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The Inside Track to Super Bowl XXXVII | KICKING OFF

Every Year It Has Been a Circus Atmosphere

January 26, 2003|Steve Springer

Super Bowl teams come and go, but the media frenzy is always present.

One year in the early '90s, reporters, scratching around for crumbs at the end of Super Bowl week, were surrounding Buffalo Bill tight end Pete Metzelaars.

"How come you guys haven't asked me about my grandmother, Princess Numu, who was a four-foot circus midget?" Metzelaars said with a wink.

"Do you spell Numu, N-U-M-U?" Metzelaars was asked.

"Ye-a-ah, that'll work," he said.

The next day, Metzelaars was overheard telling another reporter, "If I thought it was that big a deal, I would have brought a picture of her."

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Trivia time: Which was the lowest-rated telecast of a Super Bowl?

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Poor start: "The only problem with having the Super Bowl in California," said "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno, "is, thanks to Gov. Gray Davis, the state is so broke, they can't find a coin to flip for the opening kickoff."

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The true warriors: Five sportswriters have covered every Super Bowl since the first in Los Angeles in January 1967. Thirty-seven years later, still writing, are Edwin Pope of the Miami Herald, Jerry Izenberg and Dave Klein of the Newark Star-Ledger, Jerry Greene of the Detroit News and Bob Oates of the Los Angeles Times.

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True domination: Al Davis liked to call his Raiders the team of the decades, but that designation ran out in the '90s.

There's a possibility for a new designation, however, which Davis can brag about for the rest of his life.

If Oakland beats the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today, it will be the first team to win Super Bowls in two centuries.

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Retired but still taking shots: Former Dallas Cowboy receiver Michael Irvin, the toast of the media this week, was asked about former teammate Larry Brown, whose two interceptions in Super Bowl XXX not only won him the most-valuable-player award but a fat contract from the Raiders.

"Al Davis likes to have as many trophies on his plantation as possible," said Irvin, according to the St. Petersburg Times. "That's what that was."

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Ouch: Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press on the tendency of Tampa Bay receiver Keyshawn Johnson to talk about himself in the third person as did the creature Smeagol in "Lord of the Rings":

"From any alien, we can take it. From you, we don't have to. When you come back to Earth, maybe we'll find the intelligent person behind your annoying bravado.

"OK, we won't."

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Trivia answer: A 36 rating for Super Bowl III in 1969, considered the most significant game in Super Bowl history because the New York Jets' victory over the Baltimore Colts was credited with cementing the NFL-AFL merger.

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And finally: After extolling the accomplishments of coaches from Vince Lombardi to Don Shula, Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun concludes:

"None of them achieved what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Jon Gruden did this season. He became the first coach to get two teams to the Super Bowl in the same season."

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-- Steve Springer

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