Supe du jour Mouth-watering morsels and tasty tidbits from the ultimate (until next year) football feast

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Four for five

Joe Gibbs' third Super Bowl victory is his sweetest because five veteran players, five of his favorites, also won their third title in their fourth trip to the championship game.

"After the game, in the locker room, the five of us were together, just looking at each other, and man, it's just an overwhelming feeling," said center Jeff Bostic, one of the four-time Super Bowlers. "I think the thing that keeps going through my mind is that in this stage of our careers, 'How many opportunities are you going to get to play in this kind of game again?' "

The ceremonial astronaut toss

Discovery's astronauts demonstrated a coin toss in weightlessness before millions of earthbound football fans during the Super Bowl pre-game show.

Astronaut Roberta Bondar held the coin in her right hand as her fellow astronauts flipped her in cartwheels 187 miles above Earth. She released the coin and it floated away. The crew said it appeared to be heads.

"As you can see in zero-g, the coin never comes down, so we'll just have to defer the coin toss to the official pre-game ceremony," said shuttle commander Ronald Grabe, who sported Washington Redskins cap.

Hey, buy a ticket

Pick a cause. More than 2,000 protesters representing everything from Native Grandmothers Against Racism to Minnesotans for a United Ireland had to arrive early to find a spot outside the Metrodome to state their case.

There also was the Animal Rights Coalition, which complained about people who eat buffalo meat and about a 700-pound hog that is a mascot honoring the Washington Redskins' offensive line.

The most obvious of the protesters was John Forde of St. Paul, demonstrating against the tobacco industry. Attached to his shoulders was a large, homemade likeness of a camel smoking a cigarette.

He carried a sign that read, "I'm killing your kids."

He won four, will he ever call one?

Terry Bradshaw is a very -- as in sizzling -- hot commodity. He was the focus of CBS' marathon preview show, but he would rather be in John Madden's seat next to Pat Summerall analyzing the game.

This raises an interesting question. With Bill Walsh out at NBC and Bill Parcells continuing to be a very unpredictable guy, could Bradshaw suddenly become the apple of NBC's eye and look to jump networks?

Bradshaw admitted that he has a desire to be a No. 1 analyst and call a Super Bowl game. He also realizes this: As long as Madden is at CBS, that never will happen. "Doing it would be the ultimate for me. If you're in this business, it's something you want to do," Bradshaw said.

Would he jump to another network? "You had to ask me that. Oh, boy," Bradshaw said with a sigh.

"I'm very happy here. I don't plan on going anywhere. I had a chance to go to NBC when I left the Steelers, but I chose CBS. Now I feel part of a family. I know you would like me to say I would jump, but as of now, I have no desire to leave."

Lot of good it did us

Baltimore hoped to get national exposure for its NFL franchise hopes by quickly selling out for an exhibition game in August. Football fans here kept up their end of the bargain on Saturday, snapping up the remaining 33,000 tickets for the game in 2 1/2 hours. But the subject never came up during CBS' Super Bowl telecast yesterday.

Did you keep the remote handy?

While CBS' pre-game show broke from football for a report on Olympic figure skating -- guess which network is televising the Winter Games? -- over on Channel 2, there was an NFL Films program on the Super Bowl.

We pause for this message

Unless you are a Redskins fan (not), Super Bowl XXVI -- another dispiriting blowout -- was an annoying series of interruptions to some really top-flight commercials -- at $850,000 for 30 seconds.

The advertisers spending all that dough say that while the recession has made ad dollars tighter, the Super Bowl simply cannot be topped by any other sports event for number of viewers riveted to their sets. Not only that, but Super Bowl viewers apparently remember ads better than most viewers.

The ones we'll remember:

* Bugle Boy. Sex vs. golf. No contest.

* Bud Bowl. Thank goodness we didn't have to watch a dozen installments of bottles tilting and clinking.

* Pepsi. Gotta have it. Uh-huh. Pepsi-Cola Co. purchased five minutes of air time, sinking more of its advertising dollars into the Super Bowl than any other sporting event.

* McDonald's. Thousands of teary-eyed mothers will either take their kids to McDonald's today, or let them play pee-wee football.

* Any of the Olympics ads: Especially the Merrill-Lynch speed skaters.

* Reebok. We watched Olympic decathletes Dan O'Brien and Dave Johnson grow up in a delightful series of three 30-second spots in the third quarter that cost the company $2 million.

Don't mess with the Posse

Don't talk trash to them. Don't even looke at them the wrong way.

The Bills' secondary tried intimidating the redskins' receiving corps of Gary Clark, Ricky Sanders and Art Monk. The Posse responded by combining for 15 catches--seven each by Clark and Monk.

"After they would make a good hit, they would stick a finger in your face and kind of stare at you," said Clark, who totaled 114 yards and one touchdown. "I don't even let my mom stare at me, much less let somebody else star at me.

Total no recall

Bills quarterback Jim Kelly's fondest wish was for victory in Super Bowl XXVI. as things turned out, he was granted his second-fondest wish--amnesia.

A tackle by Washington cornerback Martin Marhew, a former Bill, gave Kelly a mild concussion early in the fourth quarter.

"All I remember about the fourth quarter," Kelly said, "is calling plays and not knowing what they were.

"I wish I could remember most of it," Kelly Said, who hesitated and then changed his foggy mind. "Maybe it's a blessing I don't remember most of it."

They said it

* "That 37-24 is misleading. I Thought we hand;ed them better than that." Redskins defensive lineman Charles Mann.

* "I feel humble. I got a lot of credit for alot of things I really didn't do." Redskins coach Joe Gibbs.

* 'It was like Murphy's Law out there, and we could never get Murph to turn it around." Buffalo offensive guard Jim Ritcher.

* "If there's a bigger game than this, come up and tell me about it." Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien.

* "You know it's a bad day when Jim Kelly is your leadin rusher." CBS analyst John Madden.

* "Its an obession that they (Buffalo) must win. They want it so badley it will hurt them." CBS commentator Terry Bradshaw.

Team players

Both offensive lineman Russ Grimm and Linebacker Monty Coleman, in their 11th andd 13th seasons, respectively, have seen their roles reduced in recent years.

Grimm, an original Hog, lost his starting job last season. But he accepted his reducedrole without complaint, and threw devastating blocks in short-yardage situations--like in the second period yesterday, when he exploded off the line and cleared the way for Gerald Riggs' second touchdown.

"At the time, you don't like it much, but you gotta do what you gotta do,' Grimm Said. "Teamwork--plus friendship and camaraderie--kind of outweigh the personal feelings you have about your own situation. Plus, we won. That's what counts.

Redemption

Gerald Riggs, a man the Washington Redskins thought they could do without, capped a season of redemption by scoring two touchdowns.

The scores--on runs of 1 yard and 2 yards--tied a Super Bowl record for most rushing touchdowns in a game and highlighted Riggs' value as a short-yardage runner.

Th man who was released at the end of trining camp and resigned by the Redskins after no other team claimed him had 11 regular-season touchdowns and four in the playoffs before the Super Bowl.

"At the time, the Super Bowl is something I never thought of," Riggs said. "No way I thought this would happen."

"I just wanted to do what I could," said Riggs, who is eighth on the all-time NFL rushing list but was making his first Super Bowl appearance. "This was special."

Joe Gibbs, accidental tourist

The Redskins coach, who sleeps in his office three nights a week, and his wife, Pat, always vacation immediately after the last game of the football season. Gibbs told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: "The first day is always great because when you only see someone warm and soft every four days, it feels great to grab Pat and kiss her. By the second day, I get a little antsy. By the third day, I'm playing racquetball or find someone I know to run with. The fourth day, we fight, and the fifth day, we go home."

Joe Gibbs, talent scout

Gibbs now acknowledges he didn't know what he had when he $$ was a rookie coach 11 years ago.

"Jeff Bostic was a deep snapper and we thought, well, hey, we've got to replace him," Gibbs said. "Who can afford the luxury of a guy who's only a deep snapper? So he goes to the Pro Bowl as center.

"We draft Russ Grimm to play center, but Bostic does it so well we switch Grimm to guard and he becomes a Pro Bowl player. Joe Jacoby was a free agent I tried to run off. We even tried to make a defensive lineman out of him. He winds up being an All-Pro tackle.

"Shows you how much I know."

Just this side of the Simpsons

Bostic said he believes the Hogs, the popular designation of the Redskins offensive line, are a made-for-TV machination.

"It is really kind of amazing when you think about it," said Bostic, a charter Hog.

It bewilders him that there is so much adoration for players whose positions have drawn distain -- when they drew any notice at all.

"We're creations of the TV generation," Bostic said. "With so many cameras, so many close-ups, so much replay, the attention has finally focused on the line. I may be prejudiced, but that's where some great football is played."

The man's a defensive genius

Richie Petitbon, the Washington defensive coach, was asked to describe the kind of message he conveys to his captains in the heat of a tough game.

"I cup my hands," he said, "and shout: 'Stop 'em!' "

Don't give up your day job

Atlanta Falcons coach Jerry Glanville, dressed in black from his boots to his cowboy hat, wandered into the Super Bowl media center Saturday and said he belonged there.

"I'm doing the [live] radio broadcast to England," he said.

Asked if he could sit still that long, he said: "I'll manage. It pays better than coaching."

He's not in it for the money

He came to the Redskins for the money. Yesterday, Wilber Marshall was playing for the smallest paycheck of the season.

The winner's share is $36,000 per player, considerably less than the $70,588 per game Marshall earns as part of the $6 million, five-year contract he signed when he became the most prominent free-agent player in NFL history.

Yesterday, he returned some big dividends. In the first half alone, as the Redskins built a 17-0 lead, Marshall had four solo tackles, two assists, a sack and two forced fumbles.

He's in it for the T-shirts

"We call them knockout shirts," said Washington offensive tackle Jim Lachey. "They have a big 'K-O' on the front. If you block a guy in a game and knock him completely down, you get one from the coaches. But the rule is, the back of the guy's head has to hit the ground first. And all the linemen have to OK it. Some of them are pretty tough graders."

Rating concussions. What a concept. No wonder these guys are so famous. They hit as hard as Tyson and Holyfield, then critique themselves as hard as Siskel and Ebert.

Lachey vs. Smith

Supposedly, it was the game's key blocking matchup, but let's look at the numbers. Lachey has played three games against Smith in their careers. Smith has zero sacks against him. This season, Lachey has allowed zero sacks, period.

In fact, Lachey has not allowed a sack since a playoff game more than a year ago. America was still in Saudi Arabia and Madonna was still dating Warren Beatty.

Winter wonderland

Minneapolis got the big game, but twin city St. Paul came up with the big idea.

It was a 20,000-block, 166-foot-tall Winter Carnival Ice Palace with 12 towers -- the 10-story one in the center representing Boreas Rex, god of winter, the four lower ones around him representing the four winds and the seven around those representing the seven hills of St. Paul.

In daytime, the castle looks green, which is fitting because its ice was cut from Green Lake in Spicer, Minn., which was chosen, according to William E. Rust, the project's primary architect, "for its purity."

Not so pure, however, that the Ice Palace folks weren't willing to accept a $500,000 check from Diet Pepsi to slip a bogus ice block in the mix. It was conjured in some advertising agency icebox out of, we are to presume, your standard tap water. It encases a 20-pound pike frozen in pursuit of a slurp from an open can of "the right one, baby!"

Hello, I must be going

Just before CBS went to a commercial after the Vince Lombardi Trophy was awarded. Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke could be heard asking. "can we go now?"

Let's do it again next year

Super Bowl XXVII will be played in Pasadena, Calif., this time next year and nobody is more excited about that than the 2,985 reporters who spent a week in a sub-zero wind chill.

"There's a lot of interest in our new [$8.5-million] press box," said Greg A. Asbury, general manager of the Rose Bowl.

Then, noting a temperature reading of 15 in Minneapolis, Asbury said: "But there may be even more interest in our weather."

Coming soon to a video store near you

In just 18 days, NFL Films Video and Media Home Entertainment will have the 1991 video yearbooks of the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins available around the country.

The yearbooks will include footage from the Super Bowl and recap the championship seasons of the two teams.

He couldn't find his head if it wasn't attached

Ken Davis started in the backfield for Buffalo because NFL MVP Thurman Thomas couldn't find his helmet and missed two plays.

"Normally, I put my helmet at the end of the bench," Thomas said. "This time somebody moved it and everybody was moving around and didn't know where it was."

It don't mean a thing if you ain't got that ring

Buffalo quarterback Jim Kelly grew up in the shadow of Bradshaw. As a boy in East Brady, Pa., he watched Bradshaw win four Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers and dreamed of triggering an offense with a cannon arm, as his hero did.

And so, it is no surprise that he sought out Bradshaw for a working definition of greatness in a quarterback.

Bradshaw told Kelly: "You've got to win this Super Bowl. Once you win, you've established the legacy."

When Bradshaw talked, Kelly listened. "He was saying that if you have a Super Bowl quarterback up here with a ring, and another quarterback up here with all the stats, which one would you take?" Kelly said. "We won't be considered a great team until we win a Super Bowl."

The Said It

* "You know it's a bad day when Jim Kelly is your leading rusher." CBS analyst John Madden.

* "Jim Kelly is just making terrible decisions. It's just not a good game plan." CBS commentator Terry Bradshaw.

Joe Gibbs, student of American culture

Someone asked him this week what impact the Super Bowl has on American culture. Gibbs laughed and said: "You're asking a phys ed major from San Diego State about football's impact on American culture? Guys hit people in the mouth."

Sam Wyche would make her stand in the hall

After the game, CBS correspondent Lesley Visser became the first woman to serve as host to the presentation of the Vince Lombardi Trophy to the winning team.

This may never come our way again

The Buffalo Bills' level of desperation entering the Super Bowl was based, in part, on the knowledge that the moon and the stars line up this way only once -- and for a short time.

Bradshaw taught that lesson:

"It's very hard to put together this special talent and then see it go as far as it can go and not win a championship," said Bradshaw.

"If you don't win the Super Bowl and you're Buffalo this year, then all of a sudden next year it starts going this way [down]," Bradshaw said. "This team is peaking right now." He mentioned the ages of Jim Kelly, who will be 32 on Feb. 14, and Bruce Smith, who is 28.

"They're right there. Then it starts to slide," Bradshaw said. "You don't put together a Buffalo Bills team -- this won't happen always. The Steelers are a good example. We had those great years and they haven't done it again since."

Little schools make the big time

James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., has never been a candidate for a major bowl game. But it had famous alumni on both teams -- Gary Clark, one of the Redskins' leading receivers, and Scott Norwood, the Bills' kicker.

Two Buffalo wide receivers, Andre Reed and Don Beebe, are from Kutztown (Pa.) and Chadron State (Neb.), respectively.

One of the Redskins' five tight ends, John Brandes, played for Cameron (Okla.).

The North Dakota State product is Buffalo rookie Phil Hansen, the defensive end who logged more time in Bruce Smith's position this year than Smith did.

Everybody talks about the weather

It has been almost a decade since the NFL put its big game on ice. And it might be a decade before the league does it again.

The 1982 Super Bowl was played in 68-degree temperatures under the Pontiac Silverdome roof while the temperature outside was 13 degrees with a wind chill of 21 below.

Detroit and Pontiac, struggling then as now through a recessio in the auto industry, were warmed by the booking of 23,000 hotel rooms and a $61.8 million handle for the week. An estimated 150,000 partygoers braved subzero wind chill temperatures and poured into normally deserted downtown Pontiac streets.

But the players were bored silly.

"There was not diddly-do to do," former Bengals wide receiver Cris Collinsworth said. "It was awful. We literally went through the drive-through at Burger King to hear a girl's voice. I thought we would be kings of Detroit."

Will the NFL go north to football's roots again soon?

"If there is one, I'm sure it will be the year 2002 before it happens," said William McLaughlin, president of the Metropolitan Detroit Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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