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Morning Briefing

There's One Politician Not Playing Favorites

January 25, 1987

It's traditional for politicians to wager on big games, so Denver Mayor Federico Pena proposed a bet with New York Mayor Edward I. Koch on the Super Bowl.

Koch wasn't interested. He had disinherited the Giants because of their move to New Jersey. So, according to Newsday, Pena approached Mayor James Plosia of East Rutherford, N.J.

Plosia, it turned out, also wasn't interested. Pena was asked why.

"When I asked him," Pena said, "he told me he was a Bronco fan."

How do you win in the Rose Bowl? Don't ask Chris Godfrey of the Giants. He came out here with three Michigan teams, and all three were losers. Other Giants who have played in the Rose Bowl are Herb Welch, a winner with UCLA, and Pepper Johnson, a loser with Ohio State.

Of the Broncos, Dennis Smith was a two-time winner with USC; Tony Colorito was a winner with USC, and Mike Harden was a loser with Michigan.

Add Pepper: Wrote Tony Kornheiser of the Washington Post: "Why do I like Pepper Johnson? Because he came by his nickname honestly--as a kid, he put pepper on his cereal, and he still puts pepper on pie. And because of the gold medallion he wears around his neck. It's the size of a hotel ashtray, and like a Medic-Alert bracelet, it has all of Pepper's vital information. It has his nickname, Pep, on it; his astrological sign, Leo; an NY for the Giants; his number, 52; his car 300-ZX, and a jalapeno pepper across the hollow part in the middle. So, in case Pepper takes too hard a lick, he can always look down at his chest and remember who he is and how he got to the stadium."

Gerald Willhite of the Broncos, on tolerating pain: "I've become a masochist. You just tell yourself not to think about it until after the game. I'm not brain dead. But sometimes the lights are on and nobody's home."

Trivia Time: What player started one Super Bowl on defense and another one on offense? (Answer below.)

From Ken Denlinger of the Washington Post, on how the Giants were built: " 'We have very few players from small colleges,' said Coach Bill Parcells, the reasoning being that the stronger the competition in college the easier the transition into the NFL."

Good theory, but the Pittsburgh Steelers did pretty well the other way. Their roster included Terry Bradshaw (Louisiana Tech), John Stallworth (Alabama A&M), Joe Greene (North Texas State), L.C. Greenwood (Arkansas AM&N) and Jack Lambert (Kent State).

Kenny Hill of the Giants, on the fast-food investments he made when he played for the Raiders: "Every time you buy a hamburger in Orange County, you're putting a little money in my pocket. Actually, the franchises are pretty slow, in serving and in the money they generate."

Trivia Answer: E.J. Holub of the Kansas City Chiefs. In 1967, he started at linebacker against the Green Bay Packers, and in 1970 he started at center against the Minnesota Vikings.


George Martin, 33-year-old defensive end for the Giants, on his 78-yard interception return against the Broncos in the team's regular-season game: "The moment I caught the ball, I could tell it was a long way to go. Vegas was giving odds on me getting to the end zone."

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