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Dungy likes Baltimore's old friends

©Associated Press

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 28, 2001

TAMPA -- When it comes to predicting a Super Bowl winner, friendship counts more than conference ties for Bucs coach Tony Dungy.

The NFC champion New York Giants practiced last week at One Buc Place.

But Dungy and Baltimore coach Brian Billick were assistants together with the Vikings, and the Ravens' Trent Dilfer was the Bucs' starting quarterback for nearly four seasons under Dungy.

"I'm usually an NFC guy, but I have so many ex-players and ex-coaches (with Baltimore) that I'm going to stay with my heart a little bit," Dungy said forecasting a defensive struggle that the Ravens will win 16-13.

Dungy said he hasn't watched a Super Bowl in person since the year after he won his second as a player with Pittsburgh in 1979.

He was traded the next season, but returned as a spectator for the 1980 game because some friends were playing.

"I thought I could get into it and be happy for them," he said. "But it was difficult being there."

Dungy will be at today's game at Raymond James Stadium.

"I don't normally go to the Super Bowl if we're not in it, but being here in Tampa, my wife wants to go," the coach said. "I think that's the major reason we're going."

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