Dispelling few Super Bowl myths: Media circus not of high-wire set

January 22, 1993|By Gil Lebreton | Gil Lebreton,Fort Worth Star-Telegram

At the Super Bowl in Tampa, Fla., two years ago, Downtown Julie Brown, of MTV fame, showed up on Photo Day wearing a minidress that was barely longer than her earrings.

Now, that's a distraction.

At the Super Bowl in New Orleans in 1986, a TV helicopter hovered too close to the Bears' closed practice session. Chicago quarterback Jim McMahon dropped his pants and showed them the moon over Miami.

Now, that's a distraction.

At Pontiac, Mich., in 1982, it was so cold during Super Bowl week that the time/temperature clock outside NFL hotel headquarters kept blinking, "1 ... 1 ... 1 ..."

That, too, is a distraction.

There are a variety of things that can distract a football team during the days leading up to the Super Bowl, as the Dallas Cowboys are about to discover. But the media shouldn't be one of them.

It's a myth. The Super Bowl is laden with myths. And herewith, we shall endeavor to lay some of these myths to rest.

Myth: The Media Circus.

You will hear this one early and often leading up to the big game. Jimmy Johnson already has fired a preemptive strike in our direction, warning the Cowboys about the evils of posing for the cover of "Time."

MA But how would Jimmy know? This ain't no Orange Bowl. The only

way that Coach Jimmy would know about the "constant media distractions" is that he constantly hears about the phenomenon from the media itself. People like, well, Downtown Julie Brown.

The truth is, the National Football League is so orderly, commissioner Paul Tagliabue's Super Bowl crew could probably dispense box lunches to most of Somalia during halftime. Thus, the two teams' daily interview sessions are carefully scripted -- 60 minutes or so with the media on Tuesday, followed by 45-minute sessions next Wednesday and Thursday.

And that's it. No minicam escorts from the practice field, because practices are bolted shut. No up-close-and-personal interviews with Tony Casillas, because to get to him at the Cowboys' hotel, you'll have to negotiate a squadron of dim-bulb security temporaries.

The Cowboys will actually spend less time talking to the media next week than they do at Valley Ranch during the regular season. Therefore, if you hear a player grump next week, remember that no one forced him to get up at 7 a.m., New York time, to do that live shot with "Regis and Kathie Lee."

Want to know who -- not the media -- distracts players most

during Super Bowl week? Wives, kids and long-lost "cousins" calling for tickets.

Myth: Super Bowl Experience.

If playing in the big game mattered, how do you explain the Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills?

I'll tell you what true Super Bowl experience means to a team. A real Super Bowl veteran shows up at the interview sessions the way that Jack "Hacksaw" Reynolds did at Super Bowl XVI. Reynolds distributed mimeographed sheets that read, "How I got the name 'Hacksaw,' " to all who asked the dreaded question.

Myth: AFC Inferiority.

Admittedly, there is some truth to this time-honored myth. No AFC franchise but Al Davis' Raiders has won the big game since the Steelers' dynasty of the '70s.

In fact, if Buffalo wins next week, instead of the traditional I'm-going-to-DisneyWorld announcement, the Bills plan to ask, "Are we on 'Candid Camera' or something?"

Myth: Super Bowl as an Instrument for World Peace.

Clearly, this is the work of those star-spangled, Up With People, 12-foot Goofy halftime shows, although this year's could be different if Michael Jackson starts clubbing windshields and clutching his trousers.

The Super Bowl will be beamed to more than 90 foreign countries. Millions worldwide will see the Super Bowl as a shining manifestation of our American culture.

E9 Hopefully, the helicopters will keep a safe distance.

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