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What they're saying

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 29, 2001

Stupidity rules the roads in Tampa

I think Tampa should certainly have another Super Bowl -- around about 2037, when I'm long since retired.

The traffic manager for the weekend events -- the Gasparilla pirate thing Saturday and the Super Bowl (Sunday) -- ought to be drawn and quartered. Or at least forced to ride his own buses on his own ridiculously logjammed streets.

Stupid idea to have that pirate festival in town the same weekend as the Super Bowl anyway; it turned a 12-minute drive from the Giants' hotel to the media headquarters downtown into a 105-minute ordeal. The 10-minute ride on the commuter buses (Sunday), even coming over at 2:30, was a 55-minute ordeal -- and then I got out and walked the last three-quarters of a mile.

You give a city three years to get ready for a game and they can't figure out the traffic. Nice job, Tampa.

-- Peter King,

Wanted: a good quarterback

Where have all the good passers gone? If anyone needed proof that this is a league starving for quarterbacks, the Ravens' 34-7 victory over the Giants on Sunday in Super Bowl XXXV was it.

A crowd of 71,921 at Raymond James Stadium saw the Ravens defense smother the Giants, with the only excitement being back-to-back kickoff returns for touchdowns in the third quarter.

The Ravens bragged that a shutout was possible before the game. Knowing Kerry Collins is your opponent at quarterback helps fuel that type of arrogance. Would anybody dare say such a thing against a Joe Montana? Or a John Elway? Would they?

But with the quarterback state-of-the-league what it is, defense rules. A running game and a good defense can take you a long way in a league without passers. It took the Ravens to a Super Bowl title Sunday.

It was only appropriate that the Super Bowl capped a season full of bad quarterback play and poor offensive schemes. This one included all of that -- and even more. Collins against Baltimore's Trent Dilfer lived up to what everyone expected. They were two gunslingers showing up for a showdown without any bullets in their guns.

-- Pete Prisco,

Bouquets for Lewis and Dilfer

A year ago, Ray Lewis was involved in a street fracas that would come perilously close to ending his brilliant NFL career. A year ago, Trent Dilfer wasn't sure where he'd be playing quarterback this season, if anywhere at all.

Whoever emerges from the Australian Outback in Survivor II will have nothing on Lewis or Dilfer. Together they led the Baltimore Ravens to a 34-7 victory over the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV on Sunday night at Raymond James Stadium.

Lewis seemed to contest every ball that came into his startlingly wide range of influence. He was the epicenter of a savage defense that throttled the Giants and, fittingly, he was named the game's most valuable player.

Dilfer, who wasn't even a starter to open the season, was typically efficient, sometimes even spectacular, in guiding Baltimore to its 11th straight win. It was the first Super Bowl victory for this Ravens franchise that has been in existence since Art Modell relocated his Cleveland Browns after the 1995 season.

It was the second title for a Baltimore team, going back to the Colts' victory in Super Bowl V. These 16-4 Ravens will go down in history as possessing one of the league's greatest defenses ever. They limited the Giants to a single touchdown, and that came on a kickoff return against the special-teams unit. Giants quarterback Kerry Collins, following in the dismal tradition of Drew Bledsoe, Jim Kelly and Craig Morton, was bullied and harassed into tying a Super Bowl record with four interceptions.

-Greg Garber,

Speaking of Dilfer, what now?

Believe it, folks. Trent Farris Dilfer has joined the pantheon of winning Super Bowl quarterbacks. And now we get to find out if the Ravens have the courage of their convictions.

The situation in Baltimore is about to get intriguing. Can the Ravens really turn away from the man who helped lead them to an NFL championship with 11 consecutive season-ending victories? Has a Super Bowl-winning quarterback ever been so unassured of a starting job next season?

-Don Banks,

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