St. Petersburg Times: Super Bowl XXXV
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Super Bowl XXXV Tampa, Florida 2001
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  • The Road to Super Bowl XXXV

    What a week it would be

    Here's a preview of what could happen if the Bucs win their way to the big game.

    shelton
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    By GARY SHELTON

    © St. Petersburg Times, published September 1, 2000


    It begins simply, with a man who is puffy on a Huffy.

    Warren Sapp rolls the small bike out of his garage into the morning light and cackles. The cameras are rolling now, the party is starting and Sapp is performing. He hops onto the bicycle, and it wobbles for a moment under his weight. He coasts down the driveway, his dreads flopping in the breeze.

    "We're going to Schwinn, baby," he said. "I guarantee it."

    This is how Super Bowl week, the craziest week of them all, begins -- with Sapp delivering on an old promise. Remember when the Bucs traded for Keyshawn Johnson? That day, Sapp said it ensured he would be able to ride his bike to the Super Bowl.

    And so, Monday morning as the day begins, Sapp has invited the media to his home to watch him mount up.

    "Look at us," he howls. "We're a biker gang! You see that chain? No weak links. That's just like us."

    Hey, Warren? Is there room for the offense on those handlebars?

    "Room for everybody," Sapp said. "You want to go to the Show, you just hop on."

    Who could have believed this? The Bucs in the Super Bowl? Against the Colts? Hell has frozen over. Pigs are flying. Defensive tackles have turned into Lance Armstrong. And a quiet, calm place like Tampa Bay has gone full-feathered bonzo.

    You thought the victory over Washington in the NFC title game caused a party? Hah. In Clearwater, they are dancing on the beach. In Ybor City, they are dancing in the street. In Tampa, they are dancing on laps. Outside of Raymond James Stadium and Souvenir Stand, fans are lining up to get life-size tattoos of Mike Alstott's face on their backs. In St. Petersburg, the drama department at Gibbs High School is selling out with its play The King and I, which has been rewritten to include a quarterback.

    The Super Bowl is in Tampa Bay.

    Tampa Bay is in the Super Bowl.

    Twain, meet twain.

    A look ahead of how the week will be. Wheeee.

    Monday

    Mayor Dick Greco, his hair in dreadlocks, bets a crate of Florida oranges against "whatever in blazes they grow in Indiana."

    A headline in USA Today proclaims "Meek Have Inherited the Earth."

    A protest starts at Raymond James because irate season-ticket holders have discovered the fine print says, technically, only 11 of them qualify for tickets.

    NBC says positive reviews of Dennis Miller's first season had nothing to do with it. The network just wanted Emo Phillips in the booth. And Bobcat Goldtwait and Paula Poundstone as sideline reporters.

    Alvin Harper returns to the scene of the crime.

    A headline in the Chicago Tribune says: "Ex-Dogs Have Their Day."

    Rich McKay accepts an award as NFL Executive of the Year. In his press conference, the initial question is: "So why in the hell did you cut Brad Culpepper?"

    Peyton Manning says, yes, the Bucs have a home-field advantage. Tampa Bay fans are irate. "If we wanted a home-field advantage," Jacquez Green says, "we'd play Peyton in Gainesville."

    Ray Perkins shows up at McHale's Chophouse. Waiters refuse to serve him.

    A second protest begins over those dead-horse-kickers still fighting the stadium tax. They circle the block, chanting "Your kids can't spell ... N-F-L."

    Elsewhere in the NFL, Redskins owner Dan Snyder fires his coach, his quarterback and his mom.

    Product endorsement of the day: Warren's Pancake Sapp, a new breakfast syrup.

    Celebrity sightings: Trent Dilfer reads Edgar Allan Poe at Barnes & Noble on Dale Mabry.

    A headline in The Weekly World News says: "Colts Favored by 2 1/2; World Ends Today."

    Colts invite Bob Knight to the locker room to "throw out the first chair."

    Tuesday

    Media Day begins as 20,000 reporters file into Raymond James. Of those, 12,348 are from New York and immediately head for Keyshawn Johnson's podium.

    A headline in the New York Times declares "Johnson Tells Jets to Groh Up."

    College roommate calls McKay and asks how to get to the game. "Go through a quarter century of hell, then take a right," McKay says. Shaun King announces that if he does pass during the game, he intends to do so with his right hand.

    Tony Dungy says, yes, he has always been a black coach. And sighs heavily.

    Oddsmakers say Colts' running back Edgerrin James is early favorite to be game MVP. Patrick Hape goes off at 300-1.

    Reporter asks Jeff Christy: "If you were a cookie, what kind of cookie would you be?"

    Sapp, asked what he liked best about Manning, says: "Tastes like chicken."

    Headline in Daily News: "Key? Me! See? Whee!"

    Celebrity sightings: Sarah Michelle Geller competes against David Hyde Pierce in a pie eating contest at Bern's dessert room.

    Malcolm Glazer says if the protesters don't go home, he'll sue them all.

    NFL informs Alstott it isn't moving the ship after all, and asks if he will please put it down.

    Elsewhere in the NFL: Bengals give coach Bruce Coslet a 14-year extension after his 5-11 season.

    Headline in New York Post: "Keyshawn Linked to Hitler Cloning Cult."

    Wednesday

    Sapp's bicycle sells for $16,789 on e-bay.

    Oddsmakers say Manning is expected to throw for 287 yards. King is expected to complete two of 13 for 37 yards.

    A headline in the Wall Street Journal says Glazer will make $47-billion in earnings for the 2000 season. That does not include his new adidas shoe commercial.

    Paul Gruber announces he hopes to be ready any day.

    Former Buc Doug Williams admits he once cursed the team. "Actually, I cursed at them a lot," he said. "Especially the 11-letter word."

    America's press shuts down while reporters try to figure out an 11-letter swear word.

    Newly elected president George W. Bush announces plans to attend the game.

    Reporter asks Marcus Jones: "If you were a cartoon character, which one would you be?"

    A headline in the Washington Post reads "Glazer To Prez: Buy a Ticket."

    Former Bucs coach John McKay says that, after years to ponder the question, he's still in favor of offensive execution.

    Celebrity sightings: Singer Michael Jackson shows up at Busch Gardens, tries to purchase the place to be his winter home.

    Elsewhere in the NFL: Al Davis considers a move to "that island with the survivors."

    Former Buc Charles McRae announces he will run for Congress: "It's just time," he says. A headline in the Miami Herald reads: "Castro: No Super Bowl for Elian."

    Thursday

    Tampa politician Ed Turanchik, still trying to get a train to run between Orlando and Tampa, asks Alstott what he's doing after his football career.

    At noon, Derrick Brooks absent-mindedly says, "I'm so hungry I'm weak at the knees." By the 6 p.m. SportsCenter, the Bucs are denying Brooks has a brain tumor.

    A headline in the Baltimore Sun: "Manning's No Unitas."

    Celebrity sightings: Macaulay Culkin seen dancing at Joyland with the annoying little girl from the Pepsi commercials.

    John Lynch says the biggest play of the season was a deflected interception by tackle Anthony McFarland. "It was the world's greatest Booger Pick," he said.

    Reporter asks Randall McDaniel: "If you were a lounge singer in an orange velvet suit, what song would you be singing?"

    Former Buc Bert Emanuel stops by practice to wish his old teammates luck. On the way off the field, he twists an ankle.

    Elsewhere in the NFL: Jimmy Johnson seen having lunch at a Mexican restaurant with Jerry Jones.

    A headline in the Dallas Morning News: "Deja Vu."

    Sam Wyche tells Kathie Lee Fountain: "I made it all possible. I left."

    Washington television reporter Roberta Baskin, in a hard-hitting exclusive, announces that "referees could call holding on almost every play."

    Friday

    In his state-of-the-union address, commissioner Paul Tagliabue says the economic impact of the Super Bowl is "$140-million." Of course, by the time hotels and chain restaurants ship the money off to corporate headquarters, that leaves Tampa Bay with $11.78.

    Reporter asks Tagliabue: "If they had personality transplants, whose would you want?"

    Headline in San Francisco Chronicle: "Walsh Thinking Deep Thoughts."

    Product endorsement of the day: The Chidi Chia.

    Elsewhere in the NFL: Snyder says that local Washington fans can come to Malio's and watch him eat nachos "for $20 apiece."

    Celebrity sightings: Former Falcons safety Eugene Robinson seen driving around on Kennedy.

    Headline in the Atlanta Constitution: "British Rowing Team Finally Arrives."

    Saturday

    Overcome with the spirit of the game, Bucs tight end Dave Moore guarantees the Bucs will win. "Gee," says a guy from the Daily News, "do you think you could get Keyshawn to say that?"

    Headline in Boston Globe: "Auerbach Eats Breakfast."

    The campaign to elect Jack "The Throwin' Samoan" Thompson to the Hall of Fame, once again, falls short.

    Hall of Fame committee, instead, picks Joe Montana again.

    Reached in the afterlife by a medium during a seance, former Bucs owner Hugh Culverhouse had nothing to say about the Bucs' chances in the Super Bowl. "Go 'Bama," he said.

    At a luncheon, Joel Glazer says the Bucs have the best team in the best NFL stadium, a stadium that should last "at least another year."

    Celebrity sightings: LeRoy Neiman appears at the Dali Museum; paints roof.

    Headline in the Gainesville Sun: "Gators' recruiting going well."

    Sunday

    Faith Hill listed as doubtful with laryngitis. Tagliabue announces her place will be taken by Snoop Doggy Dog.

    Headline in St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "Bring Back Vermeil."

    Colts take the kickoff, drive 87 yards on six plays, scoring on James' 47-yard run.

    Warrick Dunn, on a halfback pass, hits Johnson on a 63-yard touchdown pass.

    Manning hits a long pass to Marvin Harrison and a short one to Ken Hilger as Colts build 21-7 lead.

    Halftime show: The WWF wrestlers perform songs from Annie Get Your Gun.

    Celebrity sighting: At halftime, Tom Cruise is kicked out of the stadium for standing on his chair. Also, for making Eyes Wide Shut.

    Alstott scores on a 17-yard screen pass to cut the deficit to 21-14.

    King hits Jacquez Green for 50 yards to tie the game at 21-21.

    Martin Gramatica hits a 47-yard field goal at the buzzer. Bucs win 24-21.

    "Wow," says Mike Shula, watching on television. "Nice offense."

    Asked where he's going to celebrate the victory, Brooks says, "I'm going to Johannesburg, then over to Mozambique, then to Zaire, then to Nairobi. And I'm taking 37 school kids with me!"

    "Want to borrow my bike?" Sapp asks.

    Headline in St. Peterburg Times: "Can they repeat?"

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