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Original Issue


Well, other than The Gloom Of War, and the commissioner's party being canceled, and Eastern Airlines folding two days before Giants and Bills fans knew their teams would be heading for Tampa, and Elvis not showing up to sing at halftime as the supermarket tabloid The Sun had said he would, and New Kids on the Block showing up just as they had threatened, and construction crews erecting a six-foot chain-link fence around Tampa Stadium and a concrete barrier around the fence for security reasons, and fans not being able to bring TVs, radios, cameras, camcorders, beepers, cellular phones, umbrellas, coolers, bottles or cans into the stadium, and 73,813 ticket holders filing through only four gates so they could be scanned for weapons as they passed through 68 stadium turnstiles, and parents pulling 20 children from the Disney halftime show for fear of terrorism, and the man walking around The Shops at Harbour Island with a sign on his chest that read DESERT STORM—BOUND RESERVIST NEEDS 2 TICKETS, and the real sun making almost as few appearances as Elvis, and Lyn Gay of Tampa sitting in her nearly empty gift shop saying, "Tourists? We haven't seen tourists in two weeks," and Bills running back Thurman Thomas saying, "I tried to go shopping but they don't have anything [to buy] here," and a reporter starting a question to Buffalo quarterback Jim Kelly by saying, "Joe...," and the Bills having a tragic week with defensive end Leon Seals's mother dying, defensive end Bruce Smith's father suffering a breathing attack that put him in intensive care and running back Don Smith's wife checking into a hospital with pregnancy complications, and security being so tight at the two team hotels that fans weren't allowed within a 1,000-yard season of the players, and Giants linebacker Gary Reasons saying, "I don't think this is the event it's been in the past. It's a go-through-the-motions Super Bowl. The hotel won't let us see any of our fans," and the deployment of more than 1,500 uniformed and plainclothes security guards at the stadium, and the FAA banning aircraft from flying over the stadium (the Fuji and Sea World blimps were left to float around peevishly like punished dogs), and one NFL executive saying privately, "We just want to get this thing over with," and Waylon Jennings stiffing Regis and Kathie Lee, and football fans at Tampa's Club Paradise—the nation's largest nudist hotel and resort—entering the club's Super Bowl pool and then not knowing what to do with the little betting slips, and Minnie and Mickey Mouse getting booted from the media work area at the Tampa Convention Center with the security man explaining, "We've got a no-rodent policy," and the guard at the stadium telling ESPN's Andrea Kremer, "I watch you every day," as he ran the metal detector over her clothing, and the Super Carnivale de Ybor—boasting the World's Longest Conga Line—turning out to be a Super Carnivale de Big Bore with a policeman describing it as "one float, two parades and a stinky conga line that went about three people and then totally fell apart," and K.C. and the Sunshine Band playing in town, and Chita Rivera, Chuck Norris, Lynn Swann and Miss USA no-showing at the Bamboleo Festival, and the whole week containing all the fun, charm and pageantry of a radiator-hose and fan-belt convention...other than all that, it was a terrific Super Bowl.



A reminder of the extraordinary security hovered over the pregame show.