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SCOTT OSTLER

SUPER BOWL XXI : COMMEMTARY : Giants Put the Arm on Broncos; It Was Simms All the Way

January 26, 1987|SCOTT OSTLER

The New York Phil-harmonic played the Rose Bowl Sunday, with Lawrence Taylor on percussion and Phil (The Thrill) Simms conducting.

The Denver Broncos, downgraded to Shetland Ponies by Super Sundown, played second fiddle.

And if you were disappointed by the one-sided nature of Super Bowl XXI, a 39-20 Giant win, you haven't learned how to watch this ultimate game.

Viewing the Super Bowl, fans, you don't pray for a close, exciting game. You sit back and watch a demonstration of power and precision and domination.

It's like a prize fight. You don't root for someone to win on points. You don't watch in order to admire Mike Tyson's nifty footwork.

If you look at the game the right way, and if you're not from Denver, Sunday's contest was a thing of beauty.

It was what the ballplayers like to call a good old-fashioned butt-kicking.

Who expected otherwise this year?

Listen, the Giants brought their own preacher man to L.A., and Reverend Kenneth Moore said during Super Week, "The man upstairs knows already they (the Giants) are going to win." How's that for an inside tip?

And in the locker room after the game, Giant linebacker Taylor slipped into a Superman jersey--minus the cape, because he planned to fly home with the team.

When you've got God and Superman on your side, you've got a fairly effective nucleus.

And when the opponents concede before halftime, well, as Lester Hayes would say, it's academic.

The Ponies had a 10-7 lead and first-and-goal at the Giants' one-yard-line early in the second half.

The Ponies had rocket-arm, crazy-leg John Elway at quarterback and no real running attack, other than Elway himself. The Denver running backs are furniture. The Giants have the greatest defense against the run since Zola Budd stopped Mary Decker.

So what do the Ponies do? Three sweep-type runs, zero yards. Then they blow the field goal. Suddenly, Denver was mile-low.

"I was surprised they ran as much as they did," said Taylor, who gets so keyed up for games that he gives his pregame meal a round-trip ticket. "We stop the run pretty well. Any time John (Elway) drops back, we're in double trouble."

What if Denver had scored there?

"It (the game) definitely could've got away from us," Taylor said.

Not likely. This was the Giants' day. Everything worked in their favor. For instance, there was some concern that the lush natural grass would work against the Giants, that Joe Morris would need a periscope to see over the high blades.

But after the pregame and halftime shows, starring the lip-syncing Beach Boys, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy, and the entire population of Kansas and Eagle Rock, the turf was trampled down to a 100-yard-long billiard table.

Broncos in corner pocket.

Strategy played a big part in the game, of course. How did the Giants turn it around at halftime, going from a 10-9 deficit to that 39-20 final?

Try to stay with me now as I present a technical analysis of the Giants' comeback strategy.

"At halftime," Taylor said, "we said we have to go out there and make something happen. (In the first half) we were worried about the heat, and the shoes, but we said, 'let's go out and knock 'em on their butts.' "

Quarterback Simms further explained the intricate second-half plan.

"We just said we gotta go out there and get after these guys," Simms said.

Simms played the game in the Twilight Zone. He completed 22 of 25 passes. Best display of accuracy in a big game since Bill Walton hit 21 of 22 against Memphis State.

"He was throwing bullets," said Taylor.

Simms is not a great quarterback, or so he insisted after the game. But how about this one day? Was he great this one day?

"Hell yeah," the Thrill said. "I was great. I was. I did play great today. If I could do that every day, there wouldn't be enough money to pay me.

"I just felt, when I dropped back, I knew I was gonna hit it. A couple of times, I looked at three and four people (potential receivers)."

You made it look simple, someone commented to Simms.

"Well sometimes it is simple," he said.

Simms also said some modest things, and gave due credit to his teammates. But modesty and self-effacement is not likely to be in vogue this offseason in New York.

New York fans have never been known to hide their pride, and now that they've got the Mets and the Giants, the next six months might be a good time to avoid the subject of sports with your New York friends. If they do start talking sports, quickly steer the conversation around to the Knicks.

Already there are reports that New York fans have gone to work on the Statue of Liberty, replacing the lady's torch with a football. Liberty lighting up the Bronco secondary.

The Giants, the pride of East (Don't Call Me Lumpy) Rutherford, will fly home today. They will be honored at parades in their own stadium, and possibly across the river on Broadway, too.

Meanwhile, the NFL will be giving some deep thought to improving the competitiveness of the Super Bowl. One possibility would be to copy the exciting collegiate system--do away with postseason playoffs and have the championship decided by a poll of writers and coaches.

For now, though, the Giants are a clear No. 1, with a bullet, and no one else is in the Top Forty.

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