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What they're saying

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 18, 2001

Personally I don't see what this Super Bowl fuss is all about, you know this business where you have to stay 6 feet away from strippers in Tampa. My wife has a similar rule, so it's not like it's anything new to me.

But apparently there are a lot of people upset, including a pair of Dallas Stars hockey players who recently spent time in the city's penalty box after crossing the blue line at Mons Venus ... It's going to be my job, of course, starting next Wednesday when Mons Venus remains open 24 hours a day, to be there all the time in case someone like Trent Dilfer gets busted.

T.J. Simers, Los Angeles Times

* * *

This is the best time. The first time. The time when there are no expectations, no memories against which to measure the moment. The time when everyone can see what is happening and share in it, yet no one can quite believe it.

A time like no other.

Baltimore first experienced it with the Colts in 1958, then again with the Orioles in 1966 -- hallowed years in a city that treasures its sporting past, years whose very mention evoke indelible images of unforeseen triumphs, now recalled in black and white. Alan Ameche bulling into the end zone. Brooks Robinson leaping high with joy.

Now, out of nowhere, it's happening again. The Ravens are heading to the Super Bowl for the first time, a relatively new team forging a new set of indelible images, their improbable success casting a summery light amid January's gloom and chill. It wasn't supposed to happen, but it did. And it will never feel this good again.

No matter how often the Ravens make it back to the Super Bowl, no matter how many titles they win, they will always have done it before. The element of surprise -- make that shock -- won't compare. Nor can the joy in realizing that a dream you thought was impossible is, in fact, realistic.

John Eisenberg, Baltimore Sun

* * *

The telephone system at Giants Stadium is on the verge of a meltdown. Voice mailboxes for coaches, team officials and support staff are overloaded and can't accept any more congratulatory calls or can-you-hook-me-up-with-ticket requests ... that is, if the calls even go through

Outside, fans are marching to the ticket office window by the dozens and paying for Super Bowl tickets they have won in the computerized lottery among season-ticket holders. Others -- the guy with the NYGIANTS1 license plate, for instance, who wanted to rent his car to the team for "whatever you might want to use it for" -- are calling and calling and calling. Carolyn Kuhl, the receptionist and first line of defense, is hitting buttons and reciting the mantra of the day:

"Football Giants, please hold. Football Giants, please hold. Football Giants, please hold."

Meanwhile, down the hall, with the fireworks of the football world exploding around them, Giants players -- some with wives or girlfriends, some with toddlers on their laps -- were being briefed on the Super Bowl XXXV itinerary.

And they were being warned: In Tampa, it will get crazier.

Kevin Manahan, Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger

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