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Tom Sestak draws a bead on Len Dawson in 1964 when the AFL was known as the MICKEY MOUSE League - photo Buffalo Courier-Express



Jerome Bettis


The then Seahawk Marshawn Lynch is a boy from the hood who is not a talkie kind of guy said he would do his talking on the field. - (Stephanie Rush, Pacific Regional Medical Command Public Affairs r - photo)



Tom Brady - Keith Allison photo



Howie Long
Howie Long was a member of the 1991 Oakland Raiders Super Bowl winning team. His son Chris won a SB title last season with the Patriots and is returning to win another as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles



James Loving/National Radio Text Service


For me its FULL CIRCLE TIME as the Super Bowl returns to Minneapolis Minnesota, the scene where I first covered a Super Bowl on January 26, 1992 - This column will include experiences from that event and the most popular Super Bowl related stories that we've published since that time - NFL Hall of Fame great Walter Payton takes the #1 spot as the most read but there is a back story tat emerged since Super Bowl XXXVI that will SHOCK YOU


Friday, February 02, 2018 - (Updated Saturday, February 03, 2018)


In America the Super Bowl is their answer to the World Cup as it is the World Cup of American Football and the NFL. During Super Bowl week the nation is in a frenzy with bets being placed in office pools and gambling entities.

This Super Bowl goes full circle for me as I was fortunate enough to cover Super Bowl XXVI which was also played in Minneapolis in 1992. The game between the Washington Redskins and the Buffalo Bills was a yawner with the result being Washington 37, Buffalo 24. Despite a boring contest there were several stories that emerged from the experience.

It must be noted that during that time we were a radio content supplier. Our business evolved to include text content in 1997 when we launched our web site.

Since that time a number of Super Bowl related stories from our text coverage several stories have emerged to become popular.

Of those popular stories our story on NFL Hall of Fame player Walter Payton has been the most viewed. That came about by happenstance as I bumped into him at a then NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue press conference.

Although Payton was a member of the Chicago Bears winning 1985 Super Bowl team our story was not about Payton's Super Bowl experience but sadly about his death and how I remembered him and his playing history.

His story capsulates what the column is all about that being not entirely about coverage of the game itself but about the outstanding men who participated in it.

As we reveal those stories, their are two individuals who also participated in the first Super bowl held in Minneapolis, who are the subjects of two of our most reverent BACK STORIES. One was a journalist and the other was an eight year old boy who grew up to be a record breaking NFL pass receiver.

The game came about when there was a question if the upstart AFL could compete against the NFL. The AFL was formed by their signing reject NFL players and outbidding the NFL to sign top college players.

The first two games demonstrated that the NFL was the superior league when then the powerhouse Green Bay Packers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10. The following year the Packers thrashed the Oakland Raiders 33-14.

Those first two games won by the Packers were known as the "AFL-NFL World Championship Game". Super Bowl III in January 1969 was the first such game that carried the "Super Bowl" moniker, the names "Super Bowl I" and "Super Bowl II" were only retroactively applied to the first two games.

Super Bowl I was the AFL's big turnaround when the New York Jets flamboyant quarterback Joe Namath predicted a Jets victory over the then Baltimore Colts. Broadway Joe as he was referred to delivered when the Jets topped the Colts 16-7 giving the AFL some respect.

The football community principally dismissed that as a ONE OFF but the following season it was redemption time when the Kansas City Chiefs returned to the big game again led by quarterback Len Dawson, returned to win handedly when they defeated the Minnesota Vikings 23-7. It was that game the sealed respect to a league that proved that underdogs could win.

It was that game that led to our story when we interviewed Dawson after he became a radio journalist when he retired from the game. As Dawson recalled there was so much disrespect for the AFL football pundits referred them as being the MICKEY MOUSE LEAGUE.These were the Super Bowl Pioneers who changed the game to what it is today.

In the 70's the Steelers dominated the NFL. They won all four of the Super Bowls they appeared in during the decade. The squad was packed with superstars, Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris and Lynn Swan among them. All were Super Bowl MVP's.

The Pittsburgh Steelers (6–2) have won the most Super Bowls with six championships, while the New England Patriots (5-4), the Dallas Cowboys (5–3), and the San Francisco 49ers (5–1) have five wins. New England has the most Super Bowl appearances with nine, while the Buffalo Bills (0–4) have the most consecutive appearances with four losses in a row from 1990 to 1993.

The Miami Dolphins are the only other team to have at least three consecutive appearances: 1972–74. The Denver Broncos (3–5) have lost a record five Super Bowls. The New England Patriots (5–4), the Minnesota Vikings (0–4), and the Bills have lost four.

The record for consecutive wins is two and is shared by seven franchises: the 1966–67 Green Bay Packers, the 1972–73 Miami Dolphins, the 1974–75 and 1978–79 Pittsburgh Steelers (the only team to accomplish this feat twice), the 1988–89 San Francisco 49ers, the 1992–93 Dallas Cowboys, the 1997–98 Denver Broncos, and the 2003–04 New England Patriots. Among those, Dallas (1992–93; 1995) and New England (2001; 2003–04) are the only teams to win three out of four consecutive Super Bowls.

To date the NFL leads in Super Bowl wins with 26, while the AFL has won 25. Nineteen different franchises, including teams that relocated to another city, have won the Super Bowl. The competition will be tied should Tom Brady lead the favored Patriots over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Having covered the old Los Angeles Rams during the early 90's there is an interesting dynamic of Super Bowl success for three individuals. Those three are Marshall Faulk, Dick Vermeil and Jerome Bettis.

During his 93 rookie season with the then Los Angeles Rams Bettis ran for 1429 yards on 294 rushes resulting in a 4.9 average and seven touchdowns in 16 games. The franchise disrespected his talents and he was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers where he was appreciated culminating in a Super Bowl title in 2006 with a 21-10 victory over the, Seattle Seahawks.

The Rams coach Vermeil and running back Faulk shared a Super Bowl title when the Vermeil coached Rams won the title in 2000 with a 23-16 Super Bowl victory against the Tennessee Titans. Vermeil proved his critics wrong by turning around the NFL's worst team in the 90's into Super Bowl champions within three years.

At the start of the season the odds were 200-1 that the Rams could win the NFL's grand prize. He also experienced AGE DISCRIMINATION as many pundits labeled the then 63-year-old too old to coach.

That season Faulk won, for the third year in a row, the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year award, but finished second in a close vote to teammate Kurt Warner in the MVP vote.

The twist too this is I did two radio features on Faulk and interviewed him in his freshman year after he broke an NCAA record by in his second game as a running back when he rushed 37 times for 386 yards, 7 TDs (touchdowns) vs. Pacific. The seven TD's also set an NCAA record by a freshman.

The ironic alteration to this is before my interview with Faulk the San Diego State University SID (Sports Information Director) informed me that Faulk was shy and didn't' do interviews. He warned me that my 250 mile trip might be a waste of my time.

Faulk reluctantly did the interview and he leaned up against the wall outside the team's dressing room and he barely made eye contact. The bottom line is we got it done and it was a blockbuster story since it was his (I believe) his first interview supported by the magnitude of his productivity.

The major twist to this is Faulk wasn't highly recruited. Only four colleges did so and all but San Diego State wanted him to play defense. As Faulk explained he played defensive end in high school but wanted to play offense. The reason he chose San Diego State was because they were the only school the offered to let him play offense.

Currently the Brady led New England Patriots are the top dog of the league but they have been challenged by the Pittsburgh Steelers and teams quarterbacked by the Manning clan notably Payton leading the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos and Eli piloting the New York Giants. Both have Super Bowl victories during their careers.

One of the most colorful teams of the century is the Seattle Seahawks whose roster we perceived as being staffed by BOYS FROM THE HOOD. During this decade their main nemesis has bee the Patriots who have participated in the Super Bowl more than any other NFL team.

One dynamic that stands out about this Super Bowl is the father and son participants of the contest. Now Philadelphia Eagle Chris Long was a member of last season's Super Bowl winning Patriots. Long is now a member of the Philadelphia Eagles. He's in a position of being on back to back winning teams.

His father Howie was also a member of the Oakland Raiders title winning team IN 1981. Should the Eagles win, Chris will top his dad as being a member of two Super Bowl winning teams to his father's one.

Since the turn of the century the New England Patriots have dominated the Super Bowl winning five oft heir seven appearances. They are in position of winning back to back championships as they did in 2004 and 2005. The question is can 40-year-old Tom Brady continue to work his magic for another Patriots title. At the time of this writing it falls into the stay tuned category.


This column will be updated DAILY until completed so stay tuned...





Sports Notes - WALTER PAYTON REMEMBERED - November, 1999
Walter Payton's heart made up for the lack of size of his body. He had guts of steel. He believed and achieved and remained humble. Payton is the NFL's all-time career rushing leader with 16,726 yards. He was the league MVP twice. The NFL Hall of Fame member was also a champion, having been a member of the Chicago Bears 1985 Super Bowl team. He passed away Monday November 1, 1999 from bile duct cancer. He was only 45 years of age


Sports Notes - SUPER BOWL HISTORY - They Called the AFL The Mickey Mouse League - February 2006
The first Super Bowl game was played on January 15, 1967. The contest pitted the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League against the Kansas City Chiefs of the upstart American Football League. "They called us the Mickey Mouse league," said then Kansas City quarterback Len Dawson


Sports Notes Part 1 - SUPER BOWL PIONEERS- February 2012
EAT THIS!!! - THE AFL WASHED THE NFL's Mouth OUT WITH SOAP - The AFL was the laughing stock of professional football when they began in 1960. They were referred to as rejects, have beens and referred to as the Mickey Mouse League. NFL players that were verbally abused for joining the new league and had something to prove. Nine years later the AFL earned their respect when Joe Namath led the New York Jets and AFL to its first Super Bowl victory. The following year Len Dawson led the Kansas City Chiefs to victory. After the first four Super Bowl games the AFL received the respect they deserved.


BRONCOS??? DAY WAS MUGGED - Who-da thunk it meaning the thrashing that the Seattle Seahawks gave the Denver Broncos in a 43-8 Super Bowl result? The question is where the Broncos intimidated by the antics of the BOYS FROM THE HOOD who played head games and trash to no talking. The result was like a strong armed young street gangster stealing an old lady's pocketbook


Sports Notes Part 2 - TOM BRADY tries to defy MANNING FAMILY MATTERS - February 2012
GIANTS vs. PATRIOTS continue SUPER BOWL FEVER - There are several storylines involved in this game which Manning brother is the winningest Super Bowl quarterback and Can tom Brady gain revenge for Eli Manning and the New York Giants for denying them a perfect 19-0 record in 2008 when the two teams last met in Super Bowl XLVI. Can Eli Manning exact revenge for the suffering his father Archie endured as an All-Star NFL player? - SUPER BOWL RESULT SCORES HISTORY - DID YOU KNOW?


Sports Notes - SUPER BOWL - Steelers Dynasty, Get On the Bus - February 2006
There once was a bus commercial in the USA that said, 'Get on the bus and leave the driving to us.' In the US city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania the bus is Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis. It's a name he gave himself meaning that he can carry the load and lead his team to victory - At 5'11" - 255 lb he is built like a bowling ball. In his 1993 rookie season with the then Los Angeles Rams Bettis ran for 1429 yards on 294 rushes resulting in a 4.9 average and seven touchdowns in 16 games


Sports Notes - MARSHALL FAULK - Winners Never Quit - FebruarY, 2002
Faulk said something to me that I never forgot. He played offense and defense at Carver high school in New Orleans where he saw action as a running back, quarterback, wide receiver and cornerback. Only four major universities recruited him. Only one would give him a scholarship to do what he wanted to do….PLAY OFFENSE - In 1991 when he was an 18-year-old freshman at San Diego State University in San Diego California in the United States. He had just broken the NCAA [National College Athletic Association] single game rushing yards record in only his second college game. He rushed 37 times for 386 yards, 7 TDs (touchdowns) vs. Pacific. The seven TD's also set an NCAA record by a freshman

Sports Notes - HOWIE LONG IN NFL HALL of FAME - August, 2000
Howie Long made his underdog life TOP DOG - In 1981 the Oakland Raiders drafted the 6-5/275 defensive lineman in the second round, 48th overall. Long became an all-pro star within two years. He was a member of the Raiders Super Bowl Championship team in 1984. During his 13-year career he was selected to the NFL all-pro first or second team five times - During his childhood he had to travel a bumpy road, he was an unwanted child and found himself on the move being passed from family member to family member - There were times when food was hard to come by

Sports Notes - Super Bowl Champion Rams Coach Dick Vermeil Serves Critics Crow - February, 2000
VERMEIL fell prey to the Age Discrimination
- Vermeil proved his critics wrong by turning around the NFL's worst team in the 90's into Super Bowl champions within three years. At the start of the season the odds were 200-1 that the Rams could win the NFL's grand prize - After the Rams racked up a 23-16 Super Bowl victory against the Tennessee Titans January 30, 2000 it was time for the 63-year-old coach Vermeil's to gave his critics a reason to eat some crow

Sports Notes - ELI MANNING LEADS GIANTS to 17-14 Super Bowl Win over Patriots - February 2008
WHO SUCKS NOW??? - Eli goes from a sow's ear to a silk purse after being the Giant's #1 pick their fans booed and chanted "Eli Sucks! WHO SUCKS NOW??? - Eli Manning joins Peyton to become NFL's first brothers to win back to back Super Bowls & MVP Awards - New England fail in effort for perfect season and a 19-0 record - What most football fans were focused on was if Eli Manning could duplicate his brother Peyton's Super Bowl winning effort last year in leading the Indianapolis Colts to a 29-17 win over the Chicago Bears. If Eli could pull that off it would be the first time that brothers quarterbacked their teams to back to back Super Bowl titles




ANOTHER HONOR FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE - The flash and dash man made it to College Football Hall of Fame. He was as small and quick as a mouse and played the game BIG - In Super Bowl XXXI against the New England Patriots Howard totaled a Super Bowl record 90 punt return yards and 154 kickoff return yards with one touchdown; his 244 all-purpose yards also tied a Super Bowl record. His performance won him the Super Bowl MVP award, making Howard the only player to ever win the award based solely on a special teams performance

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jim Murray and I were based in Los Angeles. We were acquainted due to covering the same events. We bath covered Super Bowl XXVI in Minneapolis and his wife sat next to me on the bus taking us from the Metro Dome to our hotels and we conversed. After he passed away in 1998 I wrote a story about him and referenced the Super Bowl experience. A friend of his wife read the article and she contacted me....



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