Air Force probe expands to UK air base and five more in America

American Football: America revels in the last throws of Montana: Peter King says that the resurgent Dallas Cowboys may stand in the way of a dream pairing for next Sunday's Super Bowl

OH, TO be a football fan in the United States today, as four teams stand one win away from Super Bowl XXVIII in Atlanta. In one corner, the championship game of the American Football Conference: Joe Montana and the Kansas City Chiefs travel to Buffalo to play the never-say-die Bills. And in the other corner, the National Football Conference title game, between probably the two best teams in the sport: the Super Bowl defending champions Dallas play the tradition-rich San Francisco 49ers.

American Football: Receiver Rice builds on brick foundations: Super Bowl XXVIII could mean a fairy-tale finale to season between the Chiefs and 49ers. Matt Tench reports

WHEN Jerry Rice was growing up in a small town in Mississippi he and his brothers worked for their father's bricklaying business. Standing at the top of the scaffolding young Jerry, the sixth of eight children, would catch the bricks thrown up to him. Four at a time. No records were kept as to how many he dropped but it is unlikely to have been many.

American Football: Montana magic holds the key: Super Bowl XXVIII could mean a fairy-tale finale to season between the Chiefs and 49ers. Matt Tench reports

FOR most non-partisans, tomorrow's NFL championship games come down to a simple equation. A case of what the heart would like and what the head expects.

American Football: Montana conjures up another late show: Veteran quarterback saves his best until last to take Kansas City Chiefs to within one step of the Super Bowl

A FURTHER compelling chapter was added to the NFL's most marketable drama on Sunday night when the quarterback against whom all his contemporaries are judged produced another thrilling performance. In guiding the Kansas City Chiefs past the Houston Oilers, and into next weekend's AFC Championship game, the leading character in The Joe Montana Story once again demonstrated his penchant for saving his best until last.

Profile: Legend with the right stuff: Joe Montana

IT IS on days like this that Joe Montana feels the weight of being a legend, that he feels the ache of being 37 years old in a young man's game. On the last day of the National Football League's 74th regular season two weeks ago, Montana, the quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs, took some breathtaking shots from Seattle defensive players, kids who were learning their multiplication tables when Montana broke into professional football in 1979. Showing flashes of the greatness he has made an art form, Montana led Kansas City to a 34-24 victory, ensuring the Chiefs' spot in the play-offs.

American Football: Montana is the Chief architect

A FIELD goal in overtime took the Kansas City Chiefs into the second round of American football's play-offs yesterday. The Chiefs beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-24, but needed a touchdown two minutes from the end of normal time to stay in the hunt for a place in Super Bowl XXVIII.

American Football: Quarterback gloss has tarnished look: Playmakers are losing their grip on the position of pre-eminence. Matt Tench reports

ONCE upon a time there were two positions in the NFL: quarterback and anywhere else. And everyone wanted to be the quarterback. They received the biggest rewards, attracted the most attention and had special rules to protect them on the field. In the pecking order of American football they were always first among equals.

American Football: Montana makes magic: Injury-prone quarterback goes the full distance to lift Chiefs to victory over fancied Bills. Matt Tench reports

IF THEY played once a month then Joe Montana could be a Super Bowl quarterback into the next century. Playing as they do once a week there are doubts about Montana's ability to guide the Kansas City Chiefs to the big game this year, but few of them concern his talent.

American Football: Cunningham on the receiving end: Leading quarterbacks given rough treatment by hit men

THE brutal truths of life as an NFL quarterback were brought home to two of the position's most notable exponents at the weekend with Randall Cunningham and Joe Montana suffering at the hands of defensive hit-men whose jobs it is to make their lives painful.

Fashion: And the bride wore slacks: Claude Montana's wedding last week was a far cry from his magnificent marriage creations for the catwalk, reports Marion Hume

DESIGNER weddings are unusual in the fashion world. Designer brides - favoured models who appear in wedding finery at the finale of every catwalk show - are usually accompanied by the designers in their civvies. But last week Claude Montana put on his Sunday best and said 'I will' for real.

Into a new World: Newly fashionable, the city of Seattle has become a playground for green-minded, computer-literate, wind-surfing young Americans. Last winter, a British writer left his exotic, watery new home, and ventured into Seattle's hinterland, retracing the steps of explorers and poets into a wild place of God, logs, and empty spaces

IN THE SPRING of 1990 I packed up as much of my life in London as would fit into a suitcase and four tea-chests and flew to Seattle to set up house. It was a selfish and irregular move. I had 'met someone' and liked what I'd seen of the Pacific Northwest during a two-month stay there in the autumn of 1989: I liked the aquarium lighting, the sawtooth alps forested with black firs, the compact cities encrusted in dirty Romanesque stucco. Most of all, I liked the place's wateriness. At 47 I felt cracked and dry. My new home territory was as rainy as Ireland, puddled with lakes and veined with big rivers. Seattle was built out on pilings over the sea, and at high tide the whole city seemed to come afloat like a ship lifting free from a mud berth and swaying in its chains.

Gardening: Social climbers with a taste for heights - Clematis, for all its singular beauty, performs best when forced to twine through competing greenery, says Anna Pavord

THERE is always room for another clematis in a garden. They are admirably adaptable and unterritorial, since they always look better growing through other plants rather than plastered against a wall on their own. The question is, which other clematis?

American Football: Montana poised to leave 49ers and join the Chiefs

JOE MONTANA, the quarterback who led the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowl victories, seems certain to be traded to the Kansas City Chiefs, writes Matt Tench.

Travel / Departures: Montana angle

ANGLING holiday specialist Fishing Breaks (071-281 6737) is expecting the new Robert Redford film A River Runs Through It, a fly fishing 'epic' set in Montana, to trigger demand for its American packages. The company is offering a nine-night trip to Montana, staying at the Big Horn Trout Lodge at Fort Smith, for pounds 1,700.

BOOK REVIEW / When Boyd met Smokie: 'Nothing But Blue Skies' - Thomas McGuane: Secker & Warburg, 14.99

THE hero of Thomas McGuane's new novel has the eye of a zoom lens. One minute he's gazing into the big blue horizon, the next he's peering through his neighbours' windows: taking a peek at fathers sipping coffee; children doing homework; women undressing by the light of a television set. He has a practical motive: he's forgotten how to lead his own life and is looking for answers. But the shifts in perspective also sum up the ambitions of this tough, funny and oddly spiritual book. Nothing But Blue Skies spends its time burrowing around in small incidental details - toothpaste dispensers, mileage tables, Hershey Kisses - but there is, all the while, a sense of something bigger going on.
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