Bills also will talk loudest on field

January 24, 1992|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Correspondent

MINNEAPOLIS -- All week, the Washington Redskins have been a model in Super Bowl decorum. No tantrums, no controversies, no no-shows.

The Buffalo Bills, on the other hand, haven't stopped complaining since they touched down in this winter wonderland Monday night. These aren't the Bickering Bills any longer, they're the Brash Bills.

In rapid-fire order, you heard Bruce Smith talk about getting out of Buffalo, Thurman Thomas talk about how little acclaim he has gotten, and Ralph C. Wilson Jr. talk about how he needs a more lucrative lease at Rich Stadium.

That's the defensive player of the year from 1990, this year's most valuable player in the NFL, and the owner of the AFC's best team. And these guys have something to complain about here in Super Bowl XXVI?

The talking will cease Sunday, for some three hours, anyway, when the Redskins and Bills square off in the 72-degree comfort of the Metrodome to determine the world championship of pro football.

That's when the Bills will actually talk the loudest.

This is a team of big egos and bigger talents. It is a team that has carried a torch since Scott Norwood was wide right from 47 yards last January in Tampa and the New York Giants stole a 20-19 victory in Super Bowl XXV.

It is a team that is finally going to live up to its own glorious expectations. The Bills should win in one of the more entertaining Super Bowls, 41-35.

Here's why:

* The no-huddle offense will bounce back from its embarrassing performance against Denver in the AFC championship game to raze the Redskins' defense. This isn't one of those one-dimensional, run-and-shoot (your foot off) offenses. It's balanced. Thomas is even quicker with his feet than his mouth. He will give the Redskins fits both in the running game and on third down. And quarterback Jim Kelly is due for a big game. He has thrown for three touchdowns and five interceptions in two playoff games.

Since going to the no-huddle last season, the Bills have increased the number of plays they can call from it.

"We've added more plays to it, added more running plays," said Ted Marchibroda, the Bills' offensive coordinator. "Jim is able to audible more running plays than he has in the past."

* The Redskins, under assistant head coach/defense Richie Petitbon, rely heavily on situation substitution. They like to match up their best players for certain situations. Against the no-huddle, that will be hard to do. And Petitbon's defenders won't be used to the faster pace.

"It can pose a problem for them," Kelly said of the fast-tempo game. "Some of their guys are a little older. We want to get the offense going, keep them on the field for 10, 11 plays, and tire them out. We're used to doing it, they're not. That's really the only advantage we see, is getting the fast-paced offense going, and maybe tire them out a little bit."

Said Petitbon, "The fatigue factor will enter into the football game. . . . [the no-huddle] wears the big guys out. It seems to be more tiring on the defense than it is on the offense."

* The artificial carpet will play to Buffalo's advantage. With the exception of cornerback Darrell Green, the Redskins aren't blessed with blazing speed. The Bills have two very quick receivers in James Lofton and Don Beebe, and their go-to guy in Andre Reed.

"If I had a preference, I'd play on natural grass," said Redskins defensive end Charles Mann. "I imagine Buffalo would have the edge on turf. I think they played 14 games on it this year and we played five."

* The redemption factor has motivated the Bills all season. Kelly said he still hasn't watched the tape of last year's Super Bowl.

"It's something you work so hard for and to watch it over again would just eat away at your heart," he said. "I know it ate out my heart for four, five months."

The Bills know that unless they win a Super Bowl, they'll just be part of the answer to a trivia question: Which teams never won a Super Bowl game while appearing more than once?

Redemption is a big item, too, for Norwood, the Bills' place-kicker who has lived under the cloud of his missed 47-yarder for a year now. In the playoffs, he is 4-for-4, including field goals of 44 and 47 yards.

Nobody would enjoy a Buffalo victory more than Norwood.

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