From A to Z
By BRUCE LOWITT
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 21, 2001
A is for American Football League: It was the fourth AFL, and the first in 20 years, to challenge the NFL and survive more than two seasons. It was born in 1960, a child of network TV, nurtured by ABC and given muscle by NBC.
B is for Buccaneers: They never have been to a Super Bowl, except as spectators. This year was supposed to remedy that.
C is for Catch, The: If Joe Montana doesn't run to his right and throw a pass off the wrong foot, if Dwight Clark doesn't leap in the end zone and grab the seemingly uncatchable ball, the Cowboys go to Super Bowl XVI, the 49ers don't, and Montana doesn't become a legend. Well, okay, he still does, just a little later.
D is for Dollars: CBS and NBC each paid a million for the right to televise Super Bowl I. This year, 30 seconds of commercial time during the Super Bowl XXXV telecast cost more than $2-million.
E is for Eight: That's how many years there were between John Elway's third Super Bowl loss and his first win -- and then he won it again the next year.
F is for Florida Orchestra: It backed Whitney Houston when she sang (or, more accurately, lip-synched) the national anthem at Super Bowl XXV and received royalties of about $100,000 when it became a popular recording and video.
G is for Georgia Frontiere: She owns the Rams, last year's Super Bowl champions. H is for Home Field: No team has played a Super Bowl at home. I is for Ice Bowl: If Bart Starr doesn't sneak 1 yard into the end zone to beat Dallas in 13-below-zero temperature at Green Bay on New York's Eve in 1967, the Packers don't go to Super Bowl II and maybe Vince Lombardi doesn't become a legend. Okay, maybe he does. Probably. Definitely.
J is for January: This Super Bowl, like the 34 others, will be played in the first month. Super Bowl XXXVIII is scheduled for Feb. 1, 2004, in Houston.
K is for Kevin Dyson: One more step, the Tennessee pass-catcher would have scored, and we probably would have had our first Super Bowl overtime.
L is for Lee Roy Selmon: Twice the Bucs got within one win of a Super Bowl. If Warren Sapp was the force behind their drive to the NFC Championship Game a season ago, Selmon was the reason they came within a win of Super Bowl XIV.
M is for Max McGee: He partied deep into the night on the eve of the inaugural Super Bowl. Then Boyd Dowler got hurt six plays into the game and McGee was told to get in there. He caught seven passes that day, two for touchdowns (including the Super Bowl's first). McGee was the prototype for every player who ever beat a bed check.
N is for Norwood, Scott: "Wide right" isn't the sole property of Florida State. Just ask Buffalo. O is for Oakland: The Raiders were the last AFL team to lose a Super Bowl. Somebody had to be. But consider this: The Jets beat them 27-23 in the 1968 AFL Championship Game the following season and went on to win Super Bowl III. If Oakland had beaten the Jets, how would we remember Joe Namath?
P is for Philadelphia: The Eagles and their coach, Dick Vermeil, arrived in New Orleans for Super Bowl XV about as tightly wound as a team could be. They had endless practices and serious bed checks while the Raiders were, well, the Raiders. Their best pregame routes ended in the French Quarter. Then Oakland whacked Philly 27-10. So much for clean living.
Q is for Quarterback: Just in case you'd forgotten who's supposed to be the star of the Super Bowl, of the 34 Most Valuable Players, 18 have been quarterbacksSecond: seven running backs. .
R is for Rams and Raiders: They're the only teams to represent two cities (Los Angeles and St. Louis, Los Angeles and Oakland) in the Super Bowl.
S is for Safeties: There have been five -- by Dwight White and Reggie Harrison (Steelers), Henry Waechter (Bears), George Martin (Giants) and Bruce Smith (Bills).
T is for Tampa Bay: This is the third Super Bowl here. We had a snoozer (XVIII: Raiders 38, Redskins 9) and a thriller (XXV: Giants 20, Bills 19) at the old Tampa Stadium.
U is for United States Football League: Chuck Fusina, a barely used backup Buc from 1979-81, quarterbacked the USFL's Philadelphia Stars to a 23-3 win over the Arizona Wranglers July 15, 1984, at Tampa Stadium. It came 25 weeks after Super Bowl XXV and made Tampa Bay the only community to host two pro football championships in the same year.
V is for Vermeil: Years between Super Bowls by a coach, 19 (Eagles in Super Bowl XV, Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV).
W is for White, Reggie: He had a Super Bowl-record three sacks for the Packers in Super Bowl XXXI. X is for Super Bowl
X: It was Pittsburgh's second consecutive victory, 21-17 over Dallas, built on two Terry Bradshaw touchdown passes, the last a 64-yarder to Lynn Swann with 3:02 to play.
Y is for Young, Steve: He threw six Super Bowl touchdown passes in one game, Super Bowl XXIX.
Z is for Zero: We're still waiting for the first Super Bowl shutout. The closest we've come: not Dallas beating Miami 24-3 in Super Bowl VI (the Dolphins got their points in the second quarter) but Miami's 14-7 against Washington the following year. If kicker Garo Yepremian doesn't try to pass a botched field-goal attempt, Mike Bass doesn't pick it out of the air and run for the Redskins' touchdown with 2:07 to play.
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