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Maybe Murphy should call San Diego

| Saturday, Aug. 9, 2003

Tom Murphy should give the mayor of San Diego a call.

Apparently, his city is rolling in money. How else could it afford to buy $31 million worth of San Diego Chargers tickets over the last five years• It was part of the Chargers' lease at Qualcomm Stadium that guaranteed the team sellouts for every game, no matter how bad it stunk.

The Chargers are shopping around for a better deal, now that the city of San Diego's exclusive negotiating period has expired. Los Angeles, conveniently enough, sits just up the road without an NFL team. The Chargers want the fine citizens of Southern California to give them $200 million toward a new $400 million stadium.

Maybe a new governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, will be able to make it happen. Let's hope so. If not, the Chargers will move to L.A., and San Diego will have to wait for an expansion team, which it would inevitably get after promising a publicly funded stadium to somebody willing to pay the 32 NFL owners close to a billion dollars.

The owners would walk away with $30 million each, and the league would probably end up with two brand new stadiums. Not long after that, the NFL owners will start saying how nice it would be to have two NFL teams in Los Angeles, which, of course, will give teams such as the Indianapolis Colts some place where they can threaten to relocate if the fine citizens of Indiana don't cough up a couple hundred million for their new stadium. And you're wondering if Arnold is smart enough to "lead"?

  • Worried about a Kordell-like sophomore jinx for Tommy Maddox• Don't be.

    Not unless Hines Ward or Plaxico Burress misses the season, the offensive line disintegrates and Ray Sherman replaces Mike Mularkey as offensive coordinator. That would put Maddox in a situation similar to Kordell Stewart's in 1998 after he lost 1,300 yard receiver Yancey Thigpen and All-Pro LT John Jackson to free agency and starting right tackle Justin Strzelcyzk to injury and had to play behind an offensive line that included Will Woolford playing with one pectoral muscle and future hall of famers Paul Wiggins and Chris Conrad. Maddox' offensive line looks a little shaky right now, but he has three receivers who are more dangerous than any of the Steelers receivers in 1998 (Hines Ward was a rookie), and he has a tight end who is a serious threat as a receiver. Maddox has every reason to be better in 2003 than he was in 2002. That's assuming he has time to throw. If he has to play behind a patchwork, ineffective offensive line, all bets are off.

  • It was nice to see Pitt ranked 12th in Sports Illustrated's preseason college football poll. It wasn't nice to also see that Pitt will be playing the 105th (Rutgers), 101st (Kent State), 92nd (Ball State), 81st, (Temple) and 80th (Toledo) ranked teams this coming season. Rutgers and Temple had to be on the schedule, but when Pitt has a choice, the fans deserve better than 101, 92 and 80.

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