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Jim Murray

Superdome, Super Bowl, Super Dull

January 14, 1986|JIM MURRAY

Well, Super Bowl XX will feature two teams that have never been there before. That's happened only three times in Super Bowl history if you discount the first one, which perforce had two maiden outings.

It's happened only once since Super IV and that was in Super XVI, when Cincinnati and San Francisco teed it up as first-timers.

So, will this one be any different from the other XIX? It's doubtful. It's a Super Bowl, isn't it? Look for any or all of the following on Super Sunday 1986:

--The game will be an artistic disappointment--predictable, dull and, probably, one-sided. Try to recall any super moments from this bowl game, a Roy Riegels running the wrong way, a third-stringer coming off the bench in the twilight to ignite a game-winning rally, a gallant goal-line stand, a last-second interception.

--The first play of the game will be a run off tackle.

--The fourth play of the game will be a punt.

--The first score of the game will be a field goal.

--The last score of the game will be a field goal.

--The last play of the game will be a guy kneeling down with the football and if you like that, you can see it in church for nothing.

--Jimmy the Greek will pick the loser. Pete Axthelm will take the points, giving new meaning to Grantland Rice's dictum: "It's not whether you won or lost, it's how many points you got." Some year, they may give the trophy not to the team that gets the most points in the game but in the spread.

--The game will be decided by four fumbles and a blocked kick, but the press will vote the quarterback the player of the game.

--A rumor will spread about a star player being seen on Bourbon Street in the wee hours, but the club will issue a statement saying that he was only on his way to early Mass and stopped in the Absinthe House for directions.

--An injured player will explain that he cut himself shaving, but back home the police will question his wife anyway to see why he was shaving his heart at 2 in the morning.

--Walter Payton will be asked 710 times if he can describe the feeling of finally being in a Super Bowl game. Payton will resist the temptation to snap that he really planned to spend the day at the Field Museum or washing his car, thus showing again why his nickname is Sweetness.

--Reams of copy will be poured out about the late Papa Bear, George Halas, but overlooked will be a guy still with us who had as much to do as anybody with popularizing the Bears and pro football--Red Grange.

--You will get sick of hearing about The Refrigerator.

--The game will prove again that in any obvious passing situation with the multiple-back defense in operation, any quarterback can help himself to 15 yards or even a touchdown as Jim McMahon did in the championship game. This will not deter the coaches from going back to the same defense the next time the situation comes up.

--Sports experts will sneer that the Chicago Bears haven't really been tested yet, that, as they say around the race track, they beat nobody, completely overlooking the fact that one of the nobodies they beat was New England.

--New England will be called a Cinderella team 1,797 times.

--Las Vegas will hang up a line making the Bears nine-point favorites, explaining that's not because they handicap it that way but because that's the way they think the public will bet. The public will bet that way because they think Las Vegas is handicapping it that way.

--It will be an antiseptic game--indoors, no rain, no wind, no cold, no slippery footing, no fun. Next: artificial people.

--New England will try to win without the pass. Chicago will try to win it without the ball.

What's the Roman numeral for zero?

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