By BRUCE LOWITT, Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 18, 2001
Parker gets fifth shot at winning big game
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- When the Buffalo Bills lost their third successive Super Bowl, right defensive end Glenn Parker thought he'd never get a shot at a fourth one.
Jan. 28 will be his fifth -- and the first one with the Giants, the team that beat the Bills in Super Bowl XXV in Tampa.
Buffalo made Super Bowl XXVII as a wild-card team and was trounced 52-17 by Dallas. The team wasn't as strong as it had been in previous seasons, Parker said of those Bills, and he imagined things would only get worse.
But Buffalo rallied the next season, won the AFC East and the conference championship, only to beaten again by Dallas, 30-13 in Super Bowl XXVIII.
The best-remembered (in Tampa Bay, anyway) was the 20-19 loss to the Giants, when Scott Norwood's field-goal attempt with four seconds left sailed wide right.
"I thought it had a chance because Scott was a guy that naturally kicked them right to left," Parker said Wednesday after the Giants' first practice since the 41-0 NFC Championship Game victory over Minnesota. "We were thinking 'hook' and it just never did. Had it hooked at all, it would have gone through.
"It's come back to me, the whole full-circle thing," Parker said. "I'm hoping it's not full circle; I'm hoping it's almost full circle, 'cause full circle would be another loss by a field goal and I don't want that."
AND YOUR NAME IS ... ?: Giants Stadium is one of 10 NFL stadiums without a commercial name. It may not be that way much longer.
The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority is considering a $200-million plan to make improvements to the stadium and Giants co-owner Bob Tisch said once the plan has been approved and completed the team likely would sign a lease extension and amend it to permit the selling of naming rights to the stadium.
PICTURE THIS: New Jersey native Tony Siragusa, a Ravens defensive tackle and resident of Florham Park, N.J., and Giants defensive end Michael Strahan, who lives in nearby Montclair, N.J., have been good friends since meeting two years ago at several charity functions.
The day after the conference championships they were at Tiffany's, a restaurant owned by the Siragusa family in Pine Brook, N.J., where they each nibbled on the end of a football, arm-wrestled and gritted their teeth with their heads together while a Sports Illustrated photographer snapped away, taking what could be the magazine's Super Bowl cover photo.
PLAN B: If Ravens defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis leaves for a head-coaching job, coach Brian Billick would promote linebackers coach Jack Del Rio to take charge of the NFL's premier defense.
"We have a structure in place, and Jack is the guy," Billick said. "We'll elevate Jack if that comes."
Del Rio, 37, in his second year with the Ravens, was the Saints linebackers coach in 1998 and their assistant strength and conditioning coach in 1997.
An 11-year veteran linebacker in the NFL, Del Rio starred for the Saints, Chiefs, Cowboys and Vikings from 1985-94. During Del Rio's four seasons with the Vikings (1992-95), Billick was an offensive assistant coach.
"The minute I took the linebacker job, I was preparing for the next step," Del Rio said. "I've been looking forward to the opportunity, but I'm not consumed with it."
SUPER TICKETS FOR A HERO: An off-duty New York City firefighter who saved a man's life at Sunday's NFC title game will be heading to Raymond James Stadium to see his Giants meet the Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV, a reward for a job well done.
James Slevin, 28, became a hero at Giants Stadium when he dashed from his seat and used his training to help a man in trouble nearby, according to the New York Post.
"Right after the Giants scored their first touchdown, there was a gentleman in the row in front of us who was screaming for his friend, 'Get help, get help!' said Slevin, a five-year fire department veteran who was honored at a New York City Hall ceremony by Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
"So I immediately rushed over to him."
The fan had suffered a heart attack.
Giuliani praised Slevin's "selfless actions" as "the very best we have to offer."
The firefighter was treated to an all-expenses paid Super Bowl trip by officials at Modell's Sporting Goods.
Giants coach Jim Fassel also sent Slevin an autographed football, with a message reading: "To James: You're a real giant, and a real hero."