Seems like old times
Reeves' comments rekindle feud with Elway, Shanahan
Posted: Sunday January 24, 1999 03:28 PM
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CNN/SI) -- As soon as the Broncos-Falcons Super Bowl matchup was set, the main storyline for the game also became clear: it was the sometimes-volatile relationship between Atlanta coach Dan Reeves, Denver coach Mike Shanahan and Broncos quarterback John Elway.
The only question was whether any of the three major players in the drama would put a present-day spin on a feud that goes back almost a decade. It took Reeves just a few days to show that his old wounds have yet to heal.
"The biggest problem I had was that if John Elway had a problem with me, and you're coaching his position, why did I not know that prior to reading that in the paper," Reeves said last week.
Countered Shanahan: "I thought we were both going to take the high road on this. Dan Reeves knew his relationship with John. There's no ifs, ands or buts about it. It was a tough relationship from the second year, from the first year. Everybody in this town knows that."
If anyone in Denver didn't know about the hostilities last week, they now know all about them.
"It wasn't a fun time," Elway admitted. "It was a tough time for everybody. It's one of those things you wish didn't have to happen, but it did, and nobody can change what happened there."
Players who have been on the sidelines with all three tried to offer reasons why the bitterness between the three had resurfaced.
"Obviously, this has been eating at Dan for a long time, and this is something he felt he had to say to get off his chest," said Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe, who played under Reeves for three seasons in Denver. "Maybe now, we can move past that -- him, John and Mike."
Elway tried to deflect some of the controversy, focusing on the success the Broncos had and not the conflicts exposed within the team.
"Bygones are bygones, and that was six years ago," Elway said. "I've moved on, and I concentrate on the good times. The focus has been on the bad times, but we had a hell of a lot more good times when I was here than we did bad times."
Shanahan responded to Reeves' comments, but stressed his desire to keep the focus on this year's players and not arguments from years past.
"This game, as I've said before, is much bigger than Mike Shanahan or Dan Reeves," Shanahan said. "It's everything we've been working for from a team standpoint."
It's been suggested that maybe Reeves chose to make these comments this week to try to divert attention from his team, which is appearing in the Super Bowl for the very first time. Whatever Reeves' motivation was, one thing is certain -- this story is only going to get bigger.
The scene now shifts from the individual cities to Miami, site of the Super Bowl and all of the hype that goes along with it. Certainly everyone will be on the lookout for the first meeting between Reeves and Shanahan, who said this week he would be willing to shake Reeve's hand after the game, though he said as far as he's concerned, their relationship is beyond repair.
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