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Super Bowl XXXVII | Spotlight / VIEWERS' GUIDE

Just the Facts -- Mostly -- for the Big Game

January 26, 2003

The teams: The Oakland Raiders (13-5) are making their fifth Super Bowl appearance, while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (14-4) are making their first. This marks the first time that the NFL's top-rated offense, Oakland, will face the top-rated defense in the Super Bowl.

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Site: San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium, with a seating capacity of 67,500, will be the site of its third Super Bowl. Qualcomm was voted the 10th-worst playing surface in the NFL by the players' union. The worst? Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium, which, fortunately for the players, is being demolished after baseball season.

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Kickoff: 3:25 p.m. PST. That answers the question most asked by callers to the Los Angeles Times sports department.

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TV: Channel 7. Al Michaels will handle play-by-play duties, with color commentary by John Madden. For the first time, the NFL has allowed TV to fit two players -- Oakland receiver Jerry Rice and Tampa Bay safety John Lynch -- with tiny microphones during the game for replays. Madden, the former Raider coach, said there's no way he would have allowed it if he were still coaching. "Some things shouldn't be public," Madden said. "During the game, you do and say a lot of things that, when you take them out of the context of the game, are stupid. Every time I saw [someone] miked-up saying, 'What the hell's going on out there?' I didn't want to be miked."

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Weather: A high of 75 degrees under partly cloudy skies. Eat your heart out, Iowa.

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Coin toss: Members of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins will be honored. Larry Csonka, the Dolphins' fullback when they defeated the Washington Redskins, 14-7, at the Coliseum to complete a 17-0 season, couldn't help but notice how the Super Bowl has changed in 30 years. "We've got a press conference and two practices," Csonka said of the former Dolphins. "When I played, three days before the game we didn't know what hotel we'd be in."

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Halftime show: Country singer Shania Twain and Orange County rock band No Doubt headline the entertainment. Sting will also appear. Twain will perform two songs, "Man! I Feel Like a Woman" from her album "Come on Over" and the title song from her latest album, "Up." The performances will be live. Last year, most of the musical performers prerecorded their songs to reduce the possibility of technical problems.

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Audience: An estimated 800 million TV viewers are expected to watch the game. ABC's telecast will go to more than 200 stations in the United States, Bermuda and Guam. Armed Forces Television will provide the picture throughout the rest of the world. CBS Radio/Westwood One will broadcast to 500 stations in the U.S. In all, the game will be distributed to 220 countries and territories in 28 languages.

Paychecks: Each member of the winning team gets $63,000, each member of the losing team $35,000.

Officials: Referee Bill Carollo heads a seven-man crew that will try to avoid botching any significant calls, such as the missed pass interference penalty that marred the ending of the playoff game between San Francisco and the New York Giants. Carollo is completing his 14th year in the NFL and will work his second Super Bowl. He was the side judge in the 1996 game between Pittsburgh and Dallas. The rest of the crew: umpire Ed Coukart, head linesman Dale Williams, line judge Mark Steinkerchner, field judge Tom Sifferman, side judge Rick Patterson and back judge Don Carey.

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Injuries: Cornerback Charles Woodson (leg injury), center Barret Robbins (foot) and linebacker Eric Barton (leg) of Oakland are listed as questionable. Tampa Bay lists no serious injuries, though receiver Joe Jurevicius' knee could prove troublesome.

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Next year: On Feb. 1, 2004, the eyes of Texas and everywhere else will be on Houston's Reliant Stadium, the first NFL title game to be played in a retractable-roof facility.

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Compiled by staff writer Rob Fernas. Times wire services contributed to this report.

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