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Returning to the sideline for Atlanta's divisional playoff against the San Francisco 49ers on Jan. 9, Reeves followed his doctors' orders and dutifully positioned himself behind a wall of reserve linemen. At least he did at first. "I noticed that fell by the wayside rather quickly," says Kauten.
That's not the only precaution to bite the dust. Reeves vowed to take it easier on his repaired ticker. "I tell myself I'm going to be calm, I'm going to be cool," he says. "It lasts until I see a call I don't agree with."
Pam professes ro be displeased that her kind and gentle spouse-a man who ends each day with a short Bible study-is perceived by many as a scowling and tantrum-prone ogre. "It seems like the only time the camera goes to him is after something bad happens," she says. "So people think, Wow, he's a real bear." But after a pause, she adds, "And Dan is."
She once asked him, Do you ever think about me during the game? "It was stupid," she says. "I knew he didn't, but I asked anyway." His honest answer was no.
Later he admitted he had thought of her during a particular game. It happened at Super Bowl XXII, as the Washington Redskins demolished Reeves's Broncos 42-10. "I knew that as hard as that was for me," he told her, "it was harder for you."
One of the reasons Reeves is a former Denver coach, of course, is that although he guided the Broncos to three Super Bowls, he lost all three, by an average of 32 points. This time Denver is favored by a touchdown. Lee Reeves is not impressed.
"They don't base point spreads on heart," he says, "and this team has an abundance of heart."
No pun intended.