Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Saturday, September 25, 1999

Don’t rule out 0-2
Broncos out just yet

DENVER'S 0-2, but Bronco fans shouldn't despair - yet. National Football League teams starting 0-2 can still make the playoffs.

Two even made it to the Super Bowl: the 1993 Dallas Cowboys, who went on to beat Buffalo in Super Bowl XXVIII, and the 1996 New England Patriots, who lost Super Bowl XXXI to Green Bay.

Thirteen teams began 0-2 this decade and still qualified for the postseason playoffs, with the New York Jets the latest as they advanced to the AFC title game last year.

The Jets won 12 of their next 14 games to meet the Broncos. Both are 0-2 and already hurting this season.

The reason is obvious. The Broncos sorely miss John Elway, who retired, and the Jets lost Vinny Testaverde for the season because of a ruptured achilles' tendon.

So much for the coaching IQ's of Denver's Mike Shanahan and the Jets' Bill Parcells.

In the NFL, clearly quarterbacks, not coaches, win games.

A returning quarterback is the biggest advantage there is in the NFL, according to Seattle's Mike Holmgren.

Brett Favre made him a genius at Green Bay. Now, Holmgren has to make do with Glenn Foley or John Kitna.

An injury away from disaster are San Francisco, Miami, Jacksonville and Dallas.

Steve Young's backup is Jeff Garcia, while the whodaguys behind Dan Marino, Mark Brunell and Troy Aikman are Damon Huard, Jay Fiedler and Jason Garrett, respectively. That's scary.

ATLANTA, the NFC champion, is also 0-2 with quarterback Chris Chandler still doubtful because of a pulled hamstring.

Is it any wonder that last season's top four NFL teams are 1-7 so far this season?

At least Atlanta coach Dan Reeves can hope that Chandler will be back, even though All-Pro running back Jamal Anderson is through for the year with a knee injury.

Shanahan and Parcells don't enjoy that luxury.

The "Tuna" is stuck with Rick Mirer, while Shanahan has only himself to blame in the QB controversy at Denver.

He continues to waffle between Brian Griese and Bubby Brister, deposed as Elway's heir apparent. Imagine if Shanahan adds Chris Miller to the mix.

It won't get any better tomorrow for the Broncos, 2-1/2-point underdogs at Tampa Bay.

One thing's for sure, no 0-3 team ever made it to the Super Bowl.

The Broncos' only highlight tomorrow could be provided by former Hawaii kicker Jason Elam, who needs only six points to surpass Jim Turner as the team's all-time scoring leader. Elam has 737 points.


HAIL Michigan: The University of Michigan had four rookie free agents making the AFC rosters this season - quarterback Scott Dreisbach, safety Marcus Ray and linebacker Sam Sword with the Oakland Raiders and tight end Mark Campbell with the Cleveland Browns.

"In more than 40 years of football, I've never seen four free-agent rookies from one school on opening-day rosters," said Gil Brandt, former Dallas Cowboys vice president of personnel development and currently with

The four Wolverines who were drafted - Andre Weathers (New York Giants), Jerame Tuman (Pittsburgh), Tai Streets (San Francisco) and Jon Jansen (Washington) - all made their teams on opening day.

Hawaii fans saw them up close and personal last season when the Wolverines romped to a 48-17 victory over the Rainbows at Aloha Stadium.

Bill Kwon has been writing about
sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.

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