Publish date:

NFL Goes To School

Teenage boys can download only so many photos of Sarah Michelle
Gellar. The NFL, cognizant of that and of the fact that more than
90% of high school students will have Internet access by next
year, last month launched An integral part of the
league's $100 million NFL Youth Football Fund campaign, which is
intended to increase teen interest in football and breed future
generations of NFL fans, may someday be remembered as
an early step toward a national (and nationally televised) high
school football championship. "It's a way to bring the high
school fan from California together with the high school fan from
Illinois," says the site's editor, Teddy Werner, who at 22 may
still fit into his prom tuxedo. "I want the site to be a source
for everyone who's involved in high school football."

The site works best when it shrinks the far-flung high school
game. Want to know the top-ranked school in Delaware? Go to
"Choose a State" and click on "DE." Scroll down farther to "MS"
and learn that Marquez Dupree, the eldest son of enigmatic former
Oklahoma rushing legend Marcus Dupree, is averaging 10.9 yards
per carry at Philadelphia High. Another link, "National High
School Football Records," is a veritable Booty call. Former
Shreveport (La.) Evangel Christian High quarterback Josh Booty,
now at LSU, is the career leader in pass attempts (1,401), while
his younger brother Abram, a wide receiver at Evangel
Christian--and now, also at LSU--holds the national marks for
receiving yardage (5,867), receptions (302) and touchdowns (83).

The site is especially useful for high school coaches and
players. Coaches can access an interactive playbook that provides
more than 200 plays, or glean articles on the strategies and
fundamentals of the game. Players--and their parents--can learn how
to obtain scholarships and other forms of financial aid and even
get a rundown on the top summer camps. The site does suffer from
being a promotional tool of the NFL. Links such as "Players'
Corner" and "NFL Community" disrupt the grassroots feel. Consider
that a minor quibble, though, like having to take biology lab
right after lunch.

The group that may benefit the most from is neither the
NFL nor high school athletes but mans the gridiron bridge that
separates them, college football. For the road-weary college
recruiter, may supplant Rand-McNally as his most
valuable tool of the trade. --John Walters


The pocket-sized ScanZ Scannor could revolutionize the way
referees and coaches use instant replay

Anyone who has seen an NFL referee duck Wizard of Oz-like beneath
a dark shroud to review a call knows that instant replay isn't
instant. Tony Verna, who as director of CBS Sports pioneered the
use of instant replay in 1964, feels your pain. That's why Verna,
with Cadence Design Systems, Inc., created the ScanZ Scannor,
which plays and replays live feeds with greater definition than
that of a standard television. An NFL referee with a Scannor in
his pocket could view a play in the time it takes to dial a cell

If only the NFL were interested. "We had a meeting with the
league representative last February," says Scanz Communications
president Sheldon Saltman, whose product should be in stores next
summer, "and they were not ready for us." One of the NFL's
concerns was that the screen was too small. Saltman and Verna
have addressed that objection--the Scannor now has a four-inch
screen--and plan to pitch the NFL again...after they've drummed
up more support. They have tested their battery-powered device at
more than 50 high school games, and they will try the Scannor at
a Canadian Football League playoff game on Sunday.

Four NFL coaches have asked Saltman for a Scannor. These wannabe
visionaries realize that if they had one on the sidelines, they
could review a play before deciding whether to challenge a call.
"I was flattered," says Saltman, "but I told them that we would
have to wait for approval from the league." --J.W.


Dan Patrick
The beer hawker turned radio squawker snared President Clinton
for an on-air chat last Thursday.


Samuel Tamez
The ABC cameraman was getting ready to shoot the Wisconsin-Purdue
game when his ex-wife tried to shoot him. She got off two shots
with a .38 before being disarmed, but he escaped unharmed.

The editor of wants it to be a source for everyone
involved in high school football.