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Hallowed be thy Raider QB

By GREG AUMAN and Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 26, 2003

The Bucs know they won't be facing the Sisters of the Poor today. But a majority of the Sisters of the Poor won't be cheering for them, either. "I'm part of the Raider Nation," said Sister Kathleen Gannon, a nun in Berkeley, Calif., whose nephew, Rich, is Oakland's starting quarterback. "When Rich first came out here to the Raiders, I said, "Rich, they have a very bad reputation,"' she said. "But he said, "Aunt Kath, I know that's their reputation. But if you talk to the guys, they have a very deep spirituality."' That was good enough for the silver-haired Sister Gannon, now a devoted Raider fan. When she's not doing her work for the Catholic church, she goes to every home game she can and plans to attend today's game: "I whoop and holler (at games). I never pray for them to win. I'm hopeful that they win. But I do pray that no one is hurt."


Sometimes, in order to get to the railing surrounding the field, Sister Gannon must venture into the Black Hole, where rowdy, beer-swilling Raider fans are squashed shoulder to spiked shoulder. "We went in there once to lift (Gannon's daughters) over the gate to Rich," Sister Gannon said. "I have the same eyes as Rich, and I think the people noticed that. The guys in the front with the big masks said, "Family first! Family first!' and held everyone back. It parted like the waters."

3,000 MILES AWAY ...

Some New York executives are in San Diego talking up the idea of holding the Super Bowl in the Big Apple. Presumably, they haven't mentioned the weather. The last time it was above freezing was Jan. 13, and temperatures are in single digits on most days. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue supports the idea. And the Super Bowl committee is composed of: Kate Blackburn of Cincinnati, Lamar Hunt of Kansas City, Mike McCaskey of Chicago, Art Rooney II of Pittsburgh, Ralph Wilson of Buffalo and Jim Irsay of Indianapolis. Not a warm weather site among them.


There are nearly 7,000 Super Bowl-related items up for bid at auction site Oakland's Bill Callahan has 15 items up for bid, including a bobblehead that makes him look like Al Gore. Jon Gruden has about 100 more items, buoyed in part by those unavoidable Chucky dolls. His preparation for today, however, has been marred by ... incriminating photos. A seller is offering a 1986 Dayton yearbook, which commemorates Gruden's senior season as a quarterback. The seller is kind enough to include a scan of the team picture, which shows a very unChucky-like ear-to-ear smile on the face of a familiarly freckled quarterback in a No. 10 jersey. The bidding starts at $20, and the seller allays many fears by noting the yearbook has "no stains or odors."


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90: Days after the Super Bowl until the draft.

190: Days after the Super Bowl until the first preseason game of 2003.

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