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In the meantime, the publicity machine for the big game was hard at work. Among the other promotional stickers seen around town were Immer sch�n am Ball bleiben (Keep up-to-date, stay on the ball), Ich mag breite Schultern (I like broad shoulders), Ei wo fliegt's denn? (Oh boy, where is it [the ball] flying to?) and I Love Football (I Love Football). The print media is a good deal more suggestive in Germany than it is in the U.S., and the newspapers were filled with stories stressing the sex appeal of pro football and, almost as important, pro football cheerleaders. A caption for a picture of a male cheerleader holding up a female cheerleader read Sch�ooone Aussichten (Beeeeautiful Views). As for the players, Jim Everett, the Spielmacher of the Rams, was described as a "blond sunnyboy who can throw a ball 70 meters and always has a smile on his lips."
The first inkling that the game would be a success came at 1 a.m. on Saturday, when people began lining up for tickets. By 10 a.m. there were lines at all 10 ticket windows. An all-day festival was held in conjunction with the game. By midafternoon there were long queues in front of the tents that were selling food and drink on the fields adjacent to the stadium. On one of the fields, the Frisbee dogs drew a bigger crowd than the subsequent practice game between the D�sseldorf Panthers and the Berlin Eagles.
Shortly after the gates to Olympic Stadium were opened, Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas was presented with a flag in memory of his father, Air Force captain Robert Thomas, who was shot down in Vietnam in 1972, when Derrick was five. It occurred during an operation called, ironically, Linebacker II. Before the Rams and Chiefs took the field, Tagliabue addressed the two teams, thanking the players for representing themselves so well, and reading a message from President Bush. In part, the message read: "It gives me great pleasure to know that, in the city that has so dramatically been made whole and free, a mission of goodwill, friendship and just plain fun will show that the best place for rivalry is on the playing field."
The game couldn't help but be anticlimactic, and unfortunately both teams had a hand in that. Neither of the Chiefs' quarterbacks, Elkins or Pelluer ( DeBerg didn't play), could move the ball, but then Okoye ran only twice. The Rams' defense, meanwhile, provided most of the team's offense. Linebacker Mike Wilcher's interception deep in Chiefs territory set up a short TD drive at the end of the first quarter, with sunnyboy Everett, a smile on his lips, throwing six yards to Buford McGee for the score. In the final minutes of the game, Alfred Jackson intercepted a Pelluer pass on the Kansas City 31 and returned it for a touchdown.
Still and all, the crowd had a good time. The fans even did the Welle—you know, the Wave. Once they whistled at a call after it was shown on Sofortwiederholung (instant replay). And they showed much better manners than American fans, waiting until the end of the game to leave. In a way, the exhibition was much like West Germany's 1-0 victory over Argentina in the World Cup final. Both games were boring, and neither was representative of its sport's appeal.
A young woman from W�rzburg, in Bavaria, Simone Pander, told SI's Anita Verschoth, "This football is wonderful because nobody is drunk and everybody is having a good time. It's very American. All temptations for all senses." Two young men from East Berlin gave American football a mixed review. "The atmosphere is super, but the game drags a bit," said Timo Liebenthal. Asked if he would go to another game, Andre Urban said, "On a day when there is no soccer."
One East Berliner watching her first game was Witt, who didn't exactly go weak at the sight of men with broad shoulders. But she did tell Verschoth, "I find the strength of the men fascinating. Those big men, how fast they run. This football is a bit brutal, but they are well padded."
Witt added, "I think it's funny when the ball falls to the ground and they are all looking to see where it is going."
Oh, you fat egg.