SAN DIEGO — As the crowd came down the ramps from the freeway Sunday morning, the stadium looked like the giant middle ring of a three-ring circus. It was surrounded by 70 big tents, any one of which could have belonged to Ringling Bros. And there, much of corporate America dined on Super Sunday.
For many, the game was secondary to the socializing under canvas--and business anywhere.
The tents, called pavilions by the corporate people, were pitched on a slight hill. Inside, wooden floors leveled the uneven surface. Outside--a long way outside of the circle of tents--the public parked.
Ford Motor Co. invested $250,000 in the largest and most lavish pavilion.
Food was served from 9 a.m. to midnight.
The $27,000 check Redskin replacement quarterback Tony Robinson will get may be too late.
Robinson is back in the Knox County (Tenn.) Penal Farm after violating his work release agreement.
Robinson is doing time for drug-related offenses. The replacement players get a half share of the $54,000 full share that includes the NFC championship and Super Bowl victory.
Nate Fine has meant a lot to elder statesman Dave Butz and the rest of the Redskins, who dedicated the Super Bowl to him. Fine for many years has been the team photographer, and he is stricken with incurable cancer.
"Accept this trophy on behalf of the Redskins," Butz said, handing it to him. "We couldn't have done it without you."
Owner Jack Kent Cooke turned to Fine and said, in an emotional moment: "You're a wonderful man. I love you to death."
Cooke reached out for Coach Joe Gibbs a few minutes after the game ended.
"You darling, come here," Cooke said. "Thank you so much."
While watching the game, Cooke, 75, described himself as nervous. No, more than nervous.
"I was petrified to the point of immobility," he said.
There was a story in Sunday's paper saying the Green Bay Packers' coaching job is Gibbs' if he wants it.
Denver defensive star Rulon Jones said of Super Bowl XXII MVP Doug Williams: "Doug just amazed me . . . it's probably the best game of his life."
Which made him think of Super Bowl XXI MVP Phil Simms.
"It seems like we're good at letting quarterbacks have their best games," Jones said.
James Denby of Carlinville, Ill., who returned to the United States Saturday after being in captivity for two months in Nicaragua, said: "I'm glad I got out in time for the Super Bowl. I was afraid I was going to miss the game."
Former Raider Coach Tom Flores, who has been on the winning sideline in four Super Bowls as a player, assistant coach and head coach, watched the game from his hotel room in Las Vegas and was asked to do an analysis for Associated Press. It was a good call. After all, here's a guy whose Raiders beat the Redskins, 38-9, in Super Bowl XVIII, the last time an AFC team won, and who coached against the Broncos twice in each of the last nine seasons.
Some excerpts from Flores:
"I felt the Redskins would be stronger than Denver, and I thought if they could outmuscle the Broncos, they would take command.
"They weren't fancy. They used one off-tackle run that the Broncos had to stop, and they couldn't. Washington must have run that same play 100 times.
"And Doug Williams did what he does best. He gave Washington the big play when it was available. The Redskins took full advantage of every situation."
And of Washington's defense, Flores said:
"The Redskins also did a very good job of stopping Denver quarterback John Elway.
"You have to give credit to the Washington secondary. All week long, all you heard about was the Three Amigos (Denver receivers Vance Johnson, Mark Jackson and Ricky Nattiel), but you had Darrell Green covering the best of the three, whoever that was on a given play.
"When (Elway) did throw, it looked like he got so frustrated that he threw as hard as he could.
"When you get behind, sometimes you have to take chances, and you can look bad doing it. Unfortunately for John Elway, this is the game people will be talking about.
"I think that in some ways, John Elway is a great quarterback, but you can build a guy up so much that anything short of Superman is a letdown. That's what happened to Elway."
Safety Dave Duerson of the Chicago Bears was named the NFL's Man of the Year.
The award is given to "players whose careers reflect a dedication to community service as well as on-field excellence."
Duerson has been involved in a search for the cure for muscular dystrophy and will donate the $25,000 check he'll receive from The Travelers Companies Foundation to Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago.
Duerson and his brother and father have also set up programs in Muncie, Ind., and Chicago that sponsor free football camps for kids with substance-abuse problems.
Each of the NFL's 28 teams had a player nominated for the award, and the winner is picked by a selection committee.