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Fighting temptation

Preparing for Super Bowl only half the battle for Collins

Click here for more on this story
Posted: Thursday January 25, 2001 7:53 PM

  Kerry Collins Kerry Collins has been forthright in answering questions about his troubled past. AP

By Josie Karp,

TAMPA, Fla. -- For Kerry Collins there is the Super Bowl and then there is Super Stress.

For more than a week the goal has been trying to predict how the quarterback will handle the pressure of the game. His stats have been analyzed, his throwing motion dissected, his decision-making questioned.

All this, with an eye toward trying to figure out what he will do when the long wait for the kickoff of Super Bowl XXXV actually arrives.

Maybe we're looking in the wrong place. Maybe we already know the answer. Maybe it was evident Thursday morning, in a white tent similar to the one that will house players from both sides Sunday night when the game is finally over.

Look at how Collins has managed to handle the daily barrage of requests for him to open up his soul for about an hour every day.

It was one thing to watch Collins invite the media to explore every detail -- sordid and otherwise -- of his life in a Monday news conference designed to put an end to questions about his past.

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It is another equally humbling experience to watch Collins continue for three more days to do the exact same thing.

Thursday was the last shot for media members to meet with players. It was Collins' last stand, so to speak, and he remained in the end as he did in the beginning. Unflappable and painfully honest.

What's it like for Kerry Collins, who went to rehab for an alcohol problem and hasn't had a drop in about two years, to be at the Super Bowl, the world's biggest open bar?

What's it like for him to go out to dinner with friends and to see the bottle of wine on the table and to watch mini-celebrations erupt every night?


It's so hard that Collins said he had to lean on a Giants counselor this week and talk out his feelings.

What's it like, thinking about the celebration after the Super Bowl, the one you hope you get to experience and the one where the jubilant players shower each other with champagne?


It's so scary, Collins said he would escape to a room all by himself if the Giants are to the win the Super Bowl and there existed a chance he could get caught in a spray of bubbly that might moisten his lips.

The quarterback doesn't have to worry about that. The NFL does not allow the type of celebrations so often seen in the clubhouse of the World Series winner. Like Collins, the NFL won't allow alcohol in the locker room.

How will Kerry Collins handle the stress of the Super Bowl? If you're waiting to find out the answer Sunday, you've missed the point.

Related information
Collins' life a success even without Super Bowl
SI's Peter King: Collins' sobering story
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