TAMPA, Fla. -- Marv Levy learned a lot from George Allen -- maybe too much.
The coach of the Buffalo Bills was an assistant to Allen when he coached the Washington Redskins against the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VII.
Allen spent the week railing about the distractions of Super Bowl week. Allen might have gotten his team so uptight that it contributed to the 14-7 loss to Dolphins. The Redskins were favored by three points, even though the Dolphins were 16-0 going in.
Levy topped Allen and every coach in the history of the Super Bowl yesterday -- he was a no-show at a scheduled session with the media.
He skipped the annual photo day when the players and coaches give interviews and pose for pictures on the field. Although players have sometimes skipped sessions, it's a first for a coach.
Bills general manager Bill Polian said Levy and his coaches were busy preparing their game plan.
But Bill Parcells, the coach of the Giants, made his session, even though he also has only a week to prepare his game plan.
In 1983, when the Redskins had only a week to prepare, even coach Joe Gibbs -- noted for working around the clock -- made every session.
Commissioner Paul Tagliabue talked to Polian yesterday afternoon and was assured that Levy will not skip any more sessions. In a statement, Tagliabue said the matter will be reviewed further after the Super Bowl, which means Levy could be fined.
Besides ignoring league rules, Levy also created an unnecessary distraction that will be the topic of more conversation if he does appear today.
It's not a good omen for the Bills in their first Super Bowl trip.
* When the Bills played the Giants last month, Bills defensive lineman Bruce Smith proclaimed himself the best defensive player in the game.
Lawrence Taylor, who had been considered the best, conceded the title yesterday, saying Smith is now the best. "At this point in my career, I'm not trying to be Superman. I'm happy being Clark Kent," Taylor said.
But Smith hasn't had a sack in five games since making the boast, and Taylor had a few words of caution for him.
"Tooting your own horn, you know certain people like that. I have nothing against Bruce Smith. I think he's the greatest player right now playing defense. But he will know that anybody can be stopped in this league. They may not be able to stop the team, but no man is so dominating he can't be stopped. He will find that out," he said.
Smith seemed to be learning the lesson.
Of Taylor's admission Smith is the best, he said, "I think Lawrence is setting me up."
He also said: "I'm not the type of player who goes around boasting. I'm not cocky. I'm a very quiet individual."
* It could happen only at the Super Bowl.
A woman showed up wearing a black bowler hat, black leather jacket, tight black shirt, black fishnet stockings and boots to interview the players.
Well, she sort of interviewed them. She was kissed and hugged by some players and danced with one of them.
She turned out to be "Downtown" Julie Brown of MTV -- at least that's what the reporters who don't watch MTV were told.
* There was another first at the Super Bowl yesterday: a security briefing.
There will be law enforcement officials from 18 federal, state and local agencies working at Tampa Stadium, and there will be metal detectors and X-ray equipment at all the gates.
There haven't yet been any specific threats against the game.
Reporters were given photo IDs for the first time to limit access to the press room, but that was planned long before the terrorist threat because there were thefts in the press room last year.
* Running back Dave Meggett of Towson State is making his first trip to the Super Bowl. The Giants' other Towson State player, punter Sean Landeta, appeared in his first one four years ago.
"When you're growing up, every kid's dream is to play in the Super Bowl," Meggett said.
Meggett may get more duty than usual because running back Rodney Hampton is out with a broken leg.
* Parcells didn't seem to be too impressed with the word out of San Francisco Monday that the 49ers had only 10 men on the field when the Giants pulled their successful fake punt in the fourth quarter. He said they had worked on that play in practice and almost ran it earlier in the game.
* There won't be as much hype as usual because there's only a one-week buildup, but the Tampa Tribune didn't waste any time. It ran almost four pages yesterday morning of Super Bowl coverage even though there weren't any events scheduled Monday.
* 49er quarterback Joe Montana underwent surgery yesterday to repair a bone in his right hand, broken during Sunday's NFC championship game.
Two screws were inserted in Montana's hand during the surgery. The procedure was pronounced a success.
Team physician Dr. Michael Dillingham said Montana's hand will be in a cast for about four weeks. The screws will be removed in about two months and Montana will be able to begin throwing about a month after that.
* The 49ers had to move some equipment they already had shipped to Tampa in anticipation of playing in the Super Bowl.
By contrast, Parcells wouldn't let the players bring a week's clothing to San Francisco, even though they were going to fly directly to Tampa if they won the game.
He said they could bring only two days' clothing and to leave the rest of their suitcases at Giants Stadium that were to be shipped separately if the team won.
* Jim Kelly on the war in the Middle East: "I'm behind our troops over there, but I still can't understand why there can't be peace. It seems like they [Iraqis] are just looking for something to do. It's stupid."