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Too, too much

It's the biggest event in the universe! As if you couldn't tell

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Posted: Wednesday January 27, 1999 01:21 PM


MIAMI (CNN/SI)-- The Super Bowl is all about excess.

An excess of words. An excess of statistics. An excess of money and pride and fun.

An excess of excess.

The Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos meet Sunday in Super Bowl XXXIII -- that's even an excess of Xs and Is -- and already, on the Tuesday before the big game, it is too much.

Some players on the Falcons, a team in this game for the first time in the 33-year history of the club, were seen returning to the team hotel Monday night after a night of excess as the early-morning joggers were headed out. Coach Dan Reeves, in his ninth Super Bowl as a player, assistant coach and head coach, has slapped a curfew on his squad for the remainder of the week.

But Monday, it was a chance to get in all the sights and sounds of Super Bowl week in Miami that were possible.

And many players, evidently, found the getting utterly possible.

From the Air
For being first-timers going through the first Super Bowl media day in team history, the Atlanta Falcons couldn't have handled it more perfectly. They loved it. They were definitely not overawed by the whole experience.

Bob Whitfield was hilarious. Chuck Smith was great. Ray Buchanan with the dog collar -- what was that all about? -- was wonderful. That's a great sign for the Falcons. They realize, as underdogs, they have nothing to lose.

And here's something else about these Falcons: I think that they think they're the better team. They really believe. -- Vince Cellini

"I wouldn't say it was anything special," Falcons kick returner Tim Dwight said of some of the Falcons' late-night/early-morning partying. "I mean, anytime you're out in Atlanta, you're out until 2 or 3 in the morning. So it was nothing special."

Maybe the only thing super-special about Monday -- normally a slow day for players during the season, generally followed by an off-day on Tuesday -- is that the players and coaches were required to show up at Pro Player Stadium on Tuesday morning for the annual Super Bowl ritual of excess called Media Day.

Media Day is a veritable exercise in excess, with thousands of media members looking for just the right sound bite -- and the players only too willing to cooperate.

Falcons offensive tackle Bob Whitfield took to the largest stage in sports and proved to be almost too big for it. At least one media member was seen putting his tape recorder down in front of Whitfield and then leaving.

The 6-foot-5, 310-pound Whitfield practically does the interview himself.

"It all started this morning," Whitfield boomed to the massive media, "when there was a 7:30 wakeup call -- which never happens on a Tuesday. But that's all right. There's warm weather and people wanting to hear what I have to say ..."

He then plugged his recording label, jokingly called teammate Ray Buchanan a "Teletubby," promised to have sex with a Comedy Central reporter -- and his cameraman -- and waxed semi-poetic on everything from his relationship with his teammates to his rules on being prepared for a television appearance.

"Always look in the mirror," he told anyone and everyone who was listening, "to make sure you don't have any boogies hanging out."

Definitely an excess of information.

The neophyte Falcons weren't the only ones at the overload biz on Tuesday. The Broncos, in this for the second straight year, showed that they, too, demand their bit of the spotlight.

And if you're talking Broncos, that means tight end Shannon Sharpe.

"Who is that?," he yelled at his older brother, Sterling, now one of a seemingly endless line of ESPN jocks-turned-broadcasters.

"You suck!," said his brother. "I raised you."

Shannon chuckled, maybe the only time this week he won't get in the last word.

Nobody knows excess, though, quite like the folks putting this game on television.

FOX Sports -- an excess of capital letters -- plans on using a Super Bowl record 31 cameras, 25 tape replay machines, a blimp and more than 15 miles of audio, fiber optic and video cable to broadcast the game and an excessively long pre-game show (try more than seven hours before kickoff) to more than 133 million viewers in more than 100 countries.

There are more numbers -- 300 people working in a 48,000-square foot compound, for instance -- but that's probably plenty.

And there is more, of course, to the Super Bowl excesses of the week. Dennis Rodman, for heaven's sake, is holding a party in Miami this week. Like there won't be anything overboard at that shindig.

What it all means is that, by Sunday at approximately 6:18 p.m. ET, everyone on the planet will be ready for kickoff.

The teams. The media. The fans. Everyone.

"I guarantee you one thing," said Sharpe, refusing to guarantee a win for the Broncos as Buchanan did for the Falcons earlier this week. "We will show up. And we will be ready to play."

Sharpe, it seems, exceeded his limit of guarantees by one. And the cliche limit by at least two.

Related information
Peter King's Super Bowl Diary: Tuesday
Get down, boogie in Miami!
Super Bowl XXXIII: By the Numbers
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