So you think you're ready to cover a Super Bowl, huh?

Phil Jackman

January 23, 1991|By Phil Jackman

The Supreme Test.

Well, yes, it comes up Sunday in Tampa with the Giants and Bills playing in Super Bowl XXV. But that's not the only final examination causing consternation this week.

See, everybody thinks this sportswriting dodge is a snap. I'm here to divulge it isn't.

Besides having to wrestle with the gerund/participle business every so often, spelling is a constant worry. So is remembering to buy batteries for the word processor.

Despite these and many other drawbacks (pay, benefits, standing in the community, etc.), people come up and say, "You mean to tell me you guys get into games free and travel in the same planes and buses as the ballplayers?"

The very same. Although, in addition to being ordered to the back of the bus, we have to get off and push sometimes, plus handle the luggage.

Worse yet is the test we are forced to take and pass annually. Epistemology was a walk in the park next to this killer. Multiple choice, true or false, matches, two essays, a verbal before a panel of three hanging judges. Then there's the thing a guy sticks into you to check what you're spewing forth, just like happens at your car emissions test.

Anyway, the exam period leading to validation for 1991 just concluded and, miraculously, I recall several of the questions dealing with football.

Multiple choice:

The Super Bowl came into existence because (a) Pete Rozelle couldn't reserve a Sunday afternoon time at his tennis club. (b) Cecil B. DeMille needed crowd shots for his latest epic. (c) The NFL noted huge and empty stadiums littering the landscape in late January. (d) Nostradamus predicted it.

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse answered to the names (1) Famine, Pestilence, Destruction and Death. (2) Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Tom Mix and Buck Jones. (3) Crowley, Layden, Stuhldreyer and Miller. (4) Taxes, Drugs, S&Ls and Junk Bonds.

Fred Williamson, the most memorable character from Super Bowl I, referred to himself as (1) The Hammer. (2) The Sickle. (3) The Screwdriver. (4) The Dustpan and Brush.

The Super Bowl was named by (1) The Council of Trent. (2) Lamar Hunt. (3) Moses after coming down from Mount Sinai. (4) A contest sponsored by Gillette.

The length of Jim O'Brien's field goal giving Baltimore a 16-13 victory over Dallas in Supe IV was (1) MCLDX yards. (2) XXXII yards. (3) Unrecorded. (4) Actually, the kick was wide but called good because the game was so bad.

When he coached the late, lamented Baltimore Colts, Buffalo's offensive coordinator Ted Marchibroda was known as (1) Teddy Trite. (2) Furrowed Brow. (3) Howie the Hoss. (4) A nice man but a dull interview.

The name of the New York Giants' place-kicker is (1) Matt Bahr. (2) Crow Bar. (3) Hershey Bar. (4) Bar & Grille.

The Giants first appeared in a championship game (a) in sneakers. (b) back when the Indians owned Manhattan. (c) as Uranus entered the third house of Neptune. (d) when Frank Gifford was battling pimples.

True or false:

The announcers for the first Super Bowl 25 years ago were Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob for NBC and Pinky Lee and Jerry Lester for CBS.

In an earlier life, the Shotgun formation was known as the Spread.

Considering the increase in Super Bowl ticket prices the last few years, the cost of a ducat to XXXIV in the year 2000 will be that, $2000.

New York coach Bill Parcells enjoys Gatorade baths on the sidelines because there's never any hot water left when he gets around to showering.

It was prior to Super Bowl III when Joe Namath issued his famed guarantee, "A chicken in every pot."

Write an essay of at least 50,000 words on any two of the following subjects: (1) The onside kick as a Communist plot. (2) Three announcers in the television booth. (3) The public relations genius of Bob Irsay.

Match up person, place or thing with deeds or whatever attributed to them by inserting number in space provided:

1. Ronnie Lott. (2) Seigfried & Roy. (3) The Colossus at Rhodes. (4) Big Bird. (5) Piltdown Man.

--- conducts the BSO. --- ran for governor on the Republican ticket. --- wears uniform No. 42. --- plays outside linebacker for the Giants. --- passing combo for the University of Heidelberg in 1961.

That's it. Be not afraid if you do not do well. Recall it took "The Hunk" three tries to pass the New York State bar exam, and the baseball, fencing, tae kwon do, archery and bowling sections of the test weren't nearly as culturally biased.

I passed, but for the 24th time in 25 years did not score sufficiently high to qualify to cover the "Big Dance." Shucks!

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