By ERNEST HOOPER
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 15, 2000
There is not much fire to the rivalry between the Redskins and their neighbors, the Ravens, who play each other this week.
You would think sparks would come from a suburban chance encounter between players. But instead of gloating Ravens tight end Shannon Sharpe and boastful Redskins cornerback Deion Sanders trash talking over the produce at Fresh Fields, the bad blood is between Baltimore owner Art Modell and Washington's Daniel Snyder.
"They're from two eras with different styles, but they're both fiercely competitive," Giants owner Wellington Mara said. "It would be unnatural if they both didn't really want this one."
It's more than just wanting to win, however. Turns out Modell isn't too fond of Snyder's maverick approach in general, and his advertising practices specifically. It started when Snyder lured away Ravens marketing executive David Cope. Never mind that Cope didn't last a year with the Redskins.
Then last summer, Snyder ran Redskins ads in the Baltimore Sun and even had a Baltimore television station carry the Redskins preseason games.
Snyder didn't break any NFL by-laws, but Modell felt he violated the league's unwritten rules on territorial respect.
"We had run-ins like I never had in 40 years," Modell told the Sun. "What he was trying to do was something that for me would have been unthinkable."
Both teams ended up advertising in each market's primary newspaper and broadcasting games in each other's market. At one point, Ravens president David Modell, Art's son, threatened to fly airplane ads over Washington's training camp at Redskins Park.
But now David Modell downplays the spat.
"At the end of the day for both sides, that dispute ends up being more of a fun summer distraction than anything else," David Modell said. "No blood drawn. No harm. No foul."
When he was asked if he'd pay to see David Modell rumble with Snyder at halftime, Ravens quarterback Tony Banks said, "Celebrity death match? I don't know if I'd pay for it, but I'd watch."
FAMILY FEUD: David Shaw continues to work for Oakland coach Jon Gruden as a quality control assistant even though Gruden fired his father, Willie Shaw, inJanuary. The elder Shaw, who was the Raiders' defensive coordinator, will be on the opposite sideline today as the Chiefs backfield coach.
"The fact that I was here while my dad was fired was no more than a coincidence," David Shaw said. "I've always looked at my career as separate from my father's.
"A lot of people don't ever get to work alongside their father and we had two years in the same place. We didn't know how long it would last, and we appreciated the time that we had."
Said Willie Shaw: "Look, we weren't going to work for the Raiders for 25 years, retire together and get a gold watch."
SIGNS OF HOPE: Maybe the 49ers aren't going to be so bad after all. The preseason prognostication was that San Francisco was in salary cap ruins and at least a year away from fielding a competitive team.
But so far, the 'Niners have been better than expected, going 2-4 and taking Oakland into overtime with a resounding 14-point comeback. The team is loaded with rookies on defense, but the coaching staff believes the rookies are developing into a good unit.
Jeff Garcia leads the league with 15 touchdown passes and has been sacked only twice in 190 attempts. Garcia's scrambling and improving grasp of the West Coast offense have been big keys, and they come just a month after San Francisco foolishly considered benching Garcia for unaccomplished Rick Mirer. It also helps that Charlie Garner leads the league in rushing.
NO SIGNS OF HOPE: Chicago is the antithesis of the 'Niners. Most league people thought the Bears would be one of the most-improved teams thanks to the additions they made on defense. But the team has stumbled to 1-5 and it may not get better.
Chicago's upcoming schedule is Minnesota tonight, at Philadelphia, Indianapolis, at Buffalo, Tampa Bay and at Jets. It could be Dec. 3 (Green Bay at Soldier Field) before the Bears are favored again.
The Bears are 26th in points allowed and 29th in points scored, so neither the offense nor the defense can blame the other.
RESPONSE: Last Sunday, Fox Sports Net's Chris Myers, host of the cable network's NFL This Morning, reported that Mike Martz considered firing defensive coordinator Peter Giunta and special teams coach Larry Pasquale on Oct. 6 but was talked out of it by upper management. Martz had a terse response when asked about the unsourced report.
"What upsets me about that ... is nobody ever confirmed that with me," Martz said. "Nobody ever called me, nobody ever asked me. That's ludicrous. That's just absolutely ludicrous. That's just devastating for those two coaches."
ET CETERA: The Steelers are 2-10 in their past 12 games at Three Rivers Stadium and have not beaten an AFC Central foe at home since Nov. 22, 1998 (against Jacksonville 30-15). ... The Titans will receive the annual Pete Rozelle Award for the outstanding media relations staff of 1999. Tony Wylie, who headed up the staff in '99, is now the head of the Houston Texans staff. ... Dating to 1960, Daunte Culpepper is the seventh quarterback to win his first five starts. The most recent was Kurt Warner last season. ... Since the start of the 1998 season, the Titans have the league's best division record. They are 18-2 (.900) in the AFC Central. Tied behind them are Dallas, Denver and Minnesota, all at 14-5 (.737). ... The Cardinals have gone 38 consecutive games without scoring a touchdown on their first series and 22 consecutive games without scoring an offensive touchdown in the first quarter.
- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.
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From the wire
From the state sports wire
Baseball Hubert Mizell College football Lightning Motorsports Sports Etc.
Hubert Mizell College football Lightning Motorsports Sports Etc.