Enough Super Bowl forecasting questions already
Updated: Friday January 26, 2001 7:17 PM
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TAMPA -- Hall of Fame questions first. Tim of Dallas wants to know about Bob Hayes. Well, it's a moot question for now because he's not the Seniors Committee candidate. His name has come up from time to time, and I've always been in his corner. I'll probably be a Committee member this year, and if Hayes is proposed I would have no objection, although my No. 1 choice probably would be Dave Robinson, the ex-Packer linebacker.
Neil of Edmonton, Alberta, asks what the knock is on Jerry Kramer. Probably that he got so famous because of his books. I remember that he was the Seniors candidate one year and he didn't make it. I was shocked. He certainly was deserving.
Ed of Toms River, N.J., wonders whether I'll get behind Cliff Harris again. Most certainly, but first I have to do what I can for Dave Casper. Cliff comes next. It won't be an easy sell because few people understand how great he really was. If he somehow gets in, then I'll throw my support behind Tommy Davis, the finest punter I've ever seen.
Tim of Manhattan, Kan., says that Casper has to take a back seat to Kellen Winslow. I don't agree, but even so, Winslow is in the Hall and Casper isn't. Casper's numbers don't compare with Winslow's, but 1) they were in different systems, and 2) I can't overlook Casper's greatness as a blocker. He took tremendous pride in that skill.
Joe B. of Eau Claire, Wis., feels that Art Monk's durability, while he was running up his tremendous numbers, makes him more valuable than my man, Lynn Swann. Let's put it this way: If you were putting together a team, which one would you want, a guy who'd get you first downs or a guy who'd get you touchdowns?
Jason of McLean, Va., likes John Stallworth over Swann. A fine player, a worthy candidate, but I feel that my guy was a truly exceptional talent.
Here's the first question that gets me angry because the correspondent, Marshall of Roanoke, Va., either didn't read or understand what I said about Bill Parcells. Marshall says that wielding my vote "as some kind of vindication is disgraceful." Hey, buddy, I said I would vote FOR him. That's for, as in fore, four, phor, 4, you dig?
Now we get to a topic I've had to hear discussed, non-stop, for six straight days. Super Bowl forecasting. OK, let's get it over with because only the game itself will put a stop to it. Jerry of Huron, S.D., wonders if Dilfer and the boys can score more than 14 points if the Giants put up that many. Why not? In their 10-game winning streak, under Dilfer, the Ravens topped that number nine times. Better defense now, you say. Yeah, but I think their own defense, plus special teams, will give Dilfer a short field on which to work.
Joe of Orlando asks if I've weighed the intangibles, and if so, what are they? I don't know what they are. That's why they're intangibles. If you consider special teams and turnovers as intangibles, then I've weighed them and the scale tilts toward the Ravens. If you mean things such as motivation and emotion, then I'll go back to school and begin working toward a psychology degree, to qualify myself for an answer.
Eric of Bel Air, Md., wonders about the Ravens' zone and the way to attack it. Usually in a two-deep, the corner presses and plays tight, and a safety backs him up. It started a bit soft against the Jets, but then it tightened, and that's when the picks started coming. They mix it up. The real key, though, is the pass rush. When a QB has enough time, he'll pick any defense apart, zone, man or whatever (The "whatever" defense has been very effective this year).
Whose offensive line do I like better, and which one will do the best job against the other team's defensive front? asks Chris of Ames, Iowa. I like the Giants' O-line better, but I think it'll have more trouble because the Ravens can rotate seven defensive linemen, which is two more than the Giants can use.
Let's move on to serious matters. Joe B. of Eau Claire, Wis. ... Hey, wait a minute, didn't you get in here once before? Sure did. I'm looking at your query now, Monk vs. Swann. Hey, Jimmy, why does this guy get the deuce, while others are starving out there? Because the second one's a what? A wine question? OK, I understand. Good work, Jimmy. Joe B. writes: "Would you be good enough to ask Glenn Parker his opinion about the impact Riedel or other specialized stemware makes on individual types of wine?" Why do I have to ask Glenn Parker? Who do you think was that "nasty, cantankerous sportswriter" whom he publicly credited (on media day) with getting him into wine in the first place? You're right. Your faithful narrator. I've been writing a wine column for 26 years. OK, enough ego. Great stemware makes the wine taste better. I've run experiments, tasting the same wine out of different glasses. You'll just have to take my word for it, it really does. And it also affects the bouquet, which The Flaming Redhead finds is particularly important. Are we getting a bit too precious for you fans out there? Perhaps, but allow me this little indulgence, OK? I've been a good guy all season, answering even the dopiest questions, and all that. I agree with you that the Riedel Bordeaux style glass is just about perfect as an all-arounder. I like a big Burgundy bowl for a big white wine, but not for a Burgundy, which is a delicate wine. The taste tends to flatten out too quickly. For tasting, plus funneling the bouquet upward, I like a chimney, which I also like for Champagne, better than a flute, which mutes the taste a bit. Never send a wine glass through the dishwasher, where the detergent residue can screw up the taste. Hand wash, and check the water you use to make sure it's free of chemicals or chlorine. What drives me absolutely nutso is to go to a formal tasting, particularly in a hotel, and find that the water they serve is that horrible chlorinated stuff. When you use it to rinse the glass it'll send the taste, and especially the nose, way out of whack.
Ken of Stafford (Stafford where?) has some penetrating questions about the halftime shows. Huh? Is that what's going on while I'm frantically trying to bring my chart up to date? I really don't give much of a damn about what's playing out there if it's not football, as long as it's not another Tribute to Walt Disney. The best line about that came from the late Joe Flaherty, covering the game for the Village Voice, who wrote that it was like a trip through Zsa Zsa Gabor's brain. On Wednesday night the Redhead and I had dinner with Jennifer Allen, the author and daughter of George Allen. She recalled that the halftime show of her daddy's Super Bowl featured the University of Michigan marching band. One show I do remember, though, highlighted Michael Jackson. It was in Super Bowl XXVII, Cowboys 52, Bills 17, in which Buffalo turned the ball over nine times. I wrote that the Bills could have learned about ball handling from Michael Jackson. Somehow the line never made the magazine. Wonder why.
Mike of Montgomery, Ala., wonders why Brian Billick did his Ray Lewis number Monday night? I can only guess. My guess is that he did it to take some of the heat off Lewis and draw it onto himself. Peter King told him that what he did was to turn a one-day story into a three-day one. Unfortunately, I missed that press conference. I know that at one point Billick said, "Anyone who thinks I'm arrogant, hold up your hand." No one did. On Thursday I asked him what would have happened if I'd have held up my hand. "I'd have laughed," he said.
Alan of Missoula, Mont., shoots me a real puzzler about my appreciation of Marv Levy's feat of coaching four straight Super Bowl teams. I think Alan agrees with me, but I'm not sure, because the question is so complicated. He points out that it's an all-time record, and yes, I actually was aware of this, and then takes off on the subject of parity. I'm not being critical of an honest question, but I wish you'd have footnoted it, or sent along a little addendum marked: Study Hints, or some such. As I said, I think we agree. Do we agree, Alan?
Finally, this is not an answer to a question, it's a general observation. The most interesting and informative person I've talked to all week was Mike Cherry, third-string QB for the Giants. Some day this young man will be an outstanding coach. Mark my words. Remember, you heard it here first.
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