Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 26, 2003
First off, you can't ignore the Jon Gruden factor. It's a great story. Then there's the matchup of the No. 1 offense against the No. 1 defense. Both teams really peaked at the end of the season. The Raiders played great football down the stretch and looked good in their two postseason games. The Bucs took a stumble against the Steelers on Monday Night Football in Week 16, but they rebounded and clearly looked good in both postseason games.
There is a sharp contrast in the history of both teams. I would rank the Raiders up there with the Cowboys, 49ers, Packers and the Bears we used to know in terms of national following. People around the country gravitate to the Raiders.
Meanwhile, the Bucs didn't have much success until Tony Dungy arrived in Tampa. Over the past several years, they've been in the playoffs so often and played so many big games that fans have gotten to know the players. They are very quotable, funny and intelligent guys who are able to captivate a crowd. Players like Warren Sapp, Keyshawn Johnson, John Lynch and Derrick Brooks get a lot of attention. Even Mike Alstott, who is a quiet guy, has a very distinct style that people love. The Bucs probably have as many recognizable players as any team in the league.
Don't expect the week's festivities to be a problem. The players have seen how the Super Bowl has evolved over the years. They have become very savvy in their preparation. Coaches know more about how to bring a team into a game like this than they did 20 or 25 years ago. And they all give similar advice -- this is the way it's going to be . . . here's what we have to do . . . just remember you are here to play a game and try to minimize the distractions.
Everyone comes into a situation like this expecting that there will be some distractions, and you learn how to deal with them. I know it's a funny thing to say, but the key is not to let the distractions distract you. If you don't let that happen, you'll be fine. All that and it should be a 75-degree day, perfect Southern California weather. A perfect day. The only thing we could also ask for is triple overtime. For the way our Monday Night Football schedule turned out this year, we're owed a triple-overtime game.
-- Source ABCsports.com
Back to the Super Bowl XXXVII
Super Bowl XXXVII:
They've arrived and so have we
Defense snarls as its potential legend awaits
For Raiders, there's no more holding back
Bucs coach has been intense all of his life
Ernest Hooper: Their faith suffuses champions breakfast
Keys to victory
Bucs: Offense: No. 1 vs. emerging force
So who's laughing now?
Sideline II: Who's going . . .
Raiders: Raiders D knows it can do the job
Times staff predictions
Kickin' back: A Glazer's vision: 'an elite franchise'
Chucky's Super Bowl XXXVII Chalk Talk
Return from nowhere: Bucs tracking 'anonymous' return men
Raiders: Raiders don't use injuries as excuse
Age-old question will be answered tonight
Notebook: Ballroom practice keeps team on toes
Bucs game by game 200
Raiders game by game 2002
Side line: Hallowed be thy Raider QB
In brief: Two-week break to return next season
Tampa Bay fans: Long-denied shout their pride
Past Super Bowls
Raiders notebook: Woodson says injury won't slow him down
Raiders: Keys to victory
Raiders: Weird stuff
Raiders: High profile: Jerry Porter
Radio/TV: Super Bowl TV facts
Radio/TV: Madden sticks by his wrong call last year
Guest analysis: John Madden
Guest analyst: Al Michaels
Super Bowl Need to Know
Previous Super Bowl national anthem singers
On the Net: NFL adds incentives for fans to go online
Super Bowl QB is with Bucs ... now