NFL Playoffs

Shop Fantasy Central Golf Guide Free e-mail Travel Subscribe SI About Us
  Super Bowl Home
Other NFL News
Team Pages
  •Giants | Ravens
Depth Charts
  •Giants | Ravens
  •Giants | Ravens
SI's Super Bowl Archive
Conference Championships
Divisional Playoffs
 •Dolphins - Raiders
 •Eagles - Giants
 •Ravens - Titans
 •Saints - Vikings
Wild-Card Games
 •Broncos - Ravens
 •Colts - Dolphins
 •Rams - Saints
 •Bucs - Eagles

 Sportsman of the Year
 Heisman Trophy
 Swimsuit 2001

 Fantasy Central
 Inside Game
 Video Plus
 Your Turn
 Message Boards
 Email Newsletters
 Golf Guide
 Cities GROUP
 Sports Illustrated
 Life of Reilly
 SI Women
 SI for Kids
 Press Room
 TBS/TNT Sports
 CNN Languages

 SI Customer Service
 SI Media Kits
 Get into College
 Sports Memorabilia


In focus

Baltimore plans to be all business in Tampa

Click here for more on this story
Posted: Thursday January 18, 2001 9:47 AM
Updated: Thursday January 18, 2001 8:52 PM

  Tony Siragusa Tony Siragusa: "If you're lucky, you get a shot at being world champions. Maybe only one." Stephen Dunn/Allsport

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) -- All those knee operations, smashed fingers and jarring collisions are paying off for Baltimore defensive tackle Tony Siragusa, who after 11 years in the NFL will play in his first Super Bowl.

His sense of humor ought to be a big attraction on media day next week, and there's a very good chance the 350-pound "Goose" will sample the pasta at several Italian restaurants in Tampa.

But this is a business trip, and the immediate task for him and his teammates is to beat the New York Giants on Jan. 28.

"If you're lucky, you get a shot at being world champions. Maybe only one," Siragusa said. "Dan Marino went to the Super Bowl the second year he was in the league and never went back. You've got to grasp the moment when you can."

Fact: Franchises making their first trip to the Super Bowl are 8-16. Call it "The Happy to Be Here Phenomenon," and the 1998 Atlanta Falcons are a perfect case study.

First Date
How first-time Super Bowl teams fared
No.  Team 
Green Bay 
III  N.Y. Jets 
IX  Pittsburgh 
XVI  San Francisco 
XVIII  L.A. Raiders 
XX  Chicago 
XXI  N.Y. Giants 
XXXIV  St. Louis 
Kansas City 
II  Oakland 
III  Baltimore 
IV  Minnesota 
VI  Miami 
VII  Washington 
XII  Denver 
XIV  L.A. Rams 
XV  Philadelphia 
XVI  Cincinnati 
XX  New England 
XXV  Buffalo 
XXIX  San Diego 
XXXIII  Atlanta 
XXXIV  Tennessee 

The Falcons upset the heavily favored Minnesota Vikings on the road in the NFC Championship Game, then got beat handily by Denver in their initial Super Bowl appearance. The Falcons subsequently failed to reach .500 in each of the next two seasons.

Unlike Siragusa, Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister is in the Super Bowl in only his second season. But he knows it would be foolish to think that his presence in the game will become an annual event.

As far as he's concerned, this could be his only shot at obtaining the one bit of jewelry that every pro football player covets.

"It's not a guarantee I can ever get back to the Super Bowl," McAlister said. "The way football is, our team is not going to stand intact next year; with free agency, you have to expect some people to be gone. I want to make the most of this opportunity and walk away with a big ring with 35 diamonds on it."

If there's anyone on the Ravens who doesn't think that way, he'd better not let tight end Shannon Sharpe know about it. Sharpe, who has already played in two Super Bowls, isn't going to Tampa just to see friends or walk through a couple of amusement parks.

"You have to realize what you're going to Tampa for. Disney World is 45 minutes away, you've got Busch Gardens ... there are a lot of things that can distract your attention," he said. "But the main focus is to win a football game, and you cannot lose sight of that."

The Ravens Get Ready
Click the image to launch the clip's John Giannone shows us how the Baltimore Ravens are getting ready for the Super Bowl. Start
Multimedia Central
Visit Multimedia Central for all the latest video and audio.

No matter what happens in the Super Bowl, the Ravens (15-4) have already succeeded beyond their most optimistic expectations. Actually, the season became one for the books when they made the playoffs for the first time after going 24-39-1 since owner Art Modell moved the franchise from Cleveland in 1996.

If the Ravens were going to rest on their laurels, it could have happened against Denver in the wild-card game, or even more likely, last week in the AFC championship game against the Oakland Raiders, according to head coach Brian Billick.

"Having done what we did to get to Oakland -- winning on the road in Tennessee -- there could have a sense of, 'Well, we got to the championship game, win or lose, what the heck. We had a great year.' And it would have been a good year had we lost," Billick said. "But not the year we're capable of having."

Or, as cornerback Duane Starks put it: "It makes no sense to get to the playoffs if you're not going to play in the Super Bowl. And it makes no sense to play in the Super Bowl if you're not going to win it."

Related information
SI's Banks: Q & A with Ravens head coach Billick's Donovan: Ravens don't need big-number 'O'
Visit Multimedia Central for the latest audio and video
Search our site Watch CNN/SI 24 hours a day
Sports Illustrated and CNN have combined to form a 24 hour sports news and information channel. To receive CNN/SI at your home call your cable operator or DirecTV.

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


CNNSI   Copyright © 2001 CNN/Sports Illustrated. An AOL Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you. Read our privacy guidelines.