St. Petersburg Times: Super Bowl XXXV
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Super Bowl XXXV Tampa, Florida 2001
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  • The Road to Super Bowl XXXV

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    Dixon hopes team can count on him

    By ROGER MILLS

    © St. Petersburg Times, published January 24, 2001


    photo
    [Times photo: James Borchuck]
    Ron Dixon, right, might keep $50 that he found on the street ("a blessing"), but $5,000? No way.
    A third-round draft pick out of Lambuth University (Tenn.), Wildwood native Ron Dixon has had an eventful rookie year, which culminated in his breathtaking 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Eagles in the NFC divisional playoffs. Here he sounds off.

    RM: Things are pretty good right now, aren't they?

    RD: Everything is going great, especially since we're in the Super Bowl. I've gone from the toilet bowl to the Super Bowl. That's going to be the name of my book, From the Toilet Bowl to the Super Bowl.

    RM: People say you predicted that return. Is that true?

    RD: Before the kick, I was telling the guys, "Look, I feel something special is about to happen." They usually try to give me a kill shot, you know, an enormous hole. But I told them just give me a little gap and I would slide right through them and we'll be out and we'll celebrate in the end zone. As we came in, I saw the crowd and realized that if we could take this kick back right now, it would break their spirits, or something like that. I was able to capitalize.

    RM: For Bucs fans who are starved for a kickoff return for a touchdown, what's the key?

    RD: I'm a shifty guy, a left-to-right type of guy. But, you have to pick out a spot and hit it and go straight. RM: Are you aware that the Bucs have never returned a kickoff?

    RD: I think that's very unfortunate. I think they could use a few more Ron Dixons down here. You know I'm from Wildwood.

    RM: Tell me a reasonably big mistake you made in life. RD: I almost missed out on the Super Bowl by not being the type of person I should have been in the classroom. I was just dumb. I had the ability to do a lot of things, and by not doing the work I should have done it could all have been wasted.

    RM: So, you're walking down the street and step on a $5 bill. Do you pick it up?

    RD: It depends on who's around us.

    RM: You're alone.

    RD: Of course, that's a bonus.

    RM: $50?

    RD: I would pick it up, that's a blessing.

    RM: $500?

    RD: A blessing!

    RM: $5,000?

    RD: Oh wait now, that's different. Man, $5,000 in a brown bag or a briefcase, you know somebody is looking for it. That's a lot of money. If it's $50 that's one thing, you're okay losing $50, but $5,000?

    RM: Should scalping be legal?

    RD: Yes, but whatever the ticket is going for, I think there should be a certain percentage that (scalpers) can't go over.

    RM: What's that percentage?

    RD: I don't know. I don't make the laws. It's whatever the government thinks, I guess. But, if it comes down to the last minute and someone doesn't have one and wants yours, you should be able to make a little gain on them for just being late.

    RM: Some say if you could sell your house for whatever price, then you should be able to sell a ticket for whatever price. You buy that?

    RD: I think so. That's a house. The house is going to continue to go up in value, a ticket won't after the game. The ticket has no more value.

    RM: Was the touchdown return the best moment of your life?

    RD: The best moment was getting drafted and then capitalizing (on the chance) and learning. The return was icing on the cake.

    RM: And the worst moment?

    RD: Missing practice. I felt sick. You want to be able to feel dependable. You want to be able to make people think that whatever situation happens, that they can count on you. But, by doing what I did, that showed them that maybe I couldn't be counted on, that I was not depenable and I didn't like that.

    RM: Is dependability the essence of professional sports?

    RD: I think so. You can come and go through the motions and get a paycheck. But, if you're dependable, you'll go out of your way to make your teammates better and do whatever you can to make most things possible.

    RM: What are you scared of?

    RD: I'm scared of going to hell. Hell is a horrible place. Opinions vary but for me it's this place that would be nothing like heaven.

    RM: Okay, so what's heaven like?

    RD: Pure bliss.

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