St. Petersburg Times: Super Bowl XXXV
St. Petesburg Times
Super Bowl XXXV Tampa, Florida 2001
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    What they’re saying

    By Times staff writer

    © St. Petersburg Times, published January 19, 2001


    Scene from a classroom, Anywhere, USA:

    "Okay, class, who knows where the Super Bowl will be played a week from Sunday?"

    "I know, I know. I heard it on TV. It will be played in Tampa Bay!"

    Get it straight, people: Warren Sapp and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play their home games in Tampa, Fla. I'm afraid that we are raising a generation of schoolchildren who believe they should get full credit for such an answer. And that we have a generation of teachers and other adults who will be all too willing to extend full credit for such an answer.

    That's because it seems that the NFL and, to a lesser degree, the NHL and major-league baseball, have succeeded in convincing sports fans of North America that the city in which the Super Bowl will be played is named Tampa Bay.

    Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, check your maps. The name of the city in question is Tampa. T-A-M-P-A. Tampa.

    Do you see that body of water (it's colored blue on the map) to the west and south of the city of Tampa and east of the St. Petersburg peninsula? THAT'S TAMPA BAY! Tampa Bay is a body of water.

    As time goes by and the region's teams have become more widely known, Tampa Bay Syndrome has crept into the wider world. A couple of months ago, when making an airline reservation over the phone, I told the agent that I wished to book a round trip between New York and Tampa. "New York and Tampa Bay, right?' responded the over-the-top bubbly yet geographically challenged agent. Well, er, no, actually I'm not looking forward to the "event of a water landing."

    -- Steve Hirdt, ESPN.com

    * * *

    In New York now, they refer to it simply as The Guarantee

    It wasn't nearly as bold as the one another New Yorker, Joe Willie Namath, made 32 years ago when he guaranteed the football world his AFL-upstart Jets would thump the double-digit-favorite Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. But coming from a mild-mannered, one-game-at-a-time football coach such as Jim Fassel, it was pretty powerful stuff.

    In his four seasons as the Giants' head coach, Fassel never was confused with Knute Rockne. Or even Bill Cowher.

    The New York media dubbed him Mr. Rogers, partly because he was partial to sweaters, but mostly because of his even temperament. Fire-and-brimstone speeches weren't his specialty. Can you say playoffs, boys and girls?

    Two days (after a loss to Detroit), he stood in front of the media and made The Guarantee. Repeated it that same day to his players. Told them the attitude around Giants Stadium was going to change.

    It did.

    -- Paul Domowitch, Philadelphia Daily News

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