Covering Super Bowl Coverage

Consider this your history lesson the week before the big test. That's right, wow your friends, coworkers and family with your intimate knowledge of the Super Bowl's history. After all, the Super Bowl, it's super!

First stop is the L.A. Times look back at what was at stake the first time the NFL met the AFL. (email: bestbucsblog at yahoo.com, password: bestbucsblog)

The writers covering the first Super Bowl treated their press credentials like dog tags, assembling in trenches according to their league allegiances — NFL writers over here, AFL scribes to the back of the room.

Two television networks — the NFL on CBS, the AFL brought to you by NBC — televised the game to their respective partisan audiences, with pregame tensions between the technical crews reaching such a fever pitch that a 10-foot chain-link fence was erected to separate the feuding camps.

Additionally, there was so much pressure on the NFL's representative in this game (Green Bay) that Packers coach, Vince Lombardi, threatened that anyone breaking curfew would "never play another down in the National Football League." Of course, that didn't stop Packer receiver Max McGee from breaking curfew AND getting drunk the night before. Then again getting drunk the night before didn't stop McGee from catching two touchdowns and 138 yards, despite catching only FOUR passes all season.

The L.A. Times continues its look back with a column penned after the first Super Bowl by Jim Murray. Murray's column underlines the importance of the first Super Bowl (which was originally called the NFL-AFL World Championship Game).

The little, shy, frightened, big-eyed AFL, wandering through the forests cringing at shadows and shuddering at the roars emanating from the Ogre of the Woods, the NFL Colossus.

"Please, sir, won't you play with me?" asked the shy little league in the red cape and boots.

"Fee, fi, fo, fum!" roared the NFL. "Go way and get yourself a football first."

So the little AFL huffed and puffed and he sued the court. And the NFL ate their lawyer. So the AFL said, "Well, I know a shortcut to Grandma's house, otherwise known as the Super Bowl" and sprinkled money around and bought lots of players. Only the giant bought even more.

Final stop on this trip down memory lane is the Kansas City Star, which is running a countdown of the most memorable Super Bowl moments.

32: Pregame problems

Sometimes, the glare of Super Bowl week casts an unfavorable light on the players.

Chiefs Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson was unfairly hounded by the media covering Super Bowl IV in 1970 in New Orleans when an NBC news report dropped his name as being one of several pro athletes federal authorities wanted to interview regarding their association with gambler Donald “No-Dice” Dawson.

Donald Dawson, who was no relation, had Len Dawson’s telephone number in his possession when arrested as part of a federal probe into sports gambling. Len Dawson knew him, but just as a fan, and the quarterback was cleared of any suspicion by commissioner Pete Rozelle. He even received a phone call of support from President Richard Nixon before Lenny the Cool earned Super Bowl MVP honors in the Chiefs’ 23-7 win against Minnesota.

Dawson was one of the fortunate ones. Others who encountered Super Bowl-week problems never recovered.

Who are some of the more unfortunate players?

Everyone in Tampa remembers Oakland center Barret Robbins, but Falcon's corner Eugene Robinson pulled the trifecta in 1999 when he won the NFL's Bart Starr Award (which recognizes high moral character), was arrested for soliciting sex from an undercover police officer the same day, and then got beat for an 80 yard touchdown in the Super Bowl.

So remember, when it comes to the Super Bowl, getting drunk the night before is good for your career. But soliciting sex from an undercover police officer is not.

No comments: