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RICK REILLY : One Man's Guide to the Super Bowl, but He's No X-Pert

January 14, 1985

The NFL informs us that more than five million words will be written about the Super Bowl over the next seven days. Whether that five million includes the press release written to tell us about the five million is unclear.

What is clear is that in this, the age of the Information Explosion, five million words might be a few too many for you to digest, what with trying to keep up with Phil Donahue and all.

So, as a public service, we offer you here, for the first time, the handy, time-saving, exhaustive, historic, all-you'll-ever-need-to-know-or-want-to-for-that-matter, suitable-for-framing, not-available-in-any-store, Super Bowl Party Primer, neatly arranged from A-to-Z.

Pencil ready?

A, for starters, is for A sucker born every minute, which is how the Miami Dolphins somehow wound up a three-point underdog to the 49ers, who have played only one playoff team since October, not counting Chicago, which hardly anybody does.

B is for Bowie, as in Bowie Kuhn, as in the sentence: "NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle may have pulled a Bowie when he banned umbrellas from Stanford Stadium." Then again, if Bowie can stand out on a freezing World Series night without an overcoat and announce, "I'm not cold," then why can't Pete stand in the rain and insist he's not wet?

C is for Chippies, also known as "Valley Boys," the Yup and Comers of the world and your hosts in the Silicon Valley.

D is for Doda, famous San Francisco stripper Carol Doda, who gives the name of that valley new meaning.

E is for excess, the wretched and warped excess of the Super Bowl, the All-American Us-festival that dwarfs almost any other event (save the Olympics) for gaudiness, corn, and gluttonous self-indulgence. And ain't it wonderful?

F is for Fruit of the Looms. Niners cornerback Ronnie Lott will be wearing his favorite pair--pink plaid--which we will all get to see when Dan Marino gets through undressing him.

G is for Georgetown University Hospital, where they installed TV sets in the labor rooms to keep prospective fathers from waiting until after the game to bring their wives in. So, Bernice . . . what'd we end up having, anyway?

H is for Hometown advantage, which the 49ers are said to have and which happens to be bunk. The Rams had it in Super XIV at the Rose Bowl and still perished.

I is for the Iranian Hostages, who returned to the United States on Super Bowl Sunday, 1981, exchanged pleasantries with the President and then sat down to watch the game.

J is for Jesus, about whom Norman Vincent Peale once said, "If Jesus were alive today, He would be at the Super Bowl."

K is for King, as in burger-king Don Shula, who owns a number of Burger Kings in the San Jose area. Turns out Shula owns them with recently fired Detroit coach Monte Clark. Said Shula, "Well, at least the Burger Kings have done well."

L is for Lucky, which is what Miami linebacker Jay Brophy will be. Brophy won a national championship last year at the University of Miami and will win a Super Bowl ring Sunday.

M is for the Marines, who will shell out $550,000 for one 30-second commercial during the game. Is David Stockman listening? Heck, the Pentagon could buy five or six hammers with that.

N is for No Thanks, which is what Chevrolet said to such rates, not being in the Marines' tax bracket.

O is for O.J., which also stands for Out (of a) Job.

P is for Pacific, the body of water just west of Palo Alto.

Q is for Quakes, one of which will someday send Palo Alto sliding into the Pacific. The chances of one hitting during the game, however, are 1 in 10,000, says Prof. Haresh Shah of Stanford, the acknowledged master on odds of disaster.

R is for Refrigerator, which is where everybody is when the million-a-minute commercials are playing.

S is for Skylab, which never fell on a Super Bowl, but did report being able to see one from outer space in 1974.

T is for Thumb, the one belonging to President Reagan, who will use it to conduct the official opening coin toss transmitted to Stanford by satellite.

U is for Usual, which is what Reagan must go back to Monday, the same, old, usual. Another day, another inauguration.

V is for Very Unusual, which is what it will be if we get a good game. Out of 18 tries, only one has been a three-point game or closer (Super Bowl V: Baltimore XVI, Dallas XIII).

W is for White, which is what the average Super Bowl fan is, according to Stanford research. He is also between 40 and 44, affluent and will spend an average of $114 on liquor during his three-day stay in the Bay Area, if he can remember his stay in the Bay Area.

X is too hard.

Y is for saying 'Yeeesch!' upon hearing that this year's Super Bowl party will feature a stadium erected indoors--complete with goal posts, bleachers, artificial grass, and a parking lot.

Z is for Zone, as in Marino will be in a zone of his own so take out a loan and get on the phone.

Got it?

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