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

    printer version

    If Giants are feeling blue, that’s the sign of a winner

    [Times photo: Jim Damaske]
    Jim Kelly signs autographs at the NFL Charities Super Bowl Golf Classic at the Westin Innisbrook Resort.

    By JOHN C. COTEY, SCOTT PURKS, CHRISTOPHER GOFFARD, PETE YOUNG, BRIAN LANDMAN and AMY ABBOTT

    © St. Petersburg Times, published January 26, 2001


    The Giants' royal blue-dominated uniforms will give them enough of a psychological boost to defeat the Ravens, said Samuelle Easton, president of a New York City color psychology firm.

    "The blue is energetic, and I think the Giants will play that way," said Easton, who has correctly predicted the winner of the past four Super Bowls even though she doesn't follow football. "The blue gives them the feeling of unity -- one force."

    Oddsmakers disagree, although their prediction -- Baltimore by three points -- has more to do with the Ravens' record-setting defense.

    The Giants also wore their royal blue home jerseys in the 1991 Super Bowl when they beat Buffalo.

    The Ravens will wear their road white uniforms with purple numbers and gold trim.

    "There's an inconsistency with the Ravens and the color of their uniforms," Easton said. "It's disjointed and doesn't reflect anything."

    The Survivor

    Wilson Sanchez won four free tickets to the Super Bowl this week, but he did have to work for them.

    Sanchez, 26, had to win a trivia contest, get his name drawn out of a hat and defeat three other contestants in competitions at the NFL Experience, the interactive football circus on 20 acres north of Raymond James Stadium.

    The competition included The NFL Training Camp (obstacle course), Halfback Option (take a handoff and run through the read-and-react obstacles before throwing a pass at a target), Down and Out (run a pass route in a certain time and catch a pass), and Quarterback Challenge (throwing to targets).

    Sanchez led by only two points heading into the final event, the quarterback challenge, which he won to seal victory.

    Ditka plus Ford equals ... Arena football?

    The Arena Football League might have squandered a golden opportunity to showcase itself by scrapping plans for an all-star game this week, but it still is making its presence felt.

    Thursday afternoon, the league held back-to-back news conferences (with a five-minute break between them to change the backdrop banners) to announce a new sponsor (Ford) and new owner (Mike Ditka).

    The commonality, commissioner C. David Baker said, was toughness, which he said is perfect for the AFL and its style. Baker took a few veiled shots at the XFL, stressing that his league has had a no fair-catch rule, has two-way players and players often are slammed into walls.

    Though no figures were released regarding the AFL-Ford partnership, Tampa Bay Storm media relations director Andy Lopusnak said he was told it was worth $17-million.

    Ditka, the former Bears and Saints coach, joined the Chicago Rush ownership group. The Rush begin play this season.

    Qadry Ismail wins video showdown

    Not only did Baltimore's Qadry Ismail beat New York's Jason Sehorn 14-12 in the 989 Sports "Game Before The Game" on PlayStation2 Thursday night, he did it in style -- catching a 61-yard touchdown pass from Trent Dilfer for the opening score of the NFL GameDay 2001 showdown. In fact, Dilfer had two TD passes -- the other an 8-yarder to Shannon Sharpe -- to supply all the necessary points. New York scored on two TDs from Kerry Collins to Amani Toomer, but failed to convert on their first PAT and were stopped by the Ravens defense on the two-point conversion after their second score.

    In the past five years, the team whose representative won the "Game Before The Game" went on to win the actual Super Bowl.

    The Champ hits Tampa

    While large-screen televisions played highlights of Evander Holyfield pummelling his opponents, the boxer mingled with friends and other celebrities Thursday night at Lee Roy Selmon's restaurant in Tampa. Among the guests were rapper LL Cool J and Reggie White of the Carolina Panthers, who won a Super Bowl with Green Bay in 1997. The party, which raised funds for the Make a Wish Foundation, also featured an auction of sports memorabilia.

    Worldwide leader in sports

    Thursday at the Rain Lounge in Tampa, ESPN held a party to promote the launch of its new show, The Life.

    Spotted outside just before the start of the party were Jim Kelly, Steve DeBerg and Desmond Howard, and among those expected to attend were Holyfield, Eddie George, Bobby Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, Mike Piazza, Fred McGriff, David Cone, David Wells and Mike Alstott.

    "There's just a ton of people out here," said Gino Forrester, 27, a Ravens fan. "You never know who you're going to see."

    Why they didn’t become Kurt Warner

    Sean Payton, offensive coordinator for the Giants, was once an AFL quarterback. But he hardly put up Arena League numbers.

    In one season with the Chicago Bruisers in 1987, the AFL's first season, Payton completed 5 of 14 passes for 47 yards and three interceptions, giving him a Ryan Leaf-esque passer rating of 37.59.

    Also that season, Marty Mornhinweg, the new coach of the Detroit Lions, played quarterback for Tim Marcum's Denver team. He completed 3 of 4 passes for 39 yards.

    The Flutie Gang

    More than 350 people are expected to flood Malio's in south Tampa on Sunday to eat, drink and see Doug Flutie and the Flutie Gang.

    Yes, Bills quarterback Doug Flutie has a band. It has been around for more than 10 years under one name or another, always some variation of Flutie's name.

    The proceeds from its appearances, which have gathered crowds of more than 25,000 in Buffalo, go to the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation, founded in honor of Flutie's son. The foundation raises funds for research on autism and distributes information to families with children who have autism.

    It costs between $275 and $500 to get the VIP treatment at the private game-day party. The TicketMax, a national ticket distributor based in Tampa, organized the party as a separate event to attend or to buy into it as part of a game-day package that includes transportation to the game and tickets. Bart Starr, Alstott, Orlando Pace, Martin Gramatica, Jason Taylor, Levon Kirkland, Mark Royals, Zach Thomas, Donovan Greer, Jerry Azumah, Tony Parrish and Howard are expected to attend.

    Doug Flutie and the Flutie Gang will play two 45-minute sets after the game. Their sound is similar to Lynyrd Skynyrd, which is playing at the Ice Palace the night before. Flutie is friends with some members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and organizers said they might stop by to jam with Flutie.

    In recalling Super Bowl XXV, which was played in the shadow of the Gulf War, 1991 Giants coach Bill Parcells said the "tremendous show of patriotism" from the people in Tampa made it "unique."

    "It's ironic that the Giants are back here 10 years later and I'm going to be fortunate enough to toss the coin for the game," Parcells said, "and I wish them well."

    Stop the rumors!

    Parcells firmly denied he was offered and rejected any offer to join the Cleveland Browns organization. Although he has changed his mind about retirement before, he insisted it is not his intention to return to the NFL after leaving the New York Jets earlier this month.

    "People are talking about things there really aren't much basis to," Parcells said. "That's where we are. Nothing's changed for me. I'm going back over to Jupiter to play golf."

    - Staff writers John C. Cotey, Scott Purks, Christopher Goffard, Pete Young, Brian Landman and Amy Abbott contributed to this report.

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