Forget all the speculation that coach Bill Parcells might walk away from the New York Giants away coaching his team to his second Super Bowl victory in the past five years.
Parcells, who has said all along that he'd wait until after the season to decide on his future amid much speculation that he might try to go to another team or retire, tried to get permission to leave the Giants two days after the Giants won the Super Bowl after the 1986 season.
That's not going to happen this time, Parcells said after yesterday's 20-19 victory over the Buffalo Bills.
"The last time we won one of these, there was a little controversy about me and it didn't allow my owners and general manager to enjoy this very much. They're going to enjoy this one, I promise you. There's not going to be any controversy," he said.
The controversy last time was that Parcells tried to get out of his contract to become the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons for a big contract.
The Giants denied him permission to leave, but his action got the team's off-season off to a sorry start and the team started out 0-2 in 1987.
Parcells has one year left on his contract, but there had been speculation that he was going to try somehow to get out of the contract and get the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' job.
* The second one was sweeter, said Giants tight end Mark Bavaro.
"Because I never thought I'd get back here again," he said after the Giants' victory over the Bills.
Bavaro, bothered by a bad left knee after two operations last year, said his knee "feels great," and he said he wasn't thinking about retiring despite speculation that his knee problems would prompt him to end a career that is only 6 years old.
"I've never said anything about retiring," he said. "I don't plan on retiring. But I don't know what the future holds. None of us know what the future holds. Let's just say I hope I'm here next year."
Did it bother Bavaro that Buffalo had to miss a field-goal try for the Giants to win?
"When we get that ring," he said, "it's not going to say, 'Won on missed field goal.'"
* The opening drive of the game set the tone for Buffalo's no-huddle offense, which failed to produce points on the Bills' first possession for only the fourth time in 13 games.
Jim Kelly threw an incompletion on the first play, then hit Andre Reed for gains of 4 and 5 yards on the next two. Eventually the Giants' ability to control the ball and keep Buffalo's no-huddle offense on the sidelines helped New York wear down the Bills defense.
"If we had it to do all over again, we might have tried to do some things differently," Bills wide receiver James Lofton said. "We tried to run what got us here, and they did a very good job of stopping it. . . . I don't think we should second-guess ourselves."
* The safety the Bills scored when Bruce Smith sacked Hostetler in the end zone midway through the second quarter was the fifth in Super Bowl history.
* Place-kicker Matt Bahr is described in the Giants' postseason media guide as an aggressive player who was "in on" three tackles during the regular season and one in the playoffs. He made two more kick coverage tackles Sunday, preventing potential long gainers by Don Smith and Al Edwards, who were brought down at the Bills' 34 and 40.
* War and football usually don't mix, but they were intermingled in two of the most poignant stories of the Super Bowl this year.
They involve an 8-year-old girl, Heidi Hill, and a 23-year-old mechanic, Barry Small, who are both from Tampa.
Hill, a 4-foot-2 blonde, has been studying dance for four years and won a spot dancing in the Disney-sponsored halftime show at the Super Bowl.
You would expect her mother to be beaming, but she won't be in Tampa to share the experience.
Her mother, Spec. Cindy Hill Schrum, 29, is in Saudi Arabia since being called to duty in the Persian Gulf on Nov. 28.
She has reared her daughter alone since her husband died in an auto accident five years ago.
Her grandmother, Jackie Roberts, said Heidi has missed the past several calls from her mother because she's either been in school or practicing.
"She'd like to come home," Roberts said. "She said it's scary."
She added, "Heidi's scared, too."
Heidi's cousin, Ashley Hill, 11, said: "She said to me, 'Ashley, what would you do if your mommy was in Saudi Arabia and your daddy was dead?' I felt so sad for her."
Meanwhile, Small was thrilled Wednesday when he won two tickets to the Super Bowl in a contest sponsored by the Tampa Tribune.
His elation didn't last long. On the same day, he got a Mailgram ordering him to report Jan. 31 to Fort Jackson, S.C., for deployment to the gulf.
Small completed a four-year stint in the Army a year ago Monday. He was a member of the inactive reserves, and he never expected to be called up so soon.
* The city of Tampa had a split personality last weekend.
Despite the somber background because of the war and all the security at Tampa Stadium, there was a lot of celebrating.
Police estimated that 150,000 people downtown streets Saturday for the first Bomboleo parade, a celebration of Tampa's cultural diversity.
Tampa originally told the National Football League it would move up its Gasparilla festival to Super Bowl week when it was awarded the game on May 20, 1987.
It turned out that Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla members are an all-white group. When they refused to integrate the club immediately, they called off their festival.
It was replaced by a new event called the Bamboleo. It describes a hip-swaying Latin-American dance to rhythms of Afro-Cuban orgins.