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What they're saying

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 20, 2001

I couldn't agree the Ravens and Giants are "weak" teams, in that, combined, they have won 17 straight games entering the 35th Super Bowl a week from Sunday.

Neither team has redeemed a coupon to get to Tampa or inherited the trip from a great-uncle. Neither is where it is via some symphony of luck and happenstance. Both have reached Superdom quite impressively. In 10 NFL playoff games this season, by a quirk, winners have outscored losers 258-90. The Giants and Ravens have outscored their playoff foes by 122-26.

They ain't backin' in, folks. They are arriving as subtly as a brick through a plate glass window.

Greg Cote, Miami Herald

* * *

After Kerry Collins washed out in Carolina and New Orleans, Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi turned to Joe Paterno and other sources at Penn State, where Accorsi had once worked in sports information.

"We grew up in the same area, and when Kerry knew how good DiAngelo's pizza was, I knew we were in good shape," Accorsi said.

Don Pierson, Chicago Tribune

* * *

Jim Fassel's guarantee is guaranteed to grow into legend if his New York Giants win the Super Bowl. Fassel will join the Jets' Joe Namath in sporting lore, even though the coach made no mention of a Super Bowl.

By the time this is finished, Fassel could join Babe Ruth pointing to the Wrigley Field bleachers. Already, he is Willis Reed limping onto the court to inspire his New York Knicks.

Fassel's Nov. 22 prediction that his 7-4 team would rebound from consecutive losses and make the playoffs grabbed the attention of a city so spoiled by the success of its teams that only guarantees shake the atmosphere.

In a rambling statement, Fassel instructed the media that day: "Get off my coaches' backs. Get off the players' backs. I'm responsible for the whole thing. ... If you've got the cross hairs, if you've got the laser, you can put it right on my chest. ... This team is going to the playoffs."

The Giants haven't lost since.

Don Pierson, Chicago Tribune

* * *

(Shannon) Sharpe is the tight end with the loose lips. Thursday, a horde of reporters descended on the Ravens practice facility looking for a sound bite. Naturally, they went looking for Sharpe, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound episode of Talk Back Live.

"Go look at the sideline tapes of the Tennessee game," Ravens kicker Matt Stover said. "That'll speak for itself."

Here's what's on the tapes: As the Ravens' AFC divisional playoff win over Tennessee at the Titans' Adelphia Coliseum wound down, Sharpe started shouting at the disappointed Tennessee fans leaving the stadium.

"We foreclosed! This is our house," Sharpe roared. "We've got two home fields: PSINet and Adelphia Coliseum ... if you want to win, come to Adelphia."

The next week, he dissed Raider fans by saying he'd rather spend a day in jail than play a game in Oakland's Network Associates Coliseum and its notorious fans in the "Black Hole." Then he made the play of the game, a 96-yard touchdown reception.

Ken Sugiura, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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