Dungy and Smith embrace moment

Notebook

February 03, 2007|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,Sun reporter

MIAMI -- Once again, the Indianapolis Colts' Tony Dungy and Chicago Bears' Lovie Smith made Super Bowl history.

Only 57 hours before kickoff, the first two black head coaches in the Super Bowl - and two close friends - met briefly at yesterday's news conference, which is an unusual occurrence for the event. It is believed to be the first time coaches have posed with the championship trophy before the game.

When the photo session ended, they shook hands and hugged.

"That was an awesome moment," Dungy said, "not only because of what that symbolized for African-American people and African-American coaches, but more than that because of who I was standing with. It's just a very, very proud moment for me."

Dungy said this would be the last time he will have any contact with Smith before the Super Bowl. He said there are no plans for the two coaches to call each other or have dinner.

The wait is over

No one knows about the difficulties of winning a Super Bowl more than Colts general manager Bill Polian.

He has never won an NFL title in 18 seasons as a general manager with the Colts, Carolina Panthers and Buffalo Bills. His teams have been to the playoffs 12 times and played in six conference championship games.

When Polian was with the Bills, they lost the Super Bowl three straight times (1990-1992). The Bills lost a fourth straight after Polian left to run the Panthers.

"I think you feel the same way every time you get here," Polian said. "It's a thrill, an honor and it's what you play for."

Getting in gear

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves was invited by Dungy to talk to the Colts last night.

"Helio and I have become good friends," Dungy said. "He let me in his pit when they were getting ready for the 500. That's a big stage, the Super Bowl of their sport. I want him to address the team a little bit about what it means to win the biggest game in your sport. He's also a big Colts fan, so it'll be a win-win situation for us."

Goodell speaks

The misbehavior of some players was the main topic of commissioner Roger Goodell's first Super Bowl news conference. He also talked about concussions, insisting a player's health takes precedence over football issues.

Referring to a spate of player arrests and the shooting death of Denver Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams, Goodell said, "We have to do something about it; it's a mutually important issue.

"We have to educate our players to the issues out there," he said yesterday. "We are raised to a higher standard in the NFL. We must make sure the players are more accountable and our clubs are more accountable."

End zone

Former Ravens receiver Brandon Stokley, who caught a 38-yard touchdown in the Super Bowl six years ago, is on the Colts' injured reserve (Achilles' tendon). ... Former Ravens quarterback Trent Dilfer said the Indianapolis defense - which primarily plays a cover-two scheme - is "as vanilla as any defense I've ever seen in the NFL except for Minnesota when Tony [Dungy] was the coordinator there. It's mind-boggling how vanilla they are." ... Each member of the winning team at this year's Super Bowl receives $78,000, or $5,000 more than each of the Pittsburgh Steelers received after winning last season's championship. The losing players get $40,000 apiece, or $2,000 more than the Seattle Seahawks got in 2006. ... This is the ninth Super Bowl in Southern Florida and the fourth at Dolphin Stadium.

jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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