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What they're saying

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 23, 2003


The Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play Sunday, but the real action will come after the final gun.

Because if this Super Bowl is anything like these last few weeks of playoffs, something will happen -- a dropped pass called good, an interference call missed -- and the whole thing will be replayed endlessly at painfully slow speeds until you can see conspiracy in the grainy film.

Then the griping will go on and on and on until someone finally does what the state legislator in New Jersey did a few weeks ago: file a lawsuit based on the result of a football game.

We've had an election decided in the Supreme Court. Why not Super Bowl XXXVII in Room 101 of California Superior Court?

Les Carpenter, Seattle Times

* * *

What was Bill Parcells thinking?

What possessed the usually astute Parcells to back out of an agreement to coach Tampa Bay, which routed Philadelphia in the NFC final, but sign on with the Cowboys, for whom .500 would be a great leap forward?

Are the Cowboys sure they got the right man?

Is a coach who passed up a chance to work with players such as Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks all that sharp?

Parcells did not even get the better Stanford pitcher-turned-footballer out of the deal. The Bucs have human missile John Lynch at safety. The Cowboys have human fumble Chad Hutchinson at quarterback.

Gerry Fraley, Dallas Morning News

* * *

Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden has "the look." Oakland coach Bill Callahan has the nonlook.

Gruden's look elicits comparisons to Chucky of horror-movie fame. Callahan could be the Invisible Man.

If you went podium-hopping at media day, you could have eavesdropped on almost any interview session and heard in so many words: "What do you think of Jon Gruden?" The Bucs were asked about their coach. The Raiders were asked about their former coach.

If you stuck around long enough at the same podium, you might have heard a Callahan reference.

Said Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon: "The guy who led us here has been nothing short of stellar."

The guy? He's got a name.

Gruden has a name and a face. And oh how the cameras love that face. They zoom in on his every stare and glare.

The cameras zoom in on Callahan just often enough to remind you he is the Raiders head coach and not some sideline interloper.

John Adams, Knoxville News-Sentinel

* * *

If you have a problem with Keyshawn Johnson, you have a problem with yourself. -- Keyshawn Johnson

Well, there you go. That answers it. All this time, I've been wondering what the problem is, and now I know. It's me. I have a problem with myself. Oh, Keyshawn, if only you had told me sooner. The therapy I could have saved!

Johnson uttered this mother of all statements just a few days ago, here at Super Bowl XXXVII. It was so priceless, so amazingly brazen, that at first I thought he was misquoted.

Then, the next day, he said it again.

"Most people are flat-out jealous. That's just how it is," he told us all at the morning press gathering. "If you couldn't be a certain way in your career ... you walk around bitter.

"That's why I say. If you have a problem with Keyshawn Johnson, you have a problem with yourself. You need to do some soul searching."

Wow. Give me a sec.

I'm having a Dr. Phil moment here.

Ahh. I feel purged. No longer do I need to cast doubt on Keyshawn Johnson. No longer do I need to wonder why a seven-year receiver who has never elevated his team, who has never won a championship, and who, in the 2001 season, caught exactly one touchdown pass, walks around like the peacock with the first-place ribbon.

Now I know. It's me. I am inwardly tortured.

Just throw me the damn Freud.

Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press

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