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1999 Super Bowl XXXIII CNN/SI Front 1999 Super Bowl XXXIII 1999 Super Bowl XXXIII Falcons Broncos

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The Greatest

As kickoff finally approaches, the hype hits its zenith

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Posted: Saturday January 30, 1999 07:40 PM


MIAMI -- Now it's come to this. Now, it's come to Don King.

Or, more accurately, Don King has come to it.

"It's great to be an American," he booms as he strides across the lobby at the Hyatt Regency in downtown on Saturday. "Hey, darling. Hi, sweetheart. No, I'm not stopping no more. Got places to be. It's GREAT to be an American."

The superhype of Super Bowl week has hit its zenith, with the man who has taken hype into a veritable hyposphere making his Miami rounds.

Of course this has nothing to do with Super Bowl XXXIII. But the Super Bowl is the biggest stage in all of sports.

You try to keep King away.

The Denver Broncos and the upstart Atlanta Falcons are still about 24 hours away from kickoff. But this town -- at least the part of it that cares about the game -- is about as wired as it can get.

From the Air
CNN/SI's Inga Hammond
Injuries can play a big part in any game. But they could absolutely blow out the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday in Super Bowl XXXIII.

The one person the Falcons absolutely can not afford to lose is quarterback Chris Chandler. If Chandler has to leave the game, the Falcons would be in the hands of 45-year-old quarterback Steve DeBerg.

DeBerg started one game this season, against the New York Jets, and it proved to be one of the team's two losses.

The Denver Broncos, on the other hand, have Bubby Brister backing up John Elway. If you have to pick between a team led by Brister or one led by DeBerg ... Well, Steve DeBerg's a nice story, but the level of play of the Falcons really drops off with him in there.

If you're a Falcons' fan, you better root for that offensive line to keep Chandler upright and healthy. -- Inga Hammond

South Beach is packed every night, with the causeway leading from downtown Miami into the party part of town backed up for most of the night. The major hotels are filled, or near it, and a seat at the famous South Beach eatery Joe's Stone Crab is harder to find that an idle taxi.

You can't walk through a hotel lobby, either, without someone semi-whispering "Extra tickets?" in your face.

Unless, of course, you're King.

Meanwhile, the teams have put all the hype behind them, it seems, ending a relatively quiet week of Super Bowl preparation.

"We haven't had any fines or anybody late for curfew the whole week," coach Dan Reeves of the Falcons boasted on Friday in his last tete-a-tete with his 1,000 or so media buddies in town. "Everybody should be ready to go. We haven't had any incidents as far as our players are concerned -- except maybe some of them said a few more things than they should have. But you can't keep that from happening. Or I can't keep that from happening."

Both teams were scheduled for light walkthroughs Saturday afternoon, the last real preparation for the 6:18 p.m. ET kickoff Sunday. Then, both the Falcons and Broncos will retire, in a virtual lockdown, to their respective hotels. Instead of switching hotels for the final night, as many teams do, the Falcons are sticking around at the airport Hilton and the Broncos will continue their stay in a Hyatt up near Fort Lauderdale.

"Our football team is ready to play," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said Friday. "I wish we could play today."

With all the Super Bowl participants trying to get a good night's rest, all the fans in town are going to have to find someone else to party with. Say, other NFL players (many of whom are in town for the players' party and a video game competition); assorted athletes (did we mention Dennis Rodman?); a few musicians (Cher is singing the national anthem, Gloria Estefan and Stevie Wonder headline the halftime show).

And, of course, Don King.

Wherever it is he fits in.

Related information
Falcons' Chandler beating image, opponents
Falcons' Mathis using Super Bowl week to make impact
Denver's low-profile O-line has high standards
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