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Super Bowl at Large : Stadium's Lush Field Welcomes Quiet Thoughts, Playful Romp

SUPER BOWL AT LARGE: This is the fifth of nine daily "Super Bowl at Large" columns giving glimpses of people and pageantry, happenings and hoopla during Super Bowl week in San Diego.

January 28, 1988|TOM GORMAN

San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium was opened for public viewing Wednesday for the rest of the week, allowing thousands of curious the chance to see for themselves just how spectacular the place can look with some heavy-duty but tastefully applied makeup.

Men in business suits came to look, as did retired people and young couples with babies in strollers. Most took pictures. Some just sat in seats and stared, maybe imagining the cacophony at kickoff Sunday.

They talked, to a one, about how beautifully green the field looked--and how garishly orange the Broncos' end zone had been painted. They gawked at the NFL banners ringing the top of the stadium. They said they wouldn't want to sit in the highest temporary bleachers, no way. One fellow said he had the best seats in the house, and pointed to the 50-yard-line--and a pair of TV cameras that will deliver the game to his living room.

All around them, the work continued. Souvenir cushions were being strapped to seats. Sound checks were made on the enhanced speaker system--and it sounded great. Workers applied touch-up paint to stadium walls. Pacific Telephone workers were making sure all the fiber optics lines were in place for TV feeds to Italy, Tokyo, China, Ireland, France and Spain. TV crews toyed with their cameras from their end-zone platforms.

And a young boy, maybe 5 years old, ran down the playing field alone, and everyone wondered what was going through his mind.

The Broncos-Garvey ballroom brawl has been settled before going to mediation. Denver Broncos Coach Dan Reeves and Steve Garvey talked it out on the phone Tuesday night, and it's official now that Garvey's Jay Leno-Otis Day and the Knights benefit show at 9 tonight will be held in the ballroom of the La Jolla Marriott--where Garvey planned on having it all along--not in a tent in the parking lot, which was the Broncos' demand in order to keep the hotel's interior to themselves.

Garvey said he promised to keep disruptions to the Broncos at a minimum; the Broncos said they wished well for the two charities that will benefit from the $100-per-person show--Say No to Drugs and Garvey's nonprofit group that offers career guidance for athletes.

Neither side was saying what got the Broncos to back down. Maybe they figured that in terms of local popularity, Garvey outnumbered them.

At final count, about 2,300 persons attended the Super Bowl party Tuesday night at the Hotel del Coronado--a $200,000 blowout with free-flowing liquor, cases of Snickers and Milk Duds, rock 'n' roll music, legs of lamb, funny-money gambling and Marilyn Monroe look-alikes.

But calling it a media freebie was something of a misnomer, it turns out. At most, fewer than half--if even a third--of those present were from the media; most in the crowd were from local political and business circles, many of whom were reportedly invited in recent days to help fill the place as media RSVPs lagged.

The manager of a medium-size shopping mall confessed sheepishly that she wasn't quite sure why she got an invitation to attend; an NFL media representative said he only recognized three faces in the crowd of supposed working journalists.

But this was a chance for the Hotel Del to strut its stuff--a dry run for its Centennial birthday party next month, and it did so lavishly. At party's end, departing journalists were given a press information kit--including a story about the party itself, complete with the blooper headline, "Hotel is sight of Superbowl press party."

On Sunday, 76-year-old Bill Edwards of Houston will become one of the most powerful men in America.

He can bring the Super Bowl action to a halt for a two-minute commercial break.

He's an ABC-TV "sideline coordinator," meaning he'll suggest to producer Ken Wolfe when there's a good time for a commercial break. If Wolfe agrees, Edwards, who wears orange gloves so he can be spotted easily from the field, will fold his arms across his chest as a signal to the head referee that a commercial break is needed at the next available opportunity--a change of possession, for instance.

When the referee then signals for an officials' time out, the two-minute clock starts for the commercials. A back judge will walk over to Edwards halfway through the break to make sure ABC doesn't need an extra 10 or 15 seconds.

"I've probably worked more ballgames (for a television network) than anyone else in the country," said Edwards, who's been doing this for ABC for 21 years. "And it doesn't get blase or boring because it doesn't matter if it's a good game or a blowout, we've still got to get those commercials in.

"I know all these guys (referees) and how they work. If I cross my arms, there's no question they'll give me my timeout."

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