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The Inside Track | MORNING BRIEFING

Hirsch's Moniker Is Ready for Prime Time

January 29, 2004|Larry Stewart | Times Staff Writer

HOUSTON — Long before there was "Prime Time," there was "Crazy Legs."

Deion Sanders, who tabbed himself "Prime Time," said the nickname for Elroy Hirsch, who died of natural causes at 80 on Wednesday in Madison, Wis., was one of the NFL's best ever.

"It's up there with Billy 'White Shoes' Johnson," said Sanders, who is here to work the CBS Super Bowl pregame show Sunday. "You know why it is such a great nickname? Because it defined his game."

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Seconding that notion: Of the nickname given to Hirsch by a Chicago sportswriter, Mike Ditka said: "It was perfect. That was him."

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Trivia time: Phil Simms was the most valuable player of Super Bowl XXI, in which the New York Giants defeated the Denver Broncos, 39-20, at the Rose Bowl on Jan. 25, 1987. Who sang the national anthem?

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New plan: Sanders said he was no longer interested in becoming an NFL head coach. "Now I want to be an owner," he said.

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Change of heart: Two years ago, when the New England Patriots played the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl, the HBO "Inside the NFL" crew taped its predictions on Tuesday of that week.

Of Dan Marino's pick, Cris Collinsworth said, "He nailed it, right down to the Patriots winning on an Adam Vinatieri field goal. The rest of us picked the Rams.

"Then Dan got cold feet the next day and asked to retape the segment so he could change his pick. Boy, was he kicking himself after the game."

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No, not again: The HBO crew taped its picks for Sunday's game Tuesday night. Marino said he picked Carolina, 20-17.

"Maybe I'll change it again," he said with a smile Wednesday.

Presumably, he was kidding.

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Boston connection: Jockey Gary Stevens was flown here by the National Thoroughbred Racing Assn. to help promote the "Citgo Racing to the Kentucky Derby" series. But Stevens isn't staying for the game. Sunday he'll be at Santa Anita riding Boston Common.

So who is he picking to win the Super Bowl?

The Patriots, of course. "I'll even give you the score," he said. "36-17."

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Odd number: Boomer Esiason, who will be working on the CBS pregame show Sunday, then will switch over to work the CBS/Westwood One radio coverage with Marv Albert, said he couldn't see either team scoring more than 27 points.

When Marino heard that, he said, "Twenty-seven points? Where did you come up with that number?"

Said Esiason: "What's wrong with 27?"

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Trivia answer: Neil Diamond.

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And finally: CBS' Lesley Visser, who spent last weekend in Jake Delhomme's hometown, Breaux Bridge, La., working on a feature on the Carolina quarterback, said: "We started off this season talking about Jake Plummer and finished it talking about Jake Delhomme."

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Larry Stewart can be reached at larry.stewart@latimes.com.

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