The Greatest makes Super appearance
Muhammad Ali in Atlanta to watch game, Tyson fight
Posted: Saturday January 29, 2000 07:46 PM
Muhammad Ali electrified the crowd with his appearance at the 1996 Olympic games. Michael Cooper/Allsport
ATLANTA (AP) -- Muhammad Ali knew when to leave the Mike Tyson fight.
The three-time heavyweight champion, in town for the Super Bowl, left Tyson's fight with Julius Francis after the first round. Tyson knocked out Francis 1:03 into the second round.
Ali, whose trembling hand lighted the Olympic flame at the Atlanta Games in 1996, wouldn't take sides in the game between St. Louis and Tennessee.
"I'm looking for a good game," Ali said.
Ali was staying at a downtown hotel and dropped into the lounge of the media workroom to take in the fight from Manchester, England. Ali shadowboxed in front of the television while watching the first round, in which Tyson knocked Francis down twice.
A live broadcast was beamed into the lounge. It was to be shown at 11 p.m. EST on tape delay on Showtime.
Tragedy too close to home for Horan
Mike Horan has more on his mind than facing the Tennessee Titans on Super Bowl Sunday.
The St. Louis punter, who lives in Littleton, Colo., during the offseason, will never shake the memory of the massacre at Columbine High School. The school is visible from Horan's porch, and he drives past the home of one of the victims every time he visits his mother-in-law.
"I think about it every day," Horan said.
The April 20 shootings left dead 14 students, including the two teen-age gunmen, and one teacher. In honor of the victims, Horan wore a blue Columbine cap this week as players talked to the media before the Super Bowl.
"Things like [Columbine] happen only in a war and a place like Vietnam that the majority of us have never seen," Horan said. "Yet it was thrust upon [these children], and they had no choice in the matter."
Horan, who has three children, ages 10, 11 and 14, said he remembers hearing about the shootings while working as a loan officer near the Denver Broncos' training site. He went home immediately to check on his children, even though they were not Columbine students.
"We told them we loved them, told them we cared about them and their safety, and that we want to constantly be in communication, because we don't want to see something like that happen again," he said.
Titanic advantage in Jacksonville
Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher, who beat the Jacksonville Jaguars three times this season, isn't above zinging his AFC Central foes.
Asked Friday about playing in four stadiums in three cities the past four seasons, Fisher took aim at the team he beat in the AFC championship game, the Titans' third victory over the Jaguars this season.
"Some would say we've had five home stadiums in four years if you include Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville," Fisher said.
His Titans are 5-1 in Jacksonville.
MVP could've been behind the mike
Kurt Warner once thought broadcasting was his ticket to the Super Bowl.
In providing a look at Warner's high school yearbook, SportsHuddle.com, a high school sports Web site, discovered that the St. Louis Rams quarterback also preferred basketball to football.
"Kurt Warner wants to go into broadcasting [as] ... yep, you guessed it, a sports broadcaster," read his biography in the 1989 yearbook from Regis High School of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "Warner's infatuation with sports could continue forever if he makes it in that field."
Warner's high school coach, Gaylord Hauschildt, said that "Kurt's first love was basketball. Between his sophomore and junior years, he went to four basketball camps and no football camps. I asked him to attend a football camp, but he said, 'Coach, I can't.'"
SportsHuddle.com will donate $2,500 to the former high school of the winning quarterback from Sunday's game. Steve McNair went to Mount Olive (Miss.) High.
Sage helps Rams burn opponents
A member of the St. Louis media said the Rams stopped losing when he started burning sage as a good-luck charm.
Howard Balzer of Pro Football Weekly and all-sports station KFNS said he got the idea from a psychic who told him before the season that the team was surrounded by "negative energy" brought from somewhere else. The Rams moved from Anaheim, Calif., in 1995.
He's been burning the herb before kickoff since the final preseason game, and the Rams are 15-3 after going 4-12 last season.
"It works," Balzer said. "I don't know why, but it works."
Balzer's practice almost got him into trouble earlier this week at the NFL media center, which has a no-smoking rule. Security personnel smelled the odor and suspected someone was smoking marijuana.
Balzer said he escaped detection by quickly extinguishing the sage and shoving it under a table.
The second issue of NFL Insider magazine will double as the official game program for Sunday's Super Bowl.
NFL Insider, which debuted last fall with a preview issue, will have analyses of the Super Bowl teams, a recap of the 1999 season and a lineup of feature stories.
The features include an All-Super Bowl team, profiles of Joe Montana and Scott Norwood, remembrances of Walter Payton and Vince Lombardi and a ranking of the best Super Bowl ads.
Former Titan sticking with his guys
Willie Davis, who survived Tennessee's move from Houston and the seasons in Memphis and at Nashville's Vanderbilt Stadium, will be watching his former teammates play Sunday on television.
The receiver was waived last February as the Titans looked for room under the salary cap, and he now operates several businesses in Houston. A close friend of linebacker Joe Bowden, Davis said he is picking the Titans to win the Super Bowl.
"I always knew they had the talent to do it. I guess it was getting settled in Nashville. I want to see them win it," he said.
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