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Pro football briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 9, 2001

Orlando falls 23-6; hosts playoff opener Saturday

Orlando falls 23-6; hosts playoff opener Saturday

CHICAGO -- Kevin McDougal threw a touchdown and ran for another score as Chicago beat Orlando 23-6 on Sunday night to take the final XFL playoff spot.

The Enforcers, who overcame an 0-4 start to finish the regular season 5-5, open the playoffs in Los Angeles on Sunday against the West champion Xtreme.

The Rage (8-2), who as the Eastern Conference champion has home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, meets San Francisco on Saturday night.

McDougal, 13-for-20 for 182 yards, scored on a 2-yard run in the second quarter and threw a 29-yard touchdown to Aaron Bailey for a 20-0 lead in the third.

Orlando's only score came on Brian Kucklick's 51-yard pass to Dialleo Burks.

New York/New Jersey shuts out Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Charles Puleri was 7-for-8 for 158 yards and two touchdowns as New York/New Jersey closed the XFL regular season with a 22-0 victory against Birmingham on Sunday.

Puleri, who replaced Corte McGuffey in the second quarter, connected with Zola Davis on a 3-yard scoring play late in the first half, and opened the third quarter with a 77-yard touchdown pass to Kirby Dar Dar.

Survey: NFL benefits if the XFL remains

Although ratings are dismal and its future in doubt, the league is finding fans in a surprising place -- the NFL.

Eighty-nine percent of NFL coaches and general managers who responded to questions about the XFL said the NFL will benefit if the league stays in business.

"Sure we're better off," Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said. "It just makes the pool of potential players bigger."

Coaches, general managers or owners from each of the NFL's 32 teams were asked during recent owners meetings in Palm Desert, Calif.: Is the NFL better off if the XFL survives? Sixteen team representatives said yes, two said no and 14 declined to respond.

Most of the teams, including some that declined to take part in the survey, said they are scouting the XFL for players.

LATE SATURDAY: Tommy Maddox passed for 164 yards and a touchdown as host Los Angeles beat San Francisco 24-0 to wrap up the Western Division. ... Jim Druckenmiller threw for 152 yards and a touchdown to lead Memphis to a season-ending 16-3 victory against Las Vegas.

RATINGS: The league's final regular-season telecast on NBC matched its poorest overnight numbers of the year. The Week 10 broadcast Saturday of the Los Angeles-San Francisco game drew a 1.7 rating with a 3 share, the same as a week ago.

A ratings point represents 1.02-million households, or 1 percent of the nation's estimated 102-million TV homes. The share is the percentage of in-use televisions tuned to a given show.

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