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Thursday Notebook

Dumb play still lingers for 'Jaguar Jack'

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Posted: Thursday January 25, 2001 11:53 PM
Updated: Saturday January 27, 2001 1:05 AM


TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- His New York Giants teammates call Jack Golden "Jaguar Jack," for the play that made him infamous in a preseason game this year in Jacksonville.

The rookie linebacker was trying to help teammate Fred Lewis to the ground after Lewis intercepted a pass with seven seconds remaining to preserve a 13-9 victory.

Or so he thought. But Golden's hit was too hard. The ball popped out, squirted to the back of the end zone and Jaguars tight end Brandon Christenson recovered it for the win.

It was the wildest play the Giants had been involved in since Joe Pisarcik's fumble. But since it was a preseason game, the damage wasn't nearly as bad, although Golden has been teased about it by teammates ever since.

"We do it because he can handle it," safety Sam Garnes said. "That was a learning moment. He knows he's a good player and so do we."

Linebackers coach Tom Olivadatti said Golden, a free-agent rookie out of Oklahoma State, had pretty much secured his spot on the team before the goof.

"I don't put much into the result of preseason games," Olivadatti said.

Golden said it was a lesson learned at exactly the right time.

"The instinct was right, the execution just wasn't," he said. "It was a dumb play on my part, but I think I learned from it."

Ravens' Herring appears ready for return

Safety Kim Herring appears close to returning to Baltimore's starting lineup.

Herring practiced again Thursday, showing no ill effects of the high ankle sprain that caused him to miss the Ravens' last two playoff games.

Herring is listed as probable on the injury report. Linebacker Peter Boulware (shoulder), linebacker Cornell Brown (thigh) and receiver Billy Davis (knee) also are probable and are expected to play.

Even with the game just a few days away, the Ravens remained as loose as they have been all week.

"All this outside stuff is really bothering us," head coach Brian Billick said jokingly, referring mainly to linebacker Ray Lewis as well as quarterback Trent Dilfer and the constant harping on Baltimore's struggling offense.

"What everyone has to realize is that we've been dealing with these distractions for a year. We're used to it. Every town we go into, it's the story. It's something we've dealt with, but now we're ready to play."

Sour stomach hits Strahan, Giants

Defensive lineman Michael Strahan sat out the first few plays of the New York Giants' practice Thursday with an upset stomach.

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"He was all right," head coach Jim Fassel said. "I don't know if it was something we ate, or what. When I got over here, I had a bad stomach. A couple of other guys did, too."

Strahan missed the first three plays of the 11-on-11 drill, but worked out the rest of the practice.

Right tackle Luke Petitgout practiced without sign of injury after rolling his ankle Wednesday.

Tiki Barber had no problems catching punts in practice after being held out of the role during the playoffs because of a fractured left arm. Fassel said he would decide on game day whether Barber or Ike Hilliard would return punts.

Kickers could make the difference

With touchdowns possibly being tough to come by Sunday, place-kickers Matt Stover of the Ravens and Brad Daluiso of the Giants could play a key role in the Super Bowl.

"I secretly harbor the hope that it's 45-0," Daluiso said. "Anyone who says he hopes it comes down to his kick is lying because that means you also have a chance of losing. If there's a chance we are not losing at the end of the game, that's what I want."

But it seems quite possible that the kickers will play a significant role. The last time the game was played in Tampa, 10 years ago, Buffalo's Scott Norwood missed a 47-yarder wide right with four seconds remaining to seal the win for the Giants.

Asked if he has thought about Norwood's miss, Daluiso said, "Not very much. That was a long time ago. I was in college when that kick happened."

Nonetheless, Daluiso is willing to put the game on his shoulders, or foot, if necessary.

"If it comes down to a kick, I'll be ready," he said.

NFL makes subtle changes to Pro Bowl

The NFL, in a bid to give the Pro Bowl more of an All-Star flavor, is making some cosmetic changes for this year's game in Honolulu on Feb. 4.

"All-Star" lettering will cross the chest of each jersey, and each player's team logo will be on his shoulder. In addition, rather than blue or red helmets for the AFC and NFC teams, each player will wear his own team's helmet, and each player will keep his regular number on his jersey, even if that causes duplication with other players.

Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said that eight Pro Bowl players will wear microphones during the game so that audio and video highlights can be replayed. He added that fans will take part in MVP voting along with the media.

Austin heads Super Bowl officiating crew

Gerry Austin will work his third Super Bowl on Sunday as the referee on a crew that has only one other official with championship game experience.

Austin also was the referee in the 1997 Super Bowl and the side judge in the 1990 Super Bowl.

The other official with Super Bowl experience is side judge Doug Toole, who worked the 1998 game.

The rest of the crew for the game is umpire Chad Brown, head linesman Tony Veteri, line judge Walter Anderson, field judge Bill Lovett and back judge Bill Schmitz. Larry Nemmers and Jeff Rice are the alternates.

NFL using DNA to authenticate game balls

Science meets the Super Bowl on Sunday, when the NFL tags each of the 120 game balls with a strand of synthetic DNA to try to deter counterfeiters.

The FBI estimates 70-80 percent of sports memorabilia is fake. The DNA stamp is part of a four-tier security system used to authenticate the footballs.

"We wanted something covert, something that would force a counterfeiter to go to extremes to get around our authentication efforts," said Dave Gioia, vice president of the parent company of PSA/DNA Authentication Services.

Gioia said each mark of DNA contains a tagging of chemically synthesized DNA that includes four codes unique to the company, then a sequence of markers that leave a counterfeiter with a 1-in-33 trillion chance of reproducing it.

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