Ron Martz
Fighting off competence and professionalism at every opportunity, the Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers bungled their way to a near-record number of penalties in Expansion Bowl I Sunday afternoon. With the Seahawks claiming the fewest penalties and most points in a 13-10 affair that resembled a circus.

It took veteran Mike Curtis' block of Dave Green's 35-yard field goal attempt with 42 seconds to play to enable the Seahawks to escape Tampa Stadium —- and the crowd of 43.812 that threatened to become a mob because of the flurry of yellow flags with their first win in Bix attempts. For the Bucs the loss means that they will be considered the worst team in pro football with their 0-6 record.

"I don't think this game was any indication of which team or which franchise is best," said Seattle Head Coach Jack Patera, who downplayed the importance of victory for either side. Asked if Seattle was the better of the two first-year clubs, Bucs' Head Coach John McKay said: "They must be. They won."

Seattle won on a 15-yard Jim Zorn to Sam McCullum pass and Jon Leypoldt field goals of 25 and 39 yards in the second period after the Bucs had taken a 3-0 lead on Green's 38-yard field goal in the first period. The Bucs pulled to 13-10 in the third on a one-yard Louis Carter to Morris Owens pass on a broken play.

The Seahawks’ performance in victory was as inartistic and as ungraceful as was the Bucs in defeat as the officials out-gained Seattle (253 total yards) and Tampa Bay (285 total yards) with 310 yards in penalties.

THERE WAS of infractions, but only 35 of them were assessed, falling two short of the league record of 37. The Bucs had 20 penalties worth 190 yards (eight for holding) while the Seahawks collected 15 yellow flags for 120 yards (eight for holding). "l won't comment. McKay said of the penalties. You're just trying to get me to say something and I’ll get fined for it and won't have any recourse. But I'll get my day in court."

NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle can fine coaches and players for public statements about officials which he deems "are not in the best interests of the NFL." But McKay can protest the officiating through league channels and indicated that is what he plans to do.

Only four series of downs were run without at least one penalty being called, and all of them came in the fourth quarter. Three times Buc first downs were nullified by penalties and Seattle had a touchdown called back because of a penalty, although the Seahawks did get a field goal out of it.

Seattle's block of Green's last minute field goal attempt was its second of the day. The first was by Lyle Blackwood in the second quarter when he got a hand on Green's 36.yard attempt. At that point the score was 7-3 for Seattle and following the block the Seahawks moved to the Bucs' eight-yard line before Leypoldt hit his 25-yarder to make it 10-3.

ON THE first block Blackwood came from the right, on the attempt that would have tied it and sent it into overtime Curtis lined up next to Blackwood on the left. "They were keying on Blackwood and they forgot all about me," said Curtis, 12-year veteran who was claimed by Seattle in the veteran allocation draft from the Baltimore Colts.

"If I was blocked I didn't feel it. I knew if I didn't get a piece of it (the ball) I wouldn't make it in overtime. It was hot down there and I was getting dizzy. But getting this win is like winning the Super Bowl."

The Bucs' touchdown, only their third in six games and their first during the regular season in Tampa Stadium, was an incredibly ungraceful play, but a play that befits the clumsiness of the drive in the third quarter.

The Bucs started when Richard Wood recovered a questionable fumble by Seattle's Sherman Smith at the Tampa Bay 46. The Bucs had only one penalty on the alleged drive, an illegal motion infraction that was offset by a Steve Spurrier to Johnny McKay pass for 15 yards that carried to the Seattle 10-yard line.

FROM THERE Carter gained one for a first down at the nine, Spurrier was sacked for a seven-yard loss and pass in the end zone to Owens went incomplete before the big break, Defensive holding and n personal foul on consecutive plays against the Seahawks gave the Bucs first down at the one, Carter and Ed Williams tried to dive over, but failed, Then Carter tried another dive, but as he was being pushed back short again, he flipped a two-handed overhand pass to Owens for the touchdown. "He was just standing there looking back so I threw it to him," said a nonplussed Carter.

But the Bucs would not come close until Green's blocked field goal try. Even after that, the officials had the last word. As Seattle's Dave Brown grabbed the blocked kick, the Bucs' Fred Pagac hit him late. An official threw a flag, the 35th and final one of the day. It Brown in the eye and he had to be helped from the field.