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NFL adds incentives for fans to go online

By GREG AUMAN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 26, 2003


SAN DIEGO -- Hoping to complement the game-day experience with online activities,superbowl.com has a busy day planned before and during Super Bowl XXXVII.

NFL Films helped last week, with daily 90-minute video shows for the official site. Fans can check out the stadium public address and press box feeds, or international audio broadcasts in seven other languages, including Portuguese and Russian.

All postgame news conferences will be on the site, and former Cowboys executive Gil Brandt and NFL.com analyst Pat Kirwan will participate in an audio chat during the game. Video highlights will be available after the game.

For the third year in a row, fans can vote online during the fourth quarter to help decide the Super Bowl MVP. The online tally counts 20 percent toward the MVP selection, and the popular vote helped Patriots quarterback Tom Brady win a Cadillac Escalade after New England's victory last year. Brady drew four votes from a media panel, fewer than kicker Adam Vinatieri (five) and cornerback Ty Law (5.5), but the four votes that come with carrying the online vote pushed him ahead of both.

Fans also can vote on which Cadillac the MVP will choose, and one fan who gets both car and driver correct will win a trip to next year's game in Houston. The favorite is the 2004 Cadillac XLR, a new sports coupe that starts around $75,000.

MORE THAN THE GAME: The most anticipated fun in tonight's game is the commercials, and superbowl-ads.com has previews of many of the 30-second spots. Among the ones that sound most promising: movie trailers for summer blockbusters such as The Hulk and Terminator 3, and a Hanes ad that pairs Michael Jordan and Jackie Chan.

The site invites fans to vote for their favorite ads after the game -- last year's Super Bowl drew 125,000 votes.

RUNNING FREE: The irreverent madblast.com, which offers intriguingly close-cropped nude photos in a game called "The A-- or Elbow Quiz," also has a fun interactive (and PG) game called "The Streaker."

It's based on electronic football games during which you move a dot through oncoming tacklers to try to score a touchdown, only you've had a case of beer and are streaking across the field. I could not get the guy closer than the 15-yard line in three tries on my laptop, but a real mouse might work better than the little rubber-doohickey-in-the-keypad thing.

SUPER BOWL TID-BYTES: Another guy to add to the list of people Keyshawn Johnson might not be talking to is ABC's Jimmy Kimmel, whose late-night talk show debuts tonight. ESPN.com's Bill "The Sports Guy" Simmons, a writer on Kimmel's show, had a laid-back Q&A with Kimmel, who offered up Johnson in response to the question: "Who's the biggest celebrity (expletive)?" Kimmel said Johnson "wasn't exactly a barrel of laughs" when he shot a piece with the receiver last week. More of Keyshawn not getting any love: NFL.com Saturday asked which receiver would have the biggest impact. Johnson finished fourth at 15.6 percent, just behind teammate Joe Jurevicius and well behind Oakland's Jerry Rice (34 percent) and Jerry Porter (21) ... Looking ahead, next year's Super Bowl in Houston has an official site, superbowlxxxviii.org. Most of the links are in check-back-later mode, but there's good information on Reliant Stadium and a prominent link for "minority business," promising NFL and local efforts to bring more minority- and female-owned businesses to the Houston area in the next year.

-- If you have a question or comment about the Internet or a site to suggest, e-mail staff writer Greg Auman at auman@sptimes.com .

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