Before we get to our annual Chia Pet/Clapper Super Bowl quiz, I would like to say one last thing to the Pittsburgh Steelers: I hate you more than I hate the Buffalo Bills, the O.J. defense team or the cast of Friends.
You could have made it so easy for everyone. Each year the international press corps converges on the Super Bowl with just two goals in mind: drink enough free beer to drown a water buffalo, and create the illusion that things might just be different in the game this time. It's our job to convince the public that the AFC representative has a chance, and if only you guys had won the conference championship, we might have pulled it off.
The Bills were dead, and the stage was set. For two weeks we would have expounded on your great defense, your vaunted ground game and your rich tradition of winning Super Bowls. The San Francisco 49ers would have been favored by a scant 14 points. All you had to do was knock off the San Diego Chargers—in your own lousy stadium.
Now we're faced with the most lopsided Super Bowl since, well, the last Super Bowl. Say what you will about the Bills, but at least they waited until kickoff before they spoiled the party.
O.K., it's quiz time. Good luck and god bless the Super Bowl.
I. Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher knew his players were in danger of looking past San Diego when:
(a) They began work on a Super Bowl rap video.
(b) They ran up into the stands before the game and bought a program to find out whom they were playing.
(c) They asked him to explain what Natrone means.
II. In order for Deion Sanders to be called for a penalty in the Super Bowl, he would have to:
(a) Violate the NFL's strict dress code by wearing his socks a half inch lower than required.
(b) Dump a bucket of ice water on Dan Dierdorf's head.
III. The most obvious sign that the Super Bowl ticket you purchased may be counterfeit is:
(a) NFL is spelled wrong.
(b) It looks an awful lot like a yellow Post-it note with the words SUPER BOWL TICKET written on it in Magic Marker.
(c) The seller was asking $1,200, but you talked him down to $8 and your Timex watch.
IV. Kathie Lee Gifford landed the prestigious honor of singing the national anthem because:
(a) Frank agreed to watch the kids.
(b) Zamfir, the master pan flutist, was booked.
(c) Regis put in a word for her.
V. Steve Young finally gained the respect of football fans everywhere when he:
(a) Mooned a TV news helicopter.
(b) Made a rap video.
(c) Pancaked a half-dozen photographers after winning the NFC title game.
VI. The least popular attraction at the NFL Experience exhibit this year is:
(a) Smell a Genuine NFL Locker Room.
(b) Mild Concussions for the Kids.
(c) Anabolic Steroids and How to Mask Them.
VII. The dumbest question you'll hear this week is:
(a) "Leslie? Ain't that a girl's name?"
(b) "How long have you been a Mormon quarterback?"
(c) "How much bigger do you think the spread would be if you still had Joe Montana?"
VIII. According to a hot rumor out of San Francisco, 49er coach George Seifert will get fired unless he:
(a) Dyes his hair and loses the shades.
(b) Learns to line dance.
(c) Quits and takes a job with FOX for a year.
IX. The only reason football writers resent the presence of ESPN reporter Downtown Julie Brown at press conferences is:
(a) Howie Long never lets them sit on his lap.
(b) She never asks any questions about focus, respect or defensive intensity.
(c) They don't have the guts to wear one of those cone-shaped Madonna bras.
X. The most commonly heard comment from the locals in the Miami area will be:
(a) "Can't we get a quarterback like this Humphries guy?"
(b) "Two beers and a plate of nachos. That'll be $97.50."
(c) "Hey, look. It's those two guys from the McDonald's commercials. Let's get 'em."