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Super Bowl XXXII: DENVER BRONCOS 31, GREEN BAY PACKERS
24 | PAGE TWO / RANDY HARVEY

Biggest Little Broncos Push Around the Pack

January 26, 1998|RANDY HARVEY

SAN DIEGO — Denver's offensive linemen won one for the little guys, all you 290-pounders out there.

The anonymous members of the NFL's smallest offensive line, without a 300-pounder among them, dominated a Green Bay defensive line that outweighed them by at least 15 pounds per man.

They even made Gilbert Brown disappear, no small feat considering the Packer defensive tackle weighs 375 pounds in his underwear.

Don't try to picture it; just take my word for it.

Bronco running back Terrell Davis was, deservedly, voted the most valuable player in the 31-24 Super Bowl victory. But it would have been no less appropriate to divide the award among offensive tackles Gary Zimmerman and Tony Jones, guards Mark Schlereth and Brian Habib and center Tom Nalen.

While we're being so magnanimous, give a share to fullback Howard Griffith.

Remember those names. Except for Nalen's, you won't be hearing them in next Sunday's Pro Bowl.

"It's an absolute travesty that we've got only one guy from the offensive line going to the Pro Bowl, and he's a backup," Schlereth said.

"We haven't gotten any respect all year. We have a back who went over 2,000 yards. Then we come here and hear we can't run on the Packers. What's different about them? We've run on people all year long."

The Bronco offensive linemen had no fear. They weren't asked to buy the Packers dinner, only block them.

That they did, enabling Davis to run for 157 yards and three touchdowns. He earned some of those yards on his own, but much of the time, the holes were so large Brown could have run through them.

"Their offensive line was very underrated," Green Bay safety Eugene Robinson said. "They pushed our guys all around the field."

He watched the same game as Elway.

"We 'outphysicaled' Green Bay, which is pretty good for the lightest line in the league," Elway said.

His bodyguards, who prevented him from being sacked, will have to settle for those kind words. When the game ended, tight end Shannon Sharpe held up the new Wheaties box. Pictured on the cover were Elway, Davis, Sharpe, safety Steve Atwater, defensive tackle Keith Traylor and no offensive linemen.

*

"We're No. 1 in the world, baby!" Denver linebacker Bill Romanowski shouted. . . .

Not so fast. . . .

In one of those instant editions circulated immediately after the game, the Denver Post proclaimed: "Finally! Denver Broncos National Champions." . . .

The headline in a competing edition of the Rocky Mountain News read: "EL-YEAH!" . . .

There's one city where Bill Clinton isn't the lead story. . . .

His pregame message, delivered to a sellout crowd of 68,912 at Qualcomm Stadium via the scoreboard, was drowned out by boos. . . .

The President's day was pretty much like his week. . . .

He tried to reach Denver Coach Mike Shanahan in the dressing room for the traditional congratulatory call, but, according to an NFL official, something went wrong with the phone wires. . . .

Maybe Linda Tripp tapped them. . .

There were a lot of errors Sunday, including 16 penalties, three lost fumbles and two interceptions. . . .

But, for theater, I'd rate it the fifth-best Super Bowl. . . .

The Jets over Baltimore in 1969 was the best. . . .

Next were San Francisco over Cincinnati in '89, Pittsburgh over Dallas in '79 and the Giants over Buffalo in '91. . . .

San Diego Lincoln is the first high school to produce two Super Bowl MVPs, Marcus Allen in 1984 and Davis. . . .

After signing the last two Super Bowl MVPs, Larry Brown and Desmond Howard, as free agents, Al Davis isn't likely to find a way to spirit T.D. out of Denver. . . .

The Packers missed Howard. . . .

They had 244 yards in returns, including Howard's 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, in last year's Super Bowl win. . . .

They had 104 yards Sunday. . . .

You have to be happy for Elway. . . .

Also Mike Lodish. The Denver defensive lineman, in his eighth season from UCLA, had lost in his four Super Bowl appearances with Buffalo. . . .

When the fourth quarter started, I'm glad Dick Enberg was able to say "Oh my!" one last time for NBC's NFL coverage and mean it.

*

While wondering whatever happened to Reggie White, I was thinking: The upset was that the game was better than the commercials, I'm glad we won't have to read those NFC domination stories next year, John Elway should go out on a Rocky Mountain high.

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