Embarrassed Rams quickly put out trash

Players regret taunting Bucs at end

Vermeil mum on retiring as champion

Super Bowl notebook

January 25, 2000|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

ATLANTA -- No more trash talking.

That seemed to be the message from the St. Louis Rams yesterday when they arrived at the site of Super Bowl XXXIV.

The Rams seemed embarrassed by the trash talking that marred the end of their emotional 11-6 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC title game Sunday.

Cornerback Todd Lyght, who acknowledged that he was one of the players taunting the Bucs, seemed apologetic.

"There was a lot of trash talking at the end of the game. The game doesn't need that," he said. "In retrospect, I wish I would have handled myself a little bit differently. It got to be bad. People make mistakes. You move on. You just try to be a better person. I regret it.

"I think players on both sides of the ball were out of control. You had a lot of emotion running very high at the moment. There was trash talking on both sides and tempers flared. We're very fortunate it didn't escalate."

Running back Marshall Faulk said he'll talk to his teammates about it this week.

"We haven't met as a group yet because things happened so fast, but I think when we get together we're going to curb that," he said. "You don't want this thing to be an ugly type of situation. The Super Bowl is one of the greatest sporting events ever. You want it to be a positive situation."

Coach Dick Vermeil already has mentioned it to the team and plans to bring it up again.

"I definitely get concerned about that," he said. "I don't necessarily say it was our players who were out of control. It was a combination of things going on. I've heard about a couple of things since that I indirectly addressed with the squad today.

"The cheapest thing as a pro football player is class. It doesn't cost anything. It doesn't cost a dime. Sometimes you can get so full of yourself and it ends up something like yesterday. I'm sure we were at fault in a few cases, but obviously we were not in every case in which something went on."

Vermeil also denied his team got cocky last week after routing Minnesota. "Maybe we as coaches didn't do as good a job as we have in the past and their coaches did a heck of a job," he said.

Jackson urges flag protest

The Rev. Jesse Jackson announced a campaign to encourage the Tennessee Titans and Rams to wear the American flag on their helmets during the Super Bowl to protest Georgia's flag.

The NFL said its rules prohibit such displays.

The state flag incorporates the Confederate battle flag, which symbolizes slavery and racial supremacy to many blacks and other minorities.

Georgia's flag bears the state seal on the left and a representation of the Confederate battle flag on the right.

Jackson said the organization does not plan to boycott the Super Bowl, but hopes that players will show their distaste for the flag by altering their uniforms.

Where's the extra week?

For the fifth time, the Super Bowl will be played one week after the conference title games.

It happened this year because the league pushed the season openers back a week to avoid low ratings on Labor Day weekend. The NFL eventually might push the Super Bowl to February so there can be two weeks off again after the conference title games.

Vermeil would prefer having two weeks to prepare.

"Would I rather have the extra week? Absolutely. No question. We played one heck of a football game yesterday, just like Tennessee did, and you want to put on the finest game in the country," he said.

Going out a champion?

Vermeil declined to say if there was any chance that he would retire if the Rams win on Sunday.

The club already has offensive coordinator Mike Martz ready to replace Vermeil, which is supposed to take place when Vermeil's current contract ends in two years.

"The game is not about me. It's about the Rams playing football Sunday," Vermeil said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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