- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
The Miami Dolphins beat the Minnesota Vikings 24-7. Hunter, upon receipt of his carefully prepared NFL box lunch at half-time, examined the contents and shouted, "Where's the acid?"
I don't remember much about the game, but I remember that.
THE BOY WOULD BE 15 YEARS OLD THIS January. When I first met him, in Miami on Jan. 16, 1989, the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday, five nights before Super Bowl XXIII and about six hours into the Overtown riots, he was sleeping under a tattered blanket in the front seat of his grandmother's Oldsmobile. They'd been there since the early evening, when men with guns had run them out of their living room because its windows commanded most of the street. There were still sporadic, lethal pops coming from down the block. Wisps of acrid, dead-smelling smoke drifted in front of the stars.
"He's a charmer," the grandmother said of the boy. "His momma's lucky to be down on the Keys, where she can make some money and be far away from this."
The riot had started that evening after a black motorcyclist named Clement Lloyd had been shot in the head by a Hispanic Miami policeman named William Lozano. Over the next two days and nights Overtown burned. One person was shot and killed in the melee. More than $1 million worth of damage was done. The boy and his grandmother slept in their car. The Super Bowl would blithely go on.
And it was a great one too, if you just count the game. The San Francisco 49ers beat the Cincinnati Bengals 20-16 because Joe Montana put together one of those drives that made him Joe Montana. With a little more than two minutes left in the game, he took the 49ers from their own eight-yard line all the way to the Cincinnati 10, and from there he hit John Taylor with a gorgeous slant pass for the winning touchdown. Joe Robbie Stadium exploded, and you couldn't hear the distant sirens anymore.
This, of course, assumes that the Super Bowl is only a football game—which it hasn't been since half past Roone Arledge—and not the gilded festival upon which the Plutocrat Escadrille had landed directly from the inauguration of President George H.W.Bush. The lavish parties during the week before the game were lavishly attended. In the media hospitality room on those days, whenever someone changed the television to coverage of the riot, some NFL functionary would drift by and change it again.
So on that first night of violence, three of us found ourselves a death-or-glory cabbie who promised that, for the right price, he'd drive us to Beirut and back. He took us into Overtown, and I met a couple of people in a car, and I realized that the cabbie had driven us from one country, which was having a Super Bowl, all the way into another one, where smoke shrouded even the brightest stars.
HELLO, MONKEY FACE