Turn off TV: Brown plays in big game
After 15 fruitless years, the ex-UF lineman makes his first Super Bowl with the Giants.
|[Times photo: Bill Serne]
Giants tackle Lomas Brown enjoys the final minutes of Sunday's game vs. the Vikings.
By RICK STROUD
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 17, 2001
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Lomas Brown knows exactly how to prepare for a Super Bowl.
"I'm telling you, I've got the routine down," Brown said. "I've been doing this for 15 years."
First, the 37-year-old tackle, who was injured and had the wind knocked out of him in the Giants' 41-0 win in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, will give his ribs special treatment. Then he will devise a game plan the night before. Like any good offensive lineman, you have to stay on your block and bring something to the party.
"I'm like everybody else. The night before, you go do your shopping. You get your brew and all that stuff," Brown said. "Sunday, you get up and cook, you ice the beer and call your friends over.
"We normally barbecue and do the ribs. A little baked beans, potato salad. I go a little soul-food style. It's a big gathering. We usually have a lot of people over, watch the game and just enjoy the evening. Then you get to see all the commercials, that's when all the new commercials come out. The new sitcoms, they always appear after the Super Bowl, right? Because they've got so many people watching."
Brown knows Super Bowls inside out. But only from the outside looking in.
Despite playing for his fourth team (Detroit, Arizona, Cleveland and the Giants) and the third in as many seasons during a distinguished 15-year career, Super Bowl XXXV will be the first Brown participates in.
The Lions previously got Brown closest to the Super Bowl, losing 41-10 to the Redskins in the '91 NFC Championship Game.
"It was horrible," Brown said. "It was so horrible. It wouldn't (have) been as bad, but they blew us out. You had a whole bunch of time to sit there and reflect on what went wrong."
Brown was in a reflective moon Sunday but for a different reason.
Many NFL insiders said there was no time on his meter when the Giants signed him to add stability and experience to a suspect offensive line.
Sunday, Brown nearly didn't get to enjoy the Giants victory. Late in the second quarter, he bruised his ribs and was taken to the locker room for treatment before halftime.
"I was in a lot of pain," Brown said. "When I first did it, I couldn't breathe out there on the field and doc said that was normal when you hurt like that. ... "Me and coach (Jim Fassel), we really didn't get into it, but he wanted to pull me and not let me back in the game. I basically told coach, "Look, this is the biggest game I've ever been in.' And I wanted this game. I wanted to play and there was no way I was coming out of the game. His last words to me was "be smart.'
"You don't get too many opportunities like this. I wanted to take advantage of it and savor every moment, every minute, every second of that clock and I was able to."
Ironically, Brown said the Giants turnaround began after their loss to the Lions, Brown's original team.
New York was 7-4, losing two in a row, when Fassel made his hyped guarantee that the Giants would be in the playoffs, taking the pressure off his players and galvanizing the team.
"That loss to the Lions turned the season around," Brown said. "We came together as a team. That's what we are, a team. That's how we beat people and that's how we're going to continue to beat people. We're going to have to do it as a team."
As the final seconds wound down in Sunday's NFC title game, Brown slowly walked off Giants Stadium, pausing to listen to the sellout crowd chant his name. He thought about what it would be like to go to his first Super Bowl, in Tampa, no less, a 90-minute drive from where he played his college ball at Florida. But Brown wouldn't let the emotions get the best of him.
"I started welling up a little bit, but I said to myself, "Man, the journey isn't complete yet,' " Brown said. "We've got to win. After we win, I just know I've got so much emotion in me, I know it's going to come out. But I want it to come out when we finally win the Super Bowl. It's great to get there, but I heard it's such an empty feeling if you don't win it. I want to win it.
"I'm just so happy the Giants trusted me. I'm so happy they brought me here; it's almost like a dream come true. All I've got to do is win one more game and I can write the ending to this story."
The real Super Bowl party is about to begin.
"Until now, I've been just like a normal guy because I've never had the opportunity," Brown said. "Now I don't have to be like every other guy. All these millions and millions of people can sit back and watch us play now."
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