Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Coryell, Powers Stir Memories of Finer Football Years

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Coryell, Powers Stir Memories of Finer Football Years

Article excerpt

When the wasp-waisted guy nearly 70 and the trim one of 54 walked into the pro football bash the other night, a press-box romanticist wanted to roll back the clock.

Back to 1977 for the football Cardinals, Don Coryell's last season as coach, and to 1984, Warren Powers' last fall as ringmaster at the University of Missouri.

Fact is, the transplanted Big Red haven't been the same, before and since they moved to Phoenix, and the toothless Tigers have more losses than wins every season since Ol' Mizzou fired Powers.

For a pro-football reunion, spiced by the appearance of a few standouts of the arriving Rams, Donald David Coryell came just about the farthest, from a hideaway island in upper Washington near the Canadian border.

Warren Powers appeared as a former Super Bowl championship back with the Oakland Raiders, one of the many local former professional players who contrive graciously to make the St. Louis chapter of National Football League Alumni one of the three best in aiding charity.

After years in the drapery business, Powers is now a car-company executive who looks as young as Coryell feels. In fact, Powers looks younger than when Mizzou fired him after his only losing season of seven at Columbia.

The Tigers were 46-33-3 under Powers with three bowl victories in five tries, the last of which was a last-place loss to All-America Steve Young of unbeaten Brigham Young in the 1983 Holiday Bowl 21-l7.

Since, Missouri has a miserable 30-77-4 record under three coaches.

With a bow to giant-killer Al Onofrio, who also shouldn't have been fired, it's doubtful that the players Woody Widenhofer inherited from Powers measured up to what Powers acquired from Uncle Al in '78.

That year's 8-4 team began with a 3-0 upset over Dan Devine's Notre Dame national champions and capped the regular season by knocking Nebraska out of the national championship 35-31.

When Powers came to Missouri from Washington State, penalized financially for jumping his contract, he opted for an artificial practice field but still wanted games on grass. The Tigers then were the only Big Eight Conference team playing on the real stuff.

"Grass," Powers said then, "is an equalizer, two-tenths of a second faster in a 40-yard dash. …

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