when he had been fired.
•Ken Fantetti, Detroit inside linebacker, revealing that he had been given up for adoption at an early age and that his given name was Michael McMillan. Fantetti said that when his brother asked what had happened to him, his mother told him, "Michael died." Said Fantetti: "I've had a desire since I was a little kid to prove to my real parents that they shouldn't have given up on me."
MOST REFRESHING PERSONALITY
The Refrigerator, William Perry, brought a smile back to the dour NFL.
To Jairo Penaranda. Short of special-teams players, the Eagles summoned the ex-USFL player and coach during his Thanksgiving break from Latin American history and economics classes at UCLA to fill in. Commuted for two weeks after that.
NON-SPORTSMEN OF THE YEAR
•Chuck Noll for not shaking Sam Wyche's hand after the Oct. 27 game between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.
•Houston tight end Jamie Williams hit Art Still's knee with a crack back block, and then laughed about it as Still lay on the turf at the Astrodome.
LOOK-ALIKES OF THE YEAR
•Pete Rozelle and archenemy Al Davis. At least Ad Week must see a resemblance because in its Nov. 25 Eastern edition the magazine correctly listed Rozelle as the scheduled speaker at a banquet but ran Davis's picture with the item. We didn't bother to ask the commish if he found the photo flattering.
TRIVIAL PURSUIT AWARD
To the NFL, for cracking down on the full-color socks worn by the Cardinals Dec. 8 in a game against New Orleans. The rules say that the bottom half of uniform socks must be white, but St. Louis owner Bill Bidwill outfitted his team in all-maroon hose. His players protested (they said the socks were too ugly) and the league voiced its objections. By this time Bidwill had hauled out the old Cardinal-and-white socks.
JOEL ZWINK/FOCUS WEST
Seattle's Warner came back from knee surgery and rushed for 1,002 yards as of Sunday.
HOLT/ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
OFFENSE: Wide receiver Art Monk caught 13 passes for 230 yards and one touchdown to help rally the Washington Redskins from a 24-7 second-quarter deficit to a 27-24 victory over Cincinnati.
DEFENSE: Ed (Too Tall) Jones had four tackles and a sack and deflected a Phil Simms pass that Jim Jeftcoat returned for a touchdown as the Dallas Cowboys defeated NFC East rival New York 28-21.