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CARDS GO BALLISTICBIDWILL'S LATEST BANG FOR A BUCK

Is there nothing a roving NFL franchise won't do to drum up cash and improve a sagging image in its newest hometown? Naaah, but get this:

The Phoenix Cardinals are turning ASU's Sun Devil Stadium and the town of Tempe into a veritable combat zone this Saturday, August 17, for the team's preseason home debut against, appropriately enough, the New England Patriots.

To help Governor Fife Symington "Welcome Home America," the Cards will be handing out 15,000 flags and displaying the good, bad and ugliest military hardware this side of Kuwait. Look for the Patriot missile system, Apache helicopters, howitzers and machine guns standing guard 'round the stadium. To announce the teams' entrance onto the field, four F-16 fighter jets and four "Huey" helicopters (thankfully, not Apaches) will fly 500 feet above the stands, making Tempe's skies "roar with sound"--more than they do already. And these guys don't miss a trick: There'll even be a spectacular "peace tribute" for flag-wavers less comfortable with violence.

So what if there's no booze in the stands to fuel the hometown infantry? Our fighting men and women in Saudi Arabia did without. Plus, there'll be enough guns and ammo at the stadium to make every vet go misty-eyed at the memory of his or her favorite war. Imagine the awesome view all the junior generals in the skyboxes will have as they review the troops through their field glasses ("Hey, Keith, make mine a double")!

The accompanying map comes courtesy of Cards' owner Bill Bidwill and his publicity machine. We've decided to run it with illustrations as a public service to help show you what streets to avoid on Saturday night. If the Cards' preseason victories over the Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears were any indication, Bidwill's boys stand a better chance of winning by concentrating on football than by loading up on pyrotechnics. But if you're in the neighborhood, study the hardware carefully--its next stop might be overseas. After all, despite the "victory" parades, Saddam Hussein's still playin' hide-the-plutonium in Iraq.

So, Bill, this scud's for you!

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