Sun King can melt chill of city Super bid

September 05, 1996|By Ken Rosenthal

Now we're not going to doubt John Moag. The last time we did that, he up and stole the Browns, bringing the NFL back to Baltimore and giving the rest of Western civilization a nervous breakdown.

If the master team thief thinks he can bring a Super Bowl to Baltimore, then NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue should assign a 24-hour security guard to the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Moag stands at least a snowball's chance in, uh . . . the NFL.

Why?

Because it's payback time, sports fans.

Here's Tagliabue's chance to prove he doesn't hate Baltimore. And here's his chance to prove he isn't a powerless commissioner.

It's one thing to railroad expansion into Charlotte and Jacksonville when none of the owners care.

Let's see Tags persuade them to come to Baltimore in January -- a minor sacrifice, seeing as how we helped the league get four new stadiums.

All right, maybe not such a minor sacrifice, seeing as how we had a blizzard last winter.

Details, details.

They always get in the way.

Still, the Ravens, Washington Redskins, Cincinnati Bengals and the new Cleveland Browns all will have Baltimore to thank for their new playpens, whether directly or indirectly.

Deliver us, Sun King!

Never mind the rules.

Just change them, the way you did in expansion.

Heck, if Billy Payne could convince the International Olympic Committee that Atlanta in the summer is like Paris in the spring, then Moag could say that the "Bal" in Baltimore stands for balmy -- yes, even in January.

Would the owners believe him?

The day Robert Irsay apologizes.

The day Jack Kent Cooke finds a quarterback.

The day Art Modell becomes mayor of Cleveland.

But it's worth a shot.

In fact, Moag met with Tagliabue on July 22 to discuss the idea at the league's New York headquarters.

Of course, when last we left Tags, he was stiffing Baltimore for Charlotte and Jacksonville, two Sun Belt cities no one ever heard of.

Now he's going to give us a Super Bowl?

Well, we were going to hold the Grey Cup, weren't we?

Actually, Baltimore would be a lock if it were building a domed stadium. Then, the city could have not only a Super Bowl, but also a Final Four and political conventions, not to mention tractor pulls and Wrestlemania.

Alas, a dome is too costly.

Thus, it's difficult to imagine the Sun King choosing a city that was hit by more than 60 inches of snow last January, especially when the game would be outdoors.

Unless he's feeling like, really guilty.

All right, really, really guilty.

All right, don't count on it.

Moag could argue that the previous January was one of the warmest on record, with temperatures reaching the 70s.

Not that the owners care about such things, but the wide variance would create new and exciting betting possibilities for Las Vegas: Over-under on temperature.

Over-under on snowfall.

Over-under on how many times Cooke slips on ice -- be it the natural variety, or the kind created by Baltimore fans carrying hoses.

In truth, a Snow Bowl would be great fun, and the game might actually be interesting for once.

Heck, the Buffalo Bills might even win.

Just imagine the frenzy of Super Bowl Week. Frostbite alerts. Space-heater controversies. Corporate tents sprouting all over the frozen Inner Harbor.

The perfect Baltimore matchup would be Ravens-Redskins, but there would be other rich possibilities:

Indianapolis vs. (fill in the blank) -- we booed the home team off the field in the 1993 All-Star Game, why not at a Super Bowl?

Green Bay vs. San Diego -- the ultimate cold-weather team could win by forfeit.

Minnesota vs. Seattle -- neither dome team would show.

Carolina vs. Jacksonville -- no one in Baltimore would show.

If Miami made it, Jimmy Johnson could tease the media by debating whether to mess up his hair with a woolen cap.

No matter which teams made it, Nike could introduce its new cold-weather shoe, Air Frigid.

Granted, the NFL makes gobs of money putting on a dull show in a warm-weather climate every year.

Granted, the thought of a Super Bowl in Baltimore is preposterous -- but then, so was the thought of stealing the Browns from Cleveland.

Moag pulled that one off.

Now that he's in cahoots with his new best friend Paul "Hon King" Tagliabue, who would dare doubt him again?

You owe us, Tags.

Give us a Super Bowl, and we'll build that museum.

Pub Date: 9/05/96

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