TAMPA,FLA. — TAMPA, Fla. -- Punter Sean Landeta has fond memories of playing in a championship game at Tampa Stadium.
The Baltimore native, who played at Towson State, kicked for the Philadelphia Stars when they beat George Allen's Arizona Wranglers in the 1984 United States Football League title game.
He'll kick Sunday at the stadium for the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.
"Surprisingly, it's been very similar," Landeta said of the week leading up to the championship game.
"The only difference, of course, is the interest for the game is maybe [magnified] 100 times. We had press day and the turnout was much less, but in general, it was the same format. For the players, it was more similar than people might think. You practice and prepare the same because for us at the time, it was as big as this is now," Landeta said.
Landeta has yet to kick in the stadium with the Giants, but he kicked in it four times with the Stars and says he'll have a good day.
"The weather is very conducive to punting," he said. "On a warm humid night or warm day, it makes it very easy to punt. Even if you don't hit the ball cleanly, you can still get a 42-yard punt, which in Giants Stadium is impossible. In Giants Stadium, if you don't hit the ball clean, the wind is going to be like an invisible hand and knock it down."
This is Landeta's second Super Bowl. He kicked for the Giants four years ago when they beat the Denver Broncos.
He said the main difference is that the team has had only one week to prepare. He said he didn't do much but rest up at the start of the week after the flight from San Francisco.
Landeta's girlfriend, Pamela Schmidt, and mother joined him yesterday. Landeta showed reporters pictures of Schmidt in a bikini and said: "She's so wonderful. I never thought I'd hear myself say I'd be happy with one [woman], but I am and probably will be for the rest of my life."
* Landeta is one of the three Baltimore natives in the game. The other two are Buffalo linebacker Carlton Bailey (Woodlawn), who played at North Carolina, and Giants linebacker Roger Brown (Cardinal Gibbons), who played at Virginia Tech. Brown, cut by the Green Bay Packers this season after being drafted in the eighth round, played in five regular-season games with the Giants and also was on the practice squad.
The other player with a Baltimore background is David Meggett of Towson State.
* The NFL Players Association held a news conference and Gene Upshaw, the executive director, said the NFLPA, which still maintains it's not a union, will continue its legal strategy and hopes to get to trial by August.
* Upshaw had a busy day. He was the left guard on the 27-member Silver Anniversary Super Bowl team that was introduced at a news conference. The four members from the San Francisco 49ers, Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, John Taylor and Ronnie Lott, didn't show up, although officials hope they'll arrive for ceremonies at the game.
* Leon Seals and Bruce Smith of the Bills are dealing with personal problems. Seals' mother died Saturday and Smith's father, George, 67, is in intensive care at a Norfolk, Va., hospital with a heart problems.
"I'm going to make sure I dedicate this game to my father," said Smith. "At the same time, until I can hear the doctor say he'll be OK, I cannot concentrate fully on this game."
Watch what you say
In last weekend's National Football League conference championship telecasts, NBC and CBS announcers were careful to avoid the war phrases that dot football language. ABC's announcers are certain to follow the same course Sunday.
"I don't know that war is a part of the vocabulary I rely on anyway," analyst Dan Dierdorf said this week. "But, yes, if by chance I say something during the telecast that in any way refers to war terminology, it'll be a mistake on my part. I'll try very hard not to do it."
As for the military using sports words to describe events in the Persian Gulf war (see article, Page 1E), ABC play-by-play man Al Michaels said: "War terms were created to describe action during actual conflicts, then they were taken by the sports world to analogize certain situations. Obviously, in this age of television, our troops have grown up listening to this vernacular."