TWO-MINUTE WARNING by George La Fountaine


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The Time: January, 1973. The Site: the Los Angeles Coliseum where Miami and Washington are battling for Super Bowl supremacy before 90,000 fans. The Situation: a young man with a rifle has been spotted atop the scoreboard roof. The Scare: no one knows who the target is -- whether it's three Houston astronauts, governors, senators and congressmen, or the players and coaches themselves. From the time that TV director Phil Post first glimpses the inaccessible marksman when there's 8:52 left in the fourth quarter, it's as much a race for LAPD Sergeant Rich Marks of SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactical Squad) as it is for the down-by-14 Redskins. Cool-under-pressure Marks is commanding the strike force for the first time. Police sharpshooters take their positions in assorted light towers as security men prepare to usher out the VIP's at the two-minute warning. Meanwhile, the author flashbacks the life of ""Crazy"" Norbert Baird, a sick, sad, lonely 17-year-old who's ""a million miles from El Paso, broke, with everything all screwed up."" The prototypical psychotic, neglected by his parents and rejected by the Panthers, began stalking Nixon -- only to find the President a no-show at the Coliseum. Norbert pegs away anyhow at the astronauts and ends up killing a Redskin-rooting priest, a high-rolling, wife-cheating Ford salesman and a SWAT cop. When the smoke clears, Norbie is finally iced. The story is as implausible as a quarterback sneak on third and eight and it all takes place on artificial turf. Still, football can expect a major motion picture replay (""The Longest Quarter"" or is it ""Sunday Bloody Super Bowl Sunday?"").

Pub Date: Dec. 27th, 1974
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan