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Speaking of memories


© St. Petersburg Times, published October 22, 2000

TAMPA -- Ask Herm Edwards the question and then just get out of his way.

Because a person as loquacious, as thoughtful, as busy as the 46-year-old Buccaneers assistant head coach needs no follow-up questions. Not when he can unearth far more with his introspection, his insights, his analysis, than any interview could hope to.

The question: What was it like on Jan. 25, 1981, for Edwards, then a 25-year-old Philadelphia Eagles cornerback playing in Super Bowl XV against the Oakland Raiders?

The Raiders defeated the Eagles 27-10 that evening, and as Edwards' thoughts reach back 19 years, his memories pour out:

"Obviously, it's an exciting time for you. It's the ultimate game as far as being a football player. You get the chance to try and be a world champion, and I think that's what everyone strives for, to become a world champion, to get to that game and win it.

"No one can take that from you. It's an everlasting feeling to say you've accomplished something with your football team. That's what stands out about the whole situation. You go through all those practices and all those off-seasons, and finally, you don't really believe you're there the first couple of days. You have to pinch yourself.

"But it's a game, it's a Super Bowl, it's one that you cherish as a player, and I think the sad thing about it is when you don't win it, it leaves a void in you. Because you had a chance and you never knew when you're going to go back. "All those years have passed, and I haven't been back. And I've been in the league now 21 years. But then the thing you realize is, the longer you stay in the league, how hard it is to achieve something like that, and to win one is fantastic. That's what you strive for, players strive for, coaches strive for -- the fact that you can say you were a world champion.

"I think you're nervous the first quarter, like you always are, because it's the Super Bowl. You're looking around at the cameras all over the sidelines, and you can't even stand on the sideline with all those cameras.

"We got behind early, and all of a sudden the pressure comes on, "Hey, we've got to make a play.' ... We could never get it close enough to make a play to get back into the game. ... Then that was it. You were battling uphill, and you kind of knew it, and they knew it. They had this swagger. "I don't think about (losing the Super Bowl). I'm pretty much a guy, when you play the game, you got to let it go. There's only so much you can do. I don't go to bed at night thinking "We could have been world champions.'

"I think (I miss) enjoying (my) teammates, because when those guys leave, it's over. I look back at those guys who were on that team, and we had a heck of a group of guys that were special, and that's what it takes to go to a Super Bowl.

Q: If you could impart some wisdom to yourself back then, what would it be?

A: Enjoy the moments that you have, enjoy the wins more, because sometimes as a player or a coach, you don't enjoy the wins as you should. You just think that because you're supposed to win, but you don't know how hard it is to win a game in the National Football League. The guys are so competitive. They come from winning programs, and they're used to winning. But when they get to this league, boy, guys don't enjoy wins, because you're always working to win a game, and you never sit back and say, "Wow, we won that game.'


Jan. 25, 1981

New Orleans

Raiders 27, Eagles 10

MVP: Jim Plunkett, Raiders quarterback (13-of-21 for 261 yards and three touchdowns).

IN THE NEWS: AIDS is identified. Jan. 20: A U.S.-Iran agreement frees 52 hostages held in Tehran since November 1979. March 30: President Reagan is wounded by gunman John Hinckley Jr., as are his press secretary, James Brady, and two law enforcement officers. May 14: Pope John Paul II is wounded by a gunman. July 7: Reagan nominates Arizona judge Sandra Day O'Connor, 51, as the first woman on the Supreme Court.


MUSIC OF THE MOMENT: Working Class Dog/Rick Springfield


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