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Morning Briefing

It's the Shot Heard 'Round the Press Room

January 22, 1987

Former Boston Globe columnist Will McDonough, now of CBS sports, is one of 15 reporters who has covered every Super Bowl. He's put together capsule comments on each one, and here's how he remembers Super Bowl II between the Green Bay Packers and the Oakland Raiders:

"John Rauch, coach of the Raiders, is a bore. He says nothing at press conferences. Everyone is getting frustrated. Finally, legendary New York sportswriter Jimmy Cannon, in his own style, gets up and says, 'OK, this guy comes up and puts a gun to your head. He asks, 'You, tell me whether you are going to run more or pass more, or I blow your head off.'

"Rauch thinks for a second and answers, 'I believe in a balanced offense.'

"Three writers jump to their feet and yell simultaneously, 'BANG!' "

When New York Giant tight end Mark Bavaro snubbed the press the other day, quarterback Phil Simms told the writers not to take it personally.

Simms then told this story: "In the 49ers game, Bobby Johnson caught a touchdown pass and I was hit and knocked a little dizzy. Bavaro walked up to me and asked if I was all right. I was thrilled he was talking to me. I said, 'This guy must really like me.' "

Trivia Time: When Denver lost to Dallas, 27-10, in the 1978 Super Bowl, who quarterbacked the Broncos to their only touchdown? (Answer below.)

Red Miller, the Denver coach in the 1978 Super Bowl, is predicting another loss for the Broncos Sunday.

Miller, now an investment counselor, told Newsday: "The Giants are the better team, but the Broncos do have the one guy who can turn it around, John Elway. With his scrambling ability. And his arm. He can throw it a mile with accuracy. I don't think the Broncos can run on the Giants. Not on the Giants. They may say it, and they'll try it for a few downs, but I would be the most surprised person in the world if they have any success running the ball."

Gerald Willhite of the Broncos is planning on a surprise.

Of the Giants, he said: "They better play us honestly as far as the run in concerned. If they cheat toward the pass, we'll run it down their throats."

For What It's Worth: In 13 regular season games on artificial turf, Joe Morris averaged 4.6 yards per carry. In three games on grass, he averaged 3.5 yards.

Says Denver linebacker Tom Jackson: "I don't know if you go into a game saying you're gonna stop a Joe Morris. You try and contain him and stop him from breaking the 50-yarder that is the crushing blow in any Super Bowl."

In the Giants' 14-9 win over the Raiders, Morris broke loose on a 52-yard run to set up a touchdown. It was at the Coliseum. On grass.

New York Giant publicist Ed Croke told Peter King of Newsday that he was inundated with messages on his answering machine at home last week.

King: "The best, he said, came from a network TV producer whose three-minute message was so long she had to leave three parts of it after three separate beeps. Said Croke: 'I felt like I was watching "Roots" while I was listening to the thing. I had three scotches before it was over.' "

Trivia Answer: Norris Weese. He had replaced Craig Morton who had thrown four interceptions.


Denver linebacker Ricky Hunley, told that the Broncos will be the third biggest underdog in Super Bowl history: "Good. That means it will be the third biggest upset in Super Bowl history."

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