You don't go looking for the soul of Tinseltown in a compact car, and so the silver, fully stocked limo that pulls up to the Dallas Cowboys' Santa Monica hotel is not so much a symbol of wretched excess as it is a concession to necessity. In the hotel coffee shop, defensive tackle Russell Maryland says goodbye to his mom and dad. "Russell!" says Mom. She takes her son's arm and snips a label from the sleeve of his new blue suit. She and Dad are just in from Chicago, but at some point a mother must set her offspring free. "Eleven o'clock is fine," she says sweetly. That's the curfew set by the Cowboys—and by Mom—for tonight. It is 6:17 p.m., and there is no time to lose. "Ready?" says Dallas defensive tackle Tony Casillas.
"Ready," says Maryland.
The two men bolt for the exit. Into the limo. Into the night. Into L.A. It probably should be enough for these players that they are here for the first Super Bowl of their careers, but part of the hunger that has driven them to succeed afield also pushes them to seek larger truths, beyond the game. "I've been to L.A. a couple of times, but I've never seen the town," says Maryland, who grew up in Chicago and played his college ball at Miami.
"I've been here five or six times," says Casillas, who hails from Tulsa and the University of Oklahoma. "Went to Spago once with my wife, but I never did the town up."
Casillas mentions another reason why he is eager to see what makes this city tick. "I'm getting ready to hire a manager out here because I want to be an actor," he says. "I want to do action-packed stuff, be the good guy. The Hispanic Terminator."
"Be nice if you learned Spanish," Maryland says.
"How do you know I don't know Spanish?" Casillas snaps.
Maryland laughs. "It's common knowledge."
The first destination is ahead, just beyond a locked iron gate and a surveillance camera. "Come in," says a voice that emanates from somewhere near the camera. The stretch moves up the driveway, past a plush lawn to a great stone house. This is the seat of at least some of Western man's knowledge, for this is the Playboy Mansion.
Casillas and Maryland are greeted by Tina Bockrath, Miss May 1990, who will give them a tour of the grounds. She is fully clad in a long-sleeved blouse and a full-length skirt and boots, as though Miss May 1990's qualifications for this job were her business acumen rather than a four-color, airbrushed foldout magazine photo. And wouldn't you know it: Though the young lady was born in Dayton, she went to college at St. Edward's in Austin, Texas. St. Edward's is—hold on to your caps—the site of the Cowboys' preseason training camp. "Small world, isn't it," says Casillas.