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January 13, 1989     The Message
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January 13, 1989
 

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12 Sports Rutter on Sports By DAVI" RUTrER The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana January 13, 1989 t iii i History always seems to follow San Francisco&apos;s very "Joe Cool'. In days when quarterbacks were wily scramblers -- these were days before they were mugged under approved NFL rules -- Joe Montana was cool. These were days when defensive linemen were 250 pounds and were athletic fellows. Now they're a steroid-pumped 350 and paw and snort during timeouts like longhorn steers awaiting roundup. It's tougher for a quarterback to be cool now because it's tough to be cool with a body cast. Body casts make you scratch a lot, and scratching is not cool. Plus, a game in which the "Ickey Shuffle" has become the height of artistic expression is a game in dire need of class. Leave it to Montana to restate the supremacy of coolness. Even though he's got a bad back, a bad shoulder, a bad knee and is growing old graceful- ly, Montana still evinces a classical state of foot- ball intellect. It's smart and classy and clever and cool. Even when Montana is rusty, his squeaky gait still recalls what pro football once was, but isn't very often these days. Through it all last weekend in Chicago's refrigerated Soldier Field, Montana was truly cool and not just because the wind chill meter read "don't-even-ask." Sure, now they call him "Joe Cool" because he's a California dude with a cool wife, a cool job with the Frisco 49ers and cool few million bucks supplied by those 49ers to keep him imperturbably and imperviously cool. Thus, there was shock and amazement that such a laid back coastalite could windsurf into Chicago on a January gale and send the Bears into hibernation. But it's no real surprise. He was always cool. And just as important, Montana never stands far from history. It peers over his shoulder, whispering in his ear. Never argue with a man who knows destiny on a first-name basis. Super Bowl XXIII against Cincinnati will mark his third chance at becoming the game's MVP in this decade. This has not been Jim McMahon's decade or Boomer Esiason's decade. It has been Joe Cool's decade. But he was cool even when he was a college player. Notre Dame's Irish struggled in the 1978-79 season and headed to the Cotton Bowl with an 8-3 record. The Cotton Bowl's wind chill factor on that Jan. 1 was minus 6, and the Irish were swept off their feet by Houston. But Montana mixed one part razzle with two dabs of dazzle, drove ND to 23 points in a frantic fourth-quarter and won the game on a last-second pass, 35-34. Some still call it Notre Dame's greatest comeback victory ever. Several weeks earlier, he had done nearly the same thing to Southern Cal, wiping out a 24-6 fourth-quarter lead before the Trojans won on a last-second field goal, 27-25. A year earlier, Dan Devine's Irish had been struggling, too. They had lost to Mississippi of all people and didn't seem to have much on their agenda. So Devine pulled Montana off the third team -- hamburger squad material -- and gave him the ball with the suggestion, "Here you try it." This was not a marriage made in heaven. Mon- tana was as zany as he was inspired and this jan- . ., . . gled Deve s sense of orgamzatmn. Devine waited/or his chance to bench Mon- tana, but it never happened. Montana pulled game after game out of his hat that season, and the Irish didn't lose again until they ran into No. 1 ranked Texas in the Cotton Bowl. Except for Texas, everyone with a chance at the national title that year had one loss. The Irish were No. 5, but Oklahoma was No. 2 and had the clearest path to the crown if Notre Dame could somehow pull the miracle. It was no miracle. It was Joe Cool at work. He riddled the proud Longhorns, 38-10, that Jan. 1 in Dallas, but Oklahoma extracted minimal satisfac- tion from the event. The Sooners were playing an outclassed Arkansas team in the Orange Bowl later that night. The Arkansas coach seemingly had made Oklahomas' task easier by suspending three of his top players for the game because of disciplinary in- fractions. Arkansas used the emotional trauma to its advantage and shredded the Sooners. The polls crowned ND and Montana as No. 1 -- the last time before this season that Notre Dame was thus annointed. In between then and now, Montana has awakened the 49ers from a snooze that had lasted nearly forever. Three years after his greatest glory with Notre Dame, he marched the 49ers to Super Bowl victory against the same Bengals they will face on Jan. 22. He did it again in 1985 against the Miami Dolphins. If you appreciate these historical nuances, Montana rose to Super Bowl stardom under a smart quarterback coach. His name was Sam Wyche, the same gentleman who runs the Bengals' jungle these days. By the way, remember Arkansas' hard-bitten coach who helped ND and Montana win the na- tional title in 19787 Lou Holtz, of course. iiii ii iii ii i i Pope, bishops U.S. to [ Please patronize Message advertisers." ' [ meet in March -. TUES NITE SPECIAL By CINDY WOODEN NC News Service WASHINGTON (NC) -- Pope John Paul II and at least 33 U.S. cardinals and archbishops will meet at the Vatican March 8-11 to discuss the church in the United States. The meeting dates were an- nounced Jan. 5 by William Ryan, acting secretary of public affairs for the National Con- ference of Catholic Bishops. Archbishop John L. May of St. Louis, NCCB president, was on retreat Jan. 5 and not available for comment. Ryan said 'details of the meeting would be released later in January. Archbishop May asked bishops at last November's NCCB general meeting to "reflect upon the potential significance" of the gathering at the "vatican and to share their thoughts on what might be discussed. The U.S. delegates to the meeting will include the heads of the 33 metropolitan Sees -- the chief dioceses of ecclesial provinces which include other dioceses, sources told National Catholic News Service. In the United States, 31 Latin- rite archdioceses and two Eastern-rite archdioceses are metropolitan Sees. The only U.S. archdiocese not con- sidered a metropolitan See is the Archdiocese for Military Services. II I The CD For a limited time only, Permanent Federal is offering the new discount CD It works like a vings bond, making your cost well below ma;.urity value because of the interest that accrues in your account. That means, for example, you pay only $3212,65/or a CD that will mature at $5,000. 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