FOOTBALL—Although the exhibition season started slowly and it sometimes seemed almost more important who wasn't playing than who was, BUFFALO, minus fabled O.J. Simpson, handed new Washington Coach Vince Lombardi his first loss to an AFL team 21-17. Lombardi-led teams had previously defeated Kansas City and Oakland in the Super Bowl. LOS ANGELES End Wendell Tucker got free for an 85-yard touchdown pass from Roman Gabriel and rookie Mike Foote blocked a punt which teammate Willie Daniel fell on in the end zone—all within 64 seconds of the third quarter as the Rams held off Dallas 24-17 before more than 87,000 in the Coliseum. GREEN BAY fans at Lambeau Field were ecstatic as Mike Mercer's 17-yard field goal, with 21 seconds left, beat the New York Giants 22-21. The three-pointer was Mercer's fifth of the game and followed a crucial interception by Safety Tom Brown. BALTIMORE, with 36-year-old Johnny Unitas completing a dozen passes in one quarter, held off a late Oakland threat and edged the Raiders 34-30. Meanwhile, the Colts' old nemesis, Joe Namath, stood frustrated while his Jet teammates dropped passes and penalized themselves out of scoring opportunities. Jackie Smith's 26-yard touchdown reception wrapped up ST. LOUIS' 13-6 win. Backup Quarterback Gary Cuozzo picked up the MINNESOTA attack after a knee injury hobbled starter Joe Kapp, and passed the Vikings to a 26-6 victory over Denver. SAN DIEGO, held to two first downs at halftime by the New Orleans defense, scored on Keith Lincoln's four-yard run at the start of the fourth quarter and won 10-7. ATLANTA got by Philadelphia 13-7 in a battle between the two worst teams in the NFL last season. KANSAS CITY, staked to a 22-point first half by Len Dawson's passing, Frank Pitts' receiving (two TDs) and Jan Stenerud's kicking, took Detroit apart 38-13. CHICAGO was behind 10-3 early in the fourth quarter when a free-for-all appeared to spark the Bear offense to 13 quick points and a 16-10 decision over Miami. The victors was the NFL's sixth in nine games of interleague competition. BOSTON Quarterback Mike Taliaferro tossed a pair of first-half touchdown passes and John Outlaw lived up to his name by making off with rookie Greg Cook's pass late in the game, as the Patriots beat Cincinnati 21-13. CLEVELAND came back from a 16-7 halftime deficit to top San Francisco 24-19, despite the efforts of former Heisman Trophy winner Steve Spurrier, who drove the 49ers to the seven-yard line as the gun sounded.
GOLF—KEN STILL came home with a sparkling 65 on the tough 7,075-yard North Shore Country Club course for a 72-hole total of 277, 11 under par, to win the $100,000 Greater Milwaukee Open and virtually assure himself of a berth on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Still, who finished two strokes ahead of Gary Player, broke out of a brief tie with the South African when he birdied the 15th and 16th holes. He then saved a par on the 18th, getting out of trouble after his second shot went over the green and into the scorer's tent.
Dan Sikes, who had never seen the course before, Shot a record-tying 68 the first day and a 67 the second to win the $10,000 first prize in the American Pro-Youth Golf Classic in Columbus, Ind.
HARNESS RACING—NEVELE PRIDE eased to a four-length victory in the $50,000 American Trotting Championship at Roosevelt Raceway, thereby qualifying as the U.S. representative in the $100,000 Roosevelt International Aug. 16.
August 17, 1969
HORSE RACING—Belmont Stakes winner ARTS AND LETTERS ($2.20), topweighted against three rivals, ran away to a 10-length triumph in the $27,850 Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga, while 3-year-old filly SHUVEE ($4) had a similarly easy time with four other starters in the $54,400 Alabama Stakes.
At Monmouth Park RING FOR NURSE ($17.80) closed out the track's 59-day meet with a three-quarter-length victory in the $112,580 Sapling Stakes, a six-furlong sprint for 2-year-olds.
MACCABIAH GAMES—The U.S. made a strong showing in Tel Aviv, winning gold medals in water polo, men's golf (Bruce Fleisher shot 285), platform diving (Debbie Lipman won), swimming (siblings Mark and Nancy Spitz took 10 golds) and tennis (Allen Fox and Julie Heldman won the singles titles). Biggest disappointment for America was the basketball team, which won five straight games and then fell to host Israel. Final gold medal count: U.S. 64, Israel 48, Great Britain 11.
MOTOR SPORTS—LEE ROY YARBROUGH set two national NASCAR records by driving a Ford to victory in the Dixie 500-mile classic at Atlanta's International Raceway. The race was the fifth major triumph of the sear for Yarbrough and the $17,850 first prize brought his earnings to $140,000 this season. He also set a Dixie classic record with an average speed of 133 miles per hour.
TENNIS—CLARK GRAEBNER won the $12,000 Meadow Club Grass Court tournament at Southampton. L.I., N.Y., defeating his U.S. Davis Cup teammate Bob Lutz 6-2, 6-2, 6-4. Graebner, ranked second in the nation, won $3,050 for his singles victory and another $700 when he and Lutz teamed to defeat Allan Stone of Australia and Onny Parun of New Zealand 7-5, 7-5, in doubles.
Out of touch but not out of action, Army Private CHARLIE PASARELL won the Interservice Singles Championship at Arlington, Va. The nation's seventh-ranking player and Davis Cup team member defeated Air Force Lieut. Brian Cheney 6-1, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1.
MILEPOSTS—CONFIRMED: Rumors of a possible merger, pro football-style, of the National and American Basketball Associations, by NBA Commissioner Walter Kennedy and ABA President James Gardner (page 44).
INJURED: MIKE CASEY, Kentucky's All-SEC basketball guard, who broke his left leg in three places when the car he was driving blew a tire and ran off a road near his Shelbyville, Ky home. Hospitalized in Louisville, he was told he would be in a cast from six to eight months. Casey, who averaged 19 points a game last year and set a UK record of 129 assists, will be granted another year of eligibility by the NCAA.
NAMED: As player-coach of the Seattle SuperSonics for a salary in excess of $70,000, LEN WILKENS, six-time NBA All-Star guard.
SIGNED: Heisman Trophy winner O.J. SIMPSON, by the Buffalo Bills of the AFL, for an estimated $350,000 over four years, making the ex-USC runner the richest rookie since pro football's common draft eliminated bidding wars. O.J., accused of making extravagant demands when he originally asked for $600,000 for five years and a $500,000 interest-free loan, had hinted that Bills owner Ralph Wilson was simply stalling until after the College All-Star Game so Simpson could make an injury-free debut in Buffalo (see SCORECARD).
SIGNED: By the San Francisco 49ers, Penn State End TED KWALICK; by the Pittsburgh Steelers, North Texas State Defensive Tackle JOE GREENE; by the Boston Patriots, Florida State Flanker RON SELLERS; and by the Cleveland Browns, Michigan Halfback RON JOHNSON. Johnson's lawyer, Arthur Morse, threw up his hands in disgust when his client deserted him and settled for a $50,000 bonus and $50,000 over two years. The multiple signings left Purdue's LEROY KEYES, property of Philadelphia and also a client of Morse, as the only top draft choice still holding out.
DIED: GEORGE PRESTON MARSHALL, 72, flamboyant founder of the Washington Redskins and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, at his Georgetown home. He had stepped down as executive head of the NFL club after becoming seriously ill in 1962. Marshall, who made a fortune in the laundry business, is credited with introducing big halftime shows and conceiving the NFL Championship game and Pro Bowl.