One thing that was settled last Sunday--aside from the 49ers being the better team--is that XIX was not the greatest Super Bowl, after every scribe in every media proclaimed it would be. One-sided games are not super.
It proved once again that, on paper, statistical matchups aren't always reliable, computer forecasts can be inaccurate, so-called experienced analysts aren't really sure and the gamblers and oddsmakers who juggle the numbers really don't know.
What it takes is a combination of intangibles: talent, desire, intensity, gut feeling, luck. Who was it who used to say, "A team that won't be beat, can't be beat?" Is that what Bill Walsh told Joe Montana when he called time out in the second quarter? Right after that, Montana rambled 17 yards, and the 49ers were off and running all over the Dolphins.
If anyone came close to calling the game what it turned out to be it was Al Davis. The Raiders boss was a guest on Howard Cosell's Super Sunday morning show. After an expert analysis of the players, coaches, quarterbacks and strategies, Davis boiled it down: "It takes three things to win this one: finesse, street fighting and a combination of both." But he didn't pick the winner. After hearing that terse wrap-up, Cosell smiled, "All right, if you don't pick the winner I will. The Niners."
Anyway, Joe Montana and Dan Marino will get one more shot at each other Sunday, albeit a far less important one, in the 15th AFC-NFC Pro Bowl game in Honolulu. This last hurrah of the pro season starts at 1 p.m. on ABC's Channels 7, 3, 10 and 42.
If Marino harbors any desire of trying to get even with Montana, he may be better fortified this time. He has six of his best Dolphin buddies, plus some super AFC linemen protecting him, including Anthony Munoz (Bengals), John Hannah and Brian Holloway (Patriots). On offense, he has Marcus Allen (Raiders) and Freeman McNeil (Jets).
Of course, Montana has nine--count 'em--nine of his 49er buddies on his side, along with super NFC linemen such as Russ Grimm and Joe Jacoby (Redskins) and Kent Hill (Rams). And on offense he can hand off to Eric Dickerson (Rams), Walter Payton (Bears) and to teammate Wendell Tyler.
The Pro Bowls have not been very spectacular, as the players are always winding down after the long season and not wanting to risk any injury that might impair their careers. And, when you're in beautiful Hawaii, why exert yourself too much--on or off the field--even if it's for the $10,000 apiece going to the winners. That's chicken feed in these days of big bucks for athletes.
After Sunday's Pro Bowl, we enter the void between NFL football and USFL football or, if you prefer, between NFL football and Major League baseball.
The three networks now serve up the "winter sports" of golf, tennis, basketball, horse racing, skiing, log rolling, destruction derbys, barrel jumping and so on.
Most all the sports coverage is prefaced by "World." You know, World Class . . . fill in downhill skiing, wrist wrestling and the like. It's an attempt to make the skeptical viewer think, gee, this must be important. Don't be taken in.
ROUNDUP: Today, Basketball, Wake Forest vs. Virginia, 10:30 a.m. ESPN . . . Basketball, St. John's vs. Georgetown, 11 a.m. (2) (8) . . . Track and Field, The Millrose Games, noon (4) (36) (39) . . . Golf, L.A. Open, 1 p.m. (2) (8) . . . Basketball, Cal vs. USC, 1 p.m. (4) (36) (39) . . . Skiing, World Cup, 2 p.m. (7) (10) . . . Sports-World, 3 p.m. (4) (36) (39) . . . Basketball, Arizona State vs. Oregon State, 3 p.m. (5) (51) . . . Pro Bowlers Tour, 3 p.m., tape-delay (7) (3) (10) (42) . . . Wide World of Sports, 4:30 p.m. (7) (3) (42) . . . NBA Basketball, Lakers vs. Jazz, 6:20 p.m. (9) . . . NBA Basketball, 76ers vs. Clippers, 7:30 p.m. (11) . . . Basketball, Stanford vs. UCLA, 8 p.m. (5).
SUNDAY: Basketball, Villanova vs. Maryland, 9:30 a.m. (4) (36) (39) . . . Basketball, Kansas vs. Michigan, 10:30 a.m. (2) (8) . . . Basketball, Indiana vs. Illinois, 11:30 a.m. (4) (36) (39) . . . Golf, L.A. Open, 12:30 p.m. (2) (8) . . . SportsWorld, 1:30 p.m. (36) (39); 4 p.m. (4) . . . Amateur Boxing, U.S. vs. Russia, 4 p.m. (7) (3) (42).