On Super Bowl Sunday, the party's anywhere
By SUE CARLTON
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 29, 2001
TAMPA -- So they didn't have tickets to the big game. So the reason for all the months of hype and hoopla was finally going on inside Raymond James Stadium.
That still was no reason to stop the party.
"We don't want to go home tomorrow," said Carlotta Williams, sipping a Heineken at the crowded Ravens party at the Blues Ship bar Sunday, where the game blared from a half-dozen TVs around her. The Baltimore florist, who won bus tickets to Tampa on the radio, said she hadn't slept since she arrived Friday.
"This isn't the Super Bowl?" her boyfriend Dwight Purley joked blearily.
Across Tampa Bay, thousands of fans who didn't make it to the big game were there in spirit as parties rocked into the night. But unlike Saturday night's pregame frenzy and celebrity fest that snarled traffic and left streets strewn with garbage, this round of festivities had partygoers settling in front of TVs with their cocktails.
In the formerly raucous Ybor City, scantily clad women who had been busy hawking iced-down longnecks from storefronts Friday and Saturday now lounged at their posts. A store called Super Bowl Stuff had been nearly emptied by fans and displayed a sign -- SALE: 50 PERCENT OFF. The masses who had danced in the streets were gone, with only small groups strolling Seventh Avenue. A carousel at a makeshift carnival on a side street circled slowly. No riders.
At the nearby Florida Aquarium, well-dressed partygoers could step out on the breezy night air of the patio, stroll past the underwater exhibits, or watch the big-screen TV from tables covered in white linens.
More than 700 people showed for the Players Paradise III viewing party up by 8 p.m., sending organizers scrambling to complaints of not enough food. Among the players who made the party during the game were Washington Redskin LaVar Arrington, St. Louis Ram Orlando Pace, Buccaneer Keyshawn Johnson, New York Jet Shaun Ellis, Philadelphia Eagle Duce Staley and Cleveland Brown Spergon Wynn.
Thousands -- including host Magic Johnson -- were expected post-game.
Earlier in the day, four-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Joe Montana was mobbed by autograph seekers when he arrived at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort in downtown St. Petersburg to host winners of a Coca Cola/Kraft contest. At one point, hotel security had to be called to keep uninvited fans from crashing the party.
Montana was then whisked to his next event at the sprawling pink Don CeSar Beach Resort, where he signed a football for 12-year-old Bradley Bourgeois to be auctioned at the Suncoast Dream Fund auction. Some 150 more lined up for autographs at the two-hour party in the ballroom.
Parties over, the Hall of Famer headed not to the game but for the airport, and home.
For Tampa freelance bartender Sandy Harper, it had been a three-day workathon. His goatee painted purple, Harper had worked at a bar, a private party and even sold barbecue at the stadium.
He wouldn't say Sunday how much he made. Pressed, he grinned.
"In the thousands," he said.
But enough already.
"I can't wait for it to be over," he said from behind yet another bar in Ybor City, Turbulence. "I've slept like six hours all weekend."
- Times staff writers Sarah Schweitzer, Jounice Nealy and Mary Evertz contributed to this report.
Today's Super Bowl story lineup
- Rockin' Ravens
- MVP caps Lewis' strange journey
- 'We're the greatest of all-time'
- Q&A with Brian Billick
- Modell savors a Super year at last in a different city
- Ravens win doesn't improve Cleveland's mood
- I see your return, and raise you one
- Ravens defense stakes its claim
- Mizell: Trent in land of wonder
- Shelton: Baltimore's defense leaves a lasting impact
- Fry: QB Collins should shoulder the blame
- Ginn: CBS' new replay system a look into the future
- Zucco; For some, it's the party, not the game
- Deggans: Pregame coverage lacked local images
- Auman: Third quarter tests Internet's immediacy
- Trigaux: Ads, not football, supreme in Super Schmooze XXXV
- Giants grasp for answers
- Q&A with Jim Fassel
- Dungy a bit surprised by game's outcome
- Ravens rose on Giants' mistakes
Inside the game
- Super Bowl XXXV by the numbers
- Breathtaking returns: Starks, Dixon, Lewis
- Sehorn coverage error leads to touchdown
- Look familiar? Defense gets ball, offense runs
- First quarter: Play by play
- First quarter: Best & worst
- Penalty negates a big play for the Giants
- Second quarter: Best & worst
- Second quarter: Play by play
- Third quarter: Play by play
- Third quarter: Best & worst
- Best 36 seconds in Super Bowl history
- Fourth quarter: Play by play
- Fourth Quarter: Key Play
- Fourth quarter: Best & worst
- Big game and week before it seen as win for bay area
- What they're saying: Stupidity rules the roads
Beyond the sidelines
- Four bars' patrons quaff winnings of Bud Bowl
- Big crowds, big spenders
- Altruism? That's the (free) ticket
- Many avoid traffic nightmares
- Tickets stolen? Too bad
- Unusual musical pairings bring fire to day's festivities
- Area dancers show pregame joy, nerves
- Corporate America buys star execs ultimate party
- Some just don't care about the big game
- On Super Bowl Sunday, the party's anywhere
- Celebrity watch
- Brought to you by ...