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Too much hype? Must be Super Bowl week


© St. Petersburg Times, published January 26, 2001

TAMPA -- The media are the ones who turned the Super Bowl into such a huge event. So they have no one to blame but themselves when they arrive a week early, then have to figure out how to fuel the hype machine.

Only a select few television or radio personalities get a chance to participate in the actual broadcast. The rest are in town to do one of two things:

a) Analyze the game (read: audition for one or more of the jobs Matt Millen left behind when he became general manager of the Detroit Lions); or

b) Find famous people to interview.

They don't even have to be that famous. Just semi-interesting. Or in at least one case, semi-dressed: Two women clad in scraps of gold lame were among those interviewed Thursday on Radio Row at the Tampa Convention Center.

Super Bowl week is one mad frenzy to snag the best guests to provide insight, analysis and cholesterol levels. At least that's what Joe Montana and Jim Rome talked about Wednesday (Montana was nearby doing a news conference tied to the NFL Cholesterol Screen Team).

Rome did get Montana and Jerry Rice back to back, one of the best half-hours of the week, and got Rice to say he might be interested in playing across San Francisco Bay in Oakland next season. But Rice also told Bay News 9 he might want to play near Tampa Bay.

On Radio Row, Rome attracts onlookers -- and moochers. Almost all of his guests get besieged by interview requests from other shows. WQYK-AM 1010's SportChix benefit from being good-looking and nearby; they got not just Montana but Dan Marino and comedian/actor/non-traditional football analyst Jay Mohr.

So far this week, non-sports celebrities have mostly steered clear of the interview circuit. Members of 'N Sync and Aerosmith wisely bypassed Radio Row when they came to the convention center for a mandatory MTV news conference Thursday. But the Baja Men (Who Let the Dogs Out?) hopped from broadcast to broadcast Wednesday, singing their song a cappella.

Of course, just because you have newsmakers on your show doesn't mean you get news. On SportsCenter Wednesday, ESPN analyst Sterling Sharpe had few insightful things to say about why brother Shannon defended Ravens teammate Ray Lewis so strongly. And while Vikings receiver Cris Carter is providing analysis for ESPN, he wouldn't provide host Dan Patrick with an answer Wednesday as to whether he would play next season.

You'll have to wait, he told Patrick, until Thursday. "But I'll get with you afterward," Carter said.

Naturally. Kickoff is still more than two days away.

A "CLASSIC": ESPN Classic will air an hourlong look at Super Bowl XXV at 7 tonight. It would be nice to see the whole game -- from Whitney Houston's national anthem to Scott Norwood's missed kick -- but this will have to do. ESPN is bringing Norwood, among other guests, to town for its ESPN Classic Road Show, live from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday outside Centro Ybor.

LYNCH PART 1: Jane Clayson of CBS' The Early Show sat down with John Lynch's wife, Linda, to talk about life as an NFL spouse. The segment will air on today's show, probably in the 8 a.m. hour. Lynch is part of a major CBS feature airing Sunday that looks at life as an NFL player.

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Today's Super Bowl story lineup

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