The things NFL owners say are harsh medicine for Baltimore

Until scientists develop a vaccine for those who suffer from optimism that Peter Angelos will buy and move a football franchise from Tampa to Baltimore, we will have to rely on conventional remedies. For example, the simple quoting of NFL owners from out-of-town newspapers can reduce fever and euphoria.

Try this: "I know that Tampa is one of the premier places -- and let me emphasize premier places -- in the country for an NFL franchise. The NFL would be crazy to give up that market. Everybody in the NFL is cognizant about Tampa's ability to be a great NFL town. It would be silly to pull out of there now."


That's from the lips of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, quoted in the Tampa Tribune. (I'm feeling less fevered already, aren't you?)

Jones, of course, is the same power-tie-kinda-guy who was quoted in The Sun this week as suggesting that NFL owners should accommodate Angelos and his $200 million offer for the Buccaneers, even if that means moving the pathetic team out of Tampa Bay.


Need another dose of pessimism to offset your high hopes? Here's what Rankin Smith Jr., owner of the Atlanta Falcons, told the Tribune: "I would prefer [the Bucs] stay in Tampa. It's a great city with all the prerequisites to have an NFL team." Here's what Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney said: "Tampa has been a great addition to the league. It turned out to be everything we hoped it would develop into and more."

And old Colts fans will love this conceit from Pat Bowlen, owner of the Denver Broncos: "You have to show cause to move a team. At this stage, I don't think there's any cause. In general, owners frown on relocation because we feel we have a civic responsibility to the area we've been in." If such utterances have cured you of optimism, they have probably sickened you in other ways. For this I apologize and offer a therapeutic grain of salt: These NFL owners can be duplicitous; they are the same guys who claimed Baltimore was in the running for a new franchise, then gave it to Jacksonville.

This and that

In the post-holiday mail comes this postcard: "Come Back To Miami! (We weren't shooting at you.)" . . . Bumper sticker spotted in Baltimore: "Practice Random, Senseless Acts." . . . Five things my pal, Big Little Joey Peske, says we could do with all those portraits of William Donald Schaefer hanging in state office buildings: "1. Just the thing to spruce up light rail stations. 2. Blow them up sofa size and sell them at the next starving artist sale at the Pikesville Hilton. 3. Stick them on cardboard and use them to fill empty seats the next time someone makes a movie at Camden Yards. 4. Two words: Party platters. 5. Sell them to the highest bidder for Eastern Shore dart boards."

The Connie Chung matter

Connie Chung made a bad move with Mrs. Newtie the other day. What was Chung thinking when she enticed the Speaker's Ma into talking dirty? It's my theory that Chung, who doubles as co-anchor of the "CBS Evening News" and host of "Eye To Eye," found herself in a foggy canyon of professional practice -- somewhere between the rules of hard news and the liberties of tabloid TV, between the duty to inform and the desire to titillate. Or something like that. Hey, I'm just speculating! The woman works with Dan Rather and lives with Maury Povich. You figure it out! . . . We heard a while back that Chung's "Eye To Eye" was planning a report on Nathaniel Hurt, the 61-year-old East Baltimore man charged in the shooting death of Vernon Holmes, the teen-ager who had thrown rocks at his car on North Avenue in October. Hurt is scheduled for trial in March. The "Eye To Eye" report hasn't aired yet. One wonders if Chung's interview techniques will give Hurt second thoughts about agreeing to a jail house chat.

They said it

It has been months, maybe weeks, since last we published malaprops and other verbal bloopers. A large stack of them, contributed by the loyal readers of This Just In, has acclimated on my desk and I think today, after a hiatus of the hernia, we should present a few for your presumption, if you know what I mean.


A TJI reader swears somebody on a local TV news show recently started a report with the words: "Though Cab Calloway was born in New York, he was a native of Baltimore."

Gina Kotowski, who lives in Charles Village, was discussing religion and comparing notes with a co-worker, who happened to be Catholic. However, Gina's colleague could not remember the religious affiliation of her husband's family. "It's one of those 'P' religions," she said. Not Protestant. Not Presbyterian. Not Pentecostal. But "Piscopalian. . . . Yeah, that's it!"

John Williams remembers that a Highlandtown bar had a plaque made to honor a well-liked patron who had died; it came back from the engraver marked, "In Memorandum." Another time, John attended an affair at which the guest speaker, a college professor, was introduced as being "from the hallowed halls of macadamia."

And Bonnie J. Bourn got a call from a relative who was having back trouble, with pain in her "psychotic nerve."

Some help here

Don MacLean, third-leading scorer of the Washington Bullets, broke his right thumb Saturday night during a fight in a Baltimore restaurant. Anybody know which one? Give us a call, 332-6166.