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Diva305  (Level: 145.8 - Posts: 1641)
Thu, 25th Jan '07 11:46 PM


Diva reporting live from 305

Piano Man lands a Super gig

Billy Joel, who owns a $13.5 million home on Miami Beach's La Gorce Island, has been in South Florida more than usual lately, appearing at Macaluso's, Joe's Stone Crab and Quattro, among other culinary hot spots (the man knows good food).

The Piano Man might usually be in a New York state of mind -- but not through at least Feb. 4, when he'll sing the National Anthem before Super Bowl XLI at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens.

The prestigious gig makes Joel -- who has won six Grammys and racked up 33 Top 40 hits -- the first performer to sing the National Anthem twice at the Super Bowl. He also sang at Super Bowl XXIII in 1989, also in South Florida.

Other Super Bowl entertainment includes Cirque du Soleil pregame and Prince at halftime.

Diva305  (Level: 145.8 - Posts: 1641)
Sat, 27th Jan '07 8:13 PM


J.Lo, Marc get the Forge treatmentOn Tuesday night, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony dined in The Forge's private wine cellar with record executives including Epic head Charlie Walk, following her listening party at The Temple House. Lopez and Anthony entered the restaurant through the neighboring East Room, but later in the evening, Lopez made a requisite grand sweep through the main dining room. On Monday night, Billy Joel was seen dining there with actor Paul Reiser.

Martha Stewart has come a long way from prison -- she's been holed up all week at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, where she's partaking in a spa retreat for the country's most powerful women hosted by Yahoo CEO Terry Semel.

Jessica Simpson was seen working out at The Sports Club/LA at The Four Seasons on Brickell Monday. Boyfriend John Mayer was also pumping iron there before the two hit the Shore Club for a dinner at Nobu. More exciting than that for some Star Trek fans was a sighting of Leonard Nimoy, who was staying at Shore Club on Tuesday night. The next night, Incubus lead singer Brandon Boyd was seen sitting poolside there with a woman.

Supermodel Rachel Hunter was seen at The Setai on Tuesday morning posing for an Ocean Drive Magazine cover shoot.

Venus Williams was at Ink last Saturday night, clearly, according to witnesses, having a ball.

Cindy Crawford, Victoria Beckham and Penélope Cruz have even more reasons to come to Miami -- all are VIP clients of jeweler Victoria Casal, who will arrive in Miami Feb. 6 to celebrate the grand opening of her first North America boutique at the Village of Merrick Park just in time for Valentine's Day.

Among the expected guests at tonight's private 10th-anniversary dinner at Nikki Beach Club: Chris Noth, Joely Fisher, Mario Cantone and Deborah (aka Debbie) Gibson.

Hip-hop producer Pharrell Williams is hosting the third annual Dewar's 12 Texas Hold 'Em Charity Poker Tournament Friday at Vizcaya. The event benefits the Boys and Girls Clubs of Miami and From One Hand to Another. More than 300 are expected to hold and fold 'em, as well as view a runway show featuring the latest from Gwen Stefani's L.A.M.B. line. A minimum donation of $1,500 admits two to the party; if you're solo, it's $500. Call 305-662-7152.

Diva305  (Level: 145.8 - Posts: 1641)
Sat, 27th Jan '07 8:23 PM

Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith, pillars of gentle strength

FINALLY: Tony Dungy holds the Lamar Hunt Trophy after the Colts reached the Super Bowl.
Much will be made of the skin color of the two Super Bowl XLI coaches, and certainly, it is historically significant that Chicago's Lovie Smith and Indianapolis' Tony Dungy are the first black coaches to reach the grandest NFL stage. Their names forever will be linked because of the barrier they broke together.

But the more you learn about these two men, the more it becomes apparent their close friendship stems from something far deeper than race -- their convictions. Both are devout Christians who don't drink or curse.

Rather than belittle players with profanity-laced tirades on the sidelines, they shoot a stare that delivers the message loud and clear.

The worst you'll get out of Smith is ''Jiminy Christmas!'' and that's only when he's really mad. Dungy's former NFL teammates lost a lot of money on bets trying to make him swear, and he has considered leaving coaching for a career in prison ministry.

Both men insist on making room for family and faith in the violent and narcissistic world of pro football. They suffered through tragedies with their sons, and were reminded to embrace life beyond the sideline. Dungy's son James committed suicide at age 18 in December 2005. In his eulogy at the jam-packed Idlewild Baptist Church outside Tampa, Dungy said: ``I urge you not to take your relations for granted. Parents, hug your kids each chance you get. Tell them you love them each chance you get. You don't know when it's going to be the last time.''

Smith's scary moments with his two sons were more private. In 1988, while he was an assistant at Arizona State, his then-toddler son, Matthew, fell into a pool and nearly drowned. Smith jumped in and dragged his son out, and Smith's wife MaryAnne performed CPR until the paramedics arrived. In 2000, his son Mikal, now 30, was diagnosed with a slow-growing brain tumor doctors continue to monitor.


''The thing about my dad and Coach Dungy that I'm most proud of is that they showed you can get to the Super Bowl by being soft-spoken and treating people with respect,'' said Mikal Smith, who just completed his first year as an assistant coach at Trinity College in Illinois. ``It doesn't mean they're soft people. They're both pillars of strength. They proved good things happen to good people in due time.''

Dungy, who gave Smith his first NFL job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1996, said: ``I'm so happy that Lovie got [to the Super Bowl] because he does things the right way. He's going to get there with a lot of class, no profanity, no intimidation, but just helping his guys play the best that they can. That's the way I try to do it, and I think it's great that we're able to show the world not only that African-American coaches can do it, but Christian coaches can do it in a way that, you know, we can still win.''


They took wildly different paths but wound up in the same place -- the pinnacle of their profession.

Smith, 48, was raised in Big Sandy, a two-stoplight East Texas town best known as the needlepoint mecca of the South. His mother Mae worked at a lawn furniture factory, and his father Thurman battled alcoholism much of his life but spent his final years sober and was close to Lovie, who was named after his Aunt Lavana. Mae is still alive, but diabetes stole her eyesight. She listens to Bears games on the radio and will be at Dolphin Stadium next Sunday to soak in the sounds of her son's historic game.

Smith played defensive end and linebacker in high school, earning pocket change by baling hay for three cents per 40-pound bale.

Dungy, 51, was born in Jackson, Mich., to a pair of educators -- his father Wilbur a physiology professor, his mother Cleomae a high school English teacher. Academics were priority No. 1 in the Dungy household, and it apparently paid off. Dungy's brother is a dentist, one sister is a nurse and another is an obstetrician.

Dungy, a high school quarterback, went on to set all sorts of passing records at the University of Minnesota from 1973-76. He was known as a cerebral player who loved to dissect film with coaches. He wasn't big and didn't have a particularly good arm, so he was passed over in the NFL draft. But he signed as a free agent with Pittsburgh, was converted to defensive back, and became part of the famed ''Steel Curtain'' unit of the late 1970s. He retired in 1980.

It was right about that time Smith completed his career at the University of Tulsa, where he was a two-time All-American linebacker. He went back to Big Sandy to coach his high school team. In 1983, became a coach at Tulsa, then made several other college stops before 1996, when he was introduced to Dungy.

Dungy's coaching career began at 25, as an assistant at the University of Minnesota. Before long, he had been hired by the Steelers, and in 1984 he became the first black defensive coordinator in NFL history.

He was one of the most respected assistants in the league for more than a decade, and finally, in 1996, he was given the top job by the struggling Buccaneers.


In assembling his staff, he made it clear he wanted ''teachers,'' and several Bucs scouts recommended Smith, a first-year assistant at Ohio State. Dungy interviewed Smith at the NFL combine in Indianapolis and knew almost instantly that he had found his man.

''After about 15 minutes with Lovie, he showed he had a command of the game . . . but not in a know-it-all, come across the wrong way,'' Dungy said. ``I knew he'd be sharp and a guy players would gravitate to. It didn't take us long to know he was going to be really, really good.''


Bears general manager Jerry Angelo, who made Smith his head coach in 2004, was the Bucs' director of player personnel when Dungy was hired in 1996, and he is not surprised Dungy and Smith became fast friends.

''Tony and Lovie are very similar in terms of character, and . . . you'd have to really know both men well to realize that they do have some different personality traits,'' Angelo said. ``Lovie shows his emotion a little bit more than Tony, but otherwise, they are very much alike.''

Dungy wound up putting together an all-star coaching staff: Herman Edwards went on to become head coach of the New York Jets and now Kansas City; Rod Marinelli is head man at Detroit; Mike Tomlin was just named coach at Pittsburgh.

Jack Oliver, a pastor at Idlewild Baptist Church, got to know Dungy well during his Tampa Bay days.

``If I had to pick one word to describe Tony Dungy, I'd use Christ-like, and by that I mean he always thinks of others first and he lives what he believes. He is such a humble man, despite his success and fame. He'd come and sit in Bible class Wednesday nights just like anyone else. He is proof that nice guys do finish first.''


Two weeks ago, Smith and his wife made the three-hour trip from Chicago to Indianapolis to watch Dungy's Colts face Edwards' Chiefs in a playoff game. The coaches and their wives had dinner at a Chinese restaurant, reminisced about old times in Tampa, and celebrated their successes.

''My dream was for Tony Dungy to get to the Super Bowl, and that dream was fulfilled,'' Smith said. ``I owe a lot to him, and I know that. He gave me a chance.''

Dungy and Smith have also paved the way for minority coaches, like the Washington Redskins' Doug Williams did when he became the first black quarterback to play in the Super Bowl, back in 1988.


''I think about my generation of kids, who watched Super Bowls, never really saw African-American coaches and didn't necessarily think about the fact that you could be the coach,'' Dungy said. ``You could be a player. You couldn't necessarily be the quarterback. Then we saw Doug Williams play and win, and guys a little bit younger than me all of a sudden felt they could be a quarterback. Now you see Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick, guys like that, because of what Doug did.

'And hopefully, young kids now will say, `Hey, I might be the coach one day.' So that's special.''

Donden  (Level: 112.5 - Posts: 2127)
Sat, 27th Jan '07 9:49 PM

I didn't know that!

Donden  (Level: 112.5 - Posts: 2127)
Sat, 27th Jan '07 9:52 PM

I didn't know that!

Diva305  (Level: 145.8 - Posts: 1641)
Sun, 28th Jan '07 11:14 PM

Diva reporting live from 305

Bears Touchdown In Miami As Super Bowl Week Begins

MIAMI After months of anticipation, Super Bowl week officially kicked off Sunday as the Chicago Bears arrived in Miami.

Wearing an orange tie reflecting one of the Bears' team colors, Smith bounded down the steps of the plane and hurried to one of six buses waiting to take his team to the hotel.

"I was one of the first guys to get off the plane, I got a chance to get my seat real quick and see the players get off and see the smiles on their faces," Smith said.

"We feel good about where we are right now, but you know they all say the same thing: One more step, and they can't wait. ..."

Their chartered plane sported a big Bears logo on the side when it arrived at Miami International Airport. As they taxied up, the pilot opened the window of the mammoth jetliner and flew a Bears flag.

The temperature was about 60 degrees warmer than the frigid teens the Bears left on a trip that whisked them from snow-covered fields to palm trees.

It also took Smith just three seasons to land the Bears back in the Super Bowl for the first time since 1986.

The team hotel, just five minutes away from the airport and miles from the glitter of South Beach, featured a big orange and blue 'C' on the elevator doors and a large sign above many of the doorways with "Finish" sandwiched by two Bears heads.

Smith said Friday his plan was to take keep the Bears on a normal schedule as much as possible. That will certainly be interrupted by media mob sessions the first four days this week, including one Tuesday at the stadium where they will face the Colts in a week.

The Bears didn't have a curfew Sunday night; it starts Monday.

"Our curfew is midnight," said rookie Devin Hester, who played in college at Miami. "I told the guys everything starts (at South Beach) at 1 o'clock, so we'll already be in bed.

"Miami is a great place to visit and there are all kinds of things you can get into. We do want to have a little fun, but careful of your surroundings. We're here to play a football game."

All season long they've dodged the doubters, who questioned just how good these Bears could be because they play in what was the weaker NFC this season.

Their 15-3 record was met with some skepticism, and quarterback Rex Grossman has been a question mark -- good one week, shaky the next, with a little of both thrown in throughout 2006.

The defense that led the NFL with 44 takeaways wasn't as tough down the stretch until a strong showing in the NFC championship game rout of New Orleans and its top-ranked offense.

Now come the Colts and their high-powered offense.

"You know what? It finally sunk in today for the first time that we're in the Super Bowl," cornerback Charles Tillman said. "You see all the Super Bowl 41 stickers and we get to the hotel and we have all the fans and media here -- it's actually starting to sink in that I'm in the Super Bowl, that the Bears are in the Super Bowl."

Click for video

Diva305  (Level: 145.8 - Posts: 1641)
Mon, 29th Jan '07 1:54 PM

Diva live from 305

Sharing a hoot-Dave Barry

Confuse the Midwesterners: Be on your best behaviorBY DAVE BARRY

Do not be alarmed; Miami isn't so weird

It's here, South Florida -- Super Bowl Roman Numeral 41, the biggest sporting event in the world, unless you include other parts of the world. Tens of thousands of visitors are coming to South Florida for the big game, and we hope they all enjoy -- to quote our new tourism slogan -- ``Hospitality, But Without The Hospital.''

But to make that dream a reality, we, the citizens of South Florida, must be on our best behavior.

Q. What do you mean, ``on our best behavior?''

A. I mean that, no matter how festive we are feeling, we should not shoot our guns into the air.

Q. What if Fidel dies?

A. That is different.

It's very important that our visitors feel welcome, because they're bringing tremendous economic benefits to our community in the form of money. According to the South Florida host committee's official website, the economic impact of the Super Bowl here will be ''more than $350 million.'' What does that mean, in layperson's terms? It means the host committee has been smoking crack.

No, seriously, it means that we, as a community, are about to receive a ''financial shot in the arm'' totaling more than $350 million, which will be spent as follows:

• The maitre d' at Joe's Stone Crab: $182 million;

• Lavish parties you cannot get into: $123 million;

• Strippers: $42 million;

• Prince: $3 million;

• Slightly increased attendance at Monkey Jungle caused by Super Bowl visitors who have mistaken it for a nightclub: $93.

So, OK, perhaps you, personally, will not benefit financially from the Super Bowl. But this is not just about money. This is about our image, as a community. Too many people still think of Miami as the crazy, violent place that was depicted in the old TV crime show Miami Vice. But Miami has come a long way since then, as reflected in the newer TV crime show CSI: Miami, not to mention the movie version of Miami Vice.

That's why this week we all need to be ''goodwill ambassadors'' for South Florida. Let's welcome our Super Bowl visitors with open arms. Let's kiss them on the lips while inserting a little goodwill tongue. Above all, let's keep them out of trouble. Remember that many of this year's Super Bowl visitors are coming from the Midwest, which is often called ''the nation's heartland,'' because it is covered with sleet. Midwesterners tend to be friendly, polite, honest and trusting, so down here they are dead meat. We need to keep an eye on them. If you see a visitor who looks confused, don't hesitate to offer help:

YOU: Hello! I see you are from the Midwest.

VISITORS: Why, yes we are! How could you tell?

YOU: By your non-taut, yogurt-colored bodies. Do you need directions?

VISITORS: Yes, thanks! We want to go to the beach.

YOU: Like that?


YOU: We have no beach.

See? By going a just little out of your way to help, you have averted what could have been an unfortunate situation. If we all do our part, we can make this Super Bowl a wonderful experience for our visitors, one that will rank up there with some of the unforgettable Super Bowls of the past, such as XXLVII, XCCXIX, XXVLXXI, VMCLKX, and

of course MMLVIXMXI.

Here at The Miami Herald we will be doing our part by publishing, every day, a minimum of 275 Super-Bowl-related articles (``Septic-Tank Pumpers Expecting Super Busy Weekend''). This is a big effort for us, so if you see an actual news event -- say, a mushroom cloud rising over the Port of Miami -- please do not call us, unless you have reason to believe it is a Super-Bowl-related mushroom cloud. Thank you.

NEED TICKETS FOR THE GAME? As you know, tickets for the Super Bowl are very hard to come by, but we have learned that a limited number of them are still available, at face value, from congressman Tom Tancredo of Colorado. Give him a call! This information must be true, because it is being printed in a newspaper.

Diva305  (Level: 145.8 - Posts: 1641)
Mon, 29th Jan '07 5:45 PM

Diva305  (Level: 145.8 - Posts: 1641)
Mon, 29th Jan '07 6:03 PM

Diva305  (Level: 145.8 - Posts: 1641)
Mon, 29th Jan '07 9:55 PM

Diva Reporting Live from 305

''A Salute to South Florida's Super Tradition,'' an extravagant, star-studded event marking the ceremonial start of Super Bowl Week, happens tonight at the Hard Rock arena in Hollywood. Some tables of 10 were priced as high as $7,500 because, again, the NFL is all about keeping everything low-key.

The league launched this official kickoff show a few years ago. It's the equivalent of an Olympics' Opening Ceremonies, except without the flock of doves, the flaming torch or the creepy guys on stilts.

The dinner and show will be emceed by CBS' Lesley Visser and is to include entertainment (Hootie & the Blowfish, impressionist Frank Caliendo); both head coaches ( Tony Dungy, Lovie Smith); new commissioner Roger Goodell; past and present Dolphins (including Don Shula, Larry Csonka and Jason Taylor); and prominent players from the eight previous Super Bowls held in Miami.

Taking a wild guess, we will presume the latter category will not include Stanley Wilson, the Bengal who missed the 1989 SB here when he turned up in a hotel bathtub on crack; or Eugene Robinson, the Falcon who missed the 1999 game here after his arrest for offering an undercover cop $40 for sex.

Turned out Robinson, who had won the Bart Starr Award for ''high moral character,'' was a hypocrite. Even worse, he was cheap!

• The favored Colts are to arrive at the Fort Lauderdale airport this evening. Reebok reports that both starting QBs, Peyton Manning and Rex Grossman, will be shod in that brand. However, apparently they wear different styles of Reeboks. Manning wears the kind that allows you to complete lots of passes and be really good. (Note: Smirk expects nothing in exchange for passing this important Reebok information along. However, in the event we would be surprised by a token gratuity, size 11, please).

• Table 8, a restaurant in The Regent South Beach hotel, is partly owned by a Chicagoan, Josh Woodward, but one of his business partners is Colts defensive star Dwight Freeney. This means the hotel is sure to be a popular hangout for Colts players and fans. (Note: Smirk expects nothing in return for passing this along. However, in case we might be pleasantly surprised, porterhouse, please. Medium).

• About those rumors that Super Bowl capacity at Dolphin Stadium will be greatly reduced: Smirk has heard but has not yet confirmed that entire sections of prime seats have been paved over so that celebrities may watch the game from their limousine in a reserved parking lot situated between the 40s.

• A kickoff party for the Jim Brown Celebrity Golf Classic will be held tonight at Doral. Partyer/golfers are expected to include former star running backs Eric Dickerson, Marcus Allen and Gale Sayers, and dance contest-winner Emmitt Smith. The who's-who of great runners will include just about everyone except O.J. Simpson, who lives in South Florida but who -- in a recent poll of Things Least Welcome at the Super Bowl -- finished second, narrowly trailing a chemical bomb attack.

• ESPN and the NFL Network alone will be broadcasting some 190 hours of Super Bowl coverage leading up to the game. It's an excellent reason to grab one of the many handguns available here in South Florida and murder your TV.

• Former running back Terrell Davis, Rams tight end Roland Williams and two Dolphin cheerleaders are to visit American soldiers back from Iraq at Miami's VA Medical Center today. It is believed the soldiers will enjoy the visit, despite the superfluous appearance of Davis and Williams.

• Habitat for Humanity of Greater Miami's ''Blitz Build 2007'' kicks off today. The NFL involves itself in this every year in an attempt to counterbalance the ostentatious excess of Super Bowl week. It will be a great opportunity for visiting sportswriters who are deep-thinking and sociologically minded, or who have a tee time and are looking for an easy tear-jerk column.

• tells us more than 500 proposition bets are offered for Sunday's game, including the duration of the national anthem by Billy Joel. The over/under is 1 minute, 44 seconds. I have the under. So if Billy holds that last note forever to end at 1:46, that will explain the booing from the press box.

Diva305  (Level: 145.8 - Posts: 1641)
Tue, 30th Jan '07 12:53 PM

Diva Live from 305

It happens today: The supreme axis of excess. It's Media Day at Dolphin Stadium! This is the event at which thousands of bleary journalists arrive in a slow, mooing herd and interview one team of players who would rather be sleeping, and then the next. Annually, it's a close call to determine whether it's the writers or the players who are more bored and want less to be there.

This also is the occasion at which an estimated 253 sports columnists from coast to coast bemoan and rail against Super Bowl excess by actively taking part and writing about it.

The good news? Smirk hit it big in Monday's media lottery draw. I win top prize -- a nonstop, direct flight to Sunday, avoiding every scintilla of mindless preamble, such as Brian Urlacher calling his team the ''stepchild'' in this game because evidently his major-market Bears with the 15-3 record have not gotten enough credit -- if the Media Day circus includes either a precocious kid from Nickelodeon

asking adorable questions, a journalist from Mexico dressed like a superhero or Joe Theismann availing himself for interviews with casual desperation.

Loving my chances.

• By the way, we apologize to out-of-town visitors for the chillier-than-usual weather. Local meteorologists are blaming the coldness on the aftereffect of Nick Saban.

• This is a place where I might mention, amid the Lovie Smith/ Tony Dungy-first-black-coaches backdrop, that Bears founder George Halas was among the old-guard owners initially opposed to the NFL integrating. Except I'd feel like the Jesus guy who walks down Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras revelry carrying the ''World Is Ending'' sign.

• Today is the first day both teams will practice locally, with the Colts and Bears putting a premium on not getting anybody hurt. Cannot confirm the only exception is that Chicago is quietly encouraging a Rex Grossman injury by having him practice in bare feet.

• NFL officials have come out with a list of prohibited items that cannot be brought into the stadium Sunday. The list includes umbrellas, coolers, beach balls, banners, weapons and O.J. Simpson.

• Miami-Dade County's official media party (theme: ''Latin Sizzle'') is tonight at Lummus Park. Police will first sweep the place of bums, although, based on the sartorial and hygienic habits of many of my colleagues, early-arriving media members are at risk to be mistaken for bums and caught in the net.

• An NFL-sponsored event at Johnson & Wales culinary school tonight will feature local chef Michelle Bernstein showing children how to eat healthier. Not sure the name of the program. They rejected Smirk's suggestion: ``Kids! Don't Grow Up To Be Fat Like An Offensive Lineman!''

• Super Bowl-related proposition bet actually available, too stupid for even us to make up: What's the greater number -- Peyton Manning touchdown passes or James Blunt Grammy awards?

• A commercial for the NFL Network to air during the Super Bowl was shot Sunday in North Miami Beach, starring Bengals receiver and Miamian Chad Johnson. The ad depicts an eclectic array of guests attending Chad's Super Bowl party, including footballers Edgerrin James, Reggie Bush and Warren Sapp, soccer star David Beckham, child actor Angus T. Jones (from Two and a Half Men), LL Cool J, Jimmy Fallon, Rascal Flatts and -- no lie -- former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and domestic diva Martha Stewart. The spot does not feature any of Johnson's Bengals teammates, who all are in jail. Which reminds me, Smirk hears Stewart is coming out with a new line of signature jewelry: diamond-studded police ankle bracelets.

• Tonight at the Hard Rock's Park Sports Club, Super Bowl XLI poster designer Charles Fazzino will sign posters. Standing in line for a Charles Fazzino autograph, hey, isn't that one of the warning signs for depression?

Chickfbref1  (Level: 120.7 - Posts: 2012)
Tue, 30th Jan '07 7:57 PM


Thanks for your Miami updates, suffice to say I am totally bummed that I won't be at the game, my kids would complain about not having any food to eat if I bought the tickets (rotten kids).

I was SO incredibly thrilled when the Bears made it, then almost as thrilled when the Colts got in. I don't think ENOUGH can be said about these two incredible coaches. They are both ABSOLUTE CLASS ACTS, and aside from them being the first two African-American head coaches, the are (IMO) the best role models for all to do it right...without intimidation or verbal abuse.

Brian Urlacher said he can't recall Lovie Smith ever swearing or raising his voice...and the same has been said of Tony Dungee. In the heated moments of some pretty intense games, the way these two coaches handle themselves and their players is an asset to the sport.

Having officiated multitudes of high school football games during my career, I can tell you that I don't remember the coaches who screamed or belittled their players, but I do remember the looks on the player's faces.

I do however, remember every coach that treated their players with dignity and respect, and the look on those player's faces is the look I want my kids to have when they play sports...the look that says "I respect this coach, they respect me and I want to do better".

So when all the media is gone and Super Bowl XLI is just a memory, it will be wonderful to remember the game where the good guys DID finish least in my book.

Just my 2

Diva305  (Level: 145.8 - Posts: 1641)
Wed, 31st Jan '07 10:05 AM

Diva Reporting Live From 305

Players, puppets make bosom buddies


The Official Dave Barry Blog
Tuesday was Super Bowl Media Day at Originally Joe Robbie Stadium. Media Day is when the players for the Super Bowl teams get interviewed into a stupor by several thousand members of the press corps. Each team gets interviewed for 60 minutes, which is approximately 58 minutes longer than necessary, because the players all make pretty much the same three points over and over and over:

Point 1: They are happy to be in the Super Bowl.

Point 2: They want to win the Super Bowl.

Point 3: They would rather have their prostate glands examined by an irate scorpion than sit through Media Day.

They don't actually express Point 3 out loud, but you can tell they are thinking it, especially when they are being interviewed by a hand puppet. There were actually two hand puppets at Media Day, both operated by a guy from a Mexican TV station. (The Super Bowl is big in Mexico, where it is called ``The Super Bowl.'')

The hand puppets were supposed to represent a bear and a colt, but in fact they both looked more like mutant fur-bearing frogs from space. The Mexican TV guy was thrusting these things into the faces of professional football linemen the size of convenience stores and asking them questions. Then, pretty much regardless of the answer, the hand puppet would go, ''AY AY AY!'' Then the football player would pick up the TV guy by his neck and crush his windpipe like a Bud Light can.


OK, that last part did not happen, unfortunately. But I did see a Chicago Bear -- specifically, safety Tyler Everett -- tackle a Mexican TV reporter. I am not making this up. This was a different Mexican TV reporter, a woman wearing high heels and a very short skirt and a top that proclaimed, in no uncertain terms, the message ''Here are my bosoms!'' She told Everett that she wanted him to tackle her, for her TV show. (Apparently she forgot to bring her hand puppets.)

Everett, to his credit, tried to get out of it, but she was very insistent, in the way certain women can be when they have self-proclaiming bosoms, so finally he gave in and kind of picked her up. Then SHE insisted on tackling HIM, and to avoid hurting her, he pretty much had to fall down. This suggests a weakness in the Bears defense, but I doubt that the Colts offense will be able to exploit it, unless they have more bosoms than they revealed on Media Day.


I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, ''Were there any media at Media Day who WEREN'T Mexican TV reporters?'' Yes, of course! This is the SUPER BOWL we're talking about! So the media corps also included two failed contestants from American Idol. I am not making this up, either. Their names are Kenneth Briggs and Jonathan Jayne, and apparently they were not very good in their auditions, and Simon Cowell said mean things about them, so now -- this being America -- they are famous. They were representing the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show, conducting interviews with the players (sample question: ``What's your favorite sport?''). They also sang -- many times, for no apparent reason -- Take Me Out to the Ball Game, which is not really about football, but then neither is Super Bowl Media Day.

There were also some actual sports journalists on hand; mostly they crowded around the stars of the two teams. I would say the biggest star for the Bears is linebacker Brian Urlacher, who is often described as ''intimidating'' because he looks as though at any moment he will beat you to death with your own femur. The biggest star for the Colts is quarterback Peyton Manning, who football experts believe will eventually surpass both Dan Marino's and Joe Montana's records for most total career TV commercials. Manning can sell anything. He could do an ad for a feminine hygiene product, and guys all over America would be going, ``Dang! I need that!''

SUPER BOWL GAME ADVISORY: Tickets for the game are still available from the office of U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, who also will be twirling a baton in the halftime show (``A Salute to the Third World''). The game itself will be held Sunday at Originally Stadium, weather permitting. As you know, South Florida has been bludgeoned by a brutal cold wave, with temperatures dropping down toward 45 degrees, at which point human life becomes impossible. The impact has been devastating, especially on the most vulnerable, least-protected members of our community: Hooters waitresses. Until the danger passes, we are urging everybody to stay indoors with your doors locked. Especially Mexican TV reporters. Thank you.

Diva305  (Level: 145.8 - Posts: 1641)
Wed, 31st Jan '07 10:09 AM

MOB MENTALITY: Hundreds of media members crowd around Peyton Manning to hear him keep saying the same three things.

Diva305  (Level: 145.8 - Posts: 1641)
Wed, 31st Jan '07 10:26 AM

Ooops Diva having Woodstock flashbacks

Fri Low: 64° High: 82° Partly Cloudy
Sat Low: 73° High: 84° Partly Cloudy
Sun Low: 70° High: 81° Isolated T-storms

Markied  (Level: 30.9 - Posts: 109)
Wed, 31st Jan '07 6:20 PM

Just as Sploof Editors can NEVER be shown to be impartial, and as we have now had two Superbowl WP's in the last few days, I assume you will balance this by having at least 1 WP on "The Scottish Cup football (soccer) Final?

Diva305  (Level: 145.8 - Posts: 1641)
Thu, 1st Feb '07 9:12 AM

GOOD LUCK GURL! 83-year-old matriarch!


Papa Bear's daughter carves nicheBears owner Virginia McCaskey -- who inherited the team from her father, George Halas -- has humbly but firmly guided the franchise.

Her role as owner was never something she sought. Virginia McCaskey realizes she reached this point only because she happened to be the daughter of Papa Bear, the late George Halas.

Football has been and always will be in her blood.

And what better way to honor her father's legacy than to win -- and win big.

The 83-year-old matriarch and grand dame of the NFL will be in the spotlight Sunday when her beloved Chicago Bears meet the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl at Dolphin Stadium.

''It's very, very important,'' McCaskey said last week in a rare interview. ``We're enjoying all the privileges and perks that go along with ownership, but we have to keep reminding ourselves we really didn't do anything to earn this. George Halas started it all, and I think he'll be around to finish it all. I look on it as a very serious responsibility.''

This week marks the high point of a long-running turnaround for the NFL's original franchise. It's a turnaround that included McCaskey's decision to essentially fire her own son -- a bow to the reality that, as much as the Bears have always been a family-run business, they also belong to the city and the league, and she is as much the team's caretaker as its owner.

''We're just the recipients of a tremendous legacy,'' McCaskey said. 'I use the word `custodian,' and we want to pass it on the best way we can.''

A win Sunday will put McCaskey on center stage to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. Two Sundays ago, wearing a full-length mink, her hair coifed to perfection, she walked across the snowy grass at Soldier Field and happily accepted the NFC Championship trophy, which is named after her father.

''Lots of hugs and happy moments,'' she said of that day, possibly the best she has enjoyed since the Bears won their first Super Bowl in January 1986.

McCaskey never would have assumed this role if not for the death of her brother, George ''Mugs'' Halas, in 1979, who was in line to inherit the team. Since she was Halas' only other child, she became the majority stockholder upon her father's death in 1983.

Uncomfortable playing the role of the bigwig, McCaskey let her husband, Ed, do most of the upfront work as team chairman. Even today, on the page noting the board of directors in the Bears media guide, she is listed as ``Virginia McCaskey, Secretary.''

Rarely, however, does a secretary have to reckon with the issues she faced in 1999, with losing seasons piling up, fan support dying down and her family's stewardship of the team under scrutiny.

Still talked about is the toughness she demonstrated by kicking her son, Michael, out of the football operation.

Michael McCaskey was largely reviled around town for having fired Mike Ditka after the 1992 season. He made things worse seven years later when he botched the hiring of Dave McGinnis to replace Ditka's successor, Dave Wannstedt, as head coach.

The Bears announced the McGinnis hiring before the deal was done. When it fell through, it turned into a public-relations nightmare.

All this led to a reshuffling, which pushed Michael McCaskey upstairs as chairman of the board and installed Ted Phillips as president, the first outsider to run the football operation. Two years later, Phillips hired Jerry Angelo as general manager.

''It was a bumpy road a lot of times, how I should sell the team and give Chicago competent ownership,'' McCaskey said. ``OK, maybe I'm not competent, but Ed and I found the people to do the job.''

Diva305  (Level: 145.8 - Posts: 1641)
Thu, 1st Feb '07 9:21 AM

Diva Reporting Live from 305


Turnbull is enjoying a dream season

Nick Turnbull's house growing up was close enough to Dolphin Stadium that you could get there by walking, or by dreaming.

A big part of the soundtrack of his childhood was the crowd noise at games, but he wasn't in the middle of it -- his family couldn't afford tickets. He would hear that sweet sound from afar, the big cheers booming into the sky, the echo carried to him on the wind.

Nick and his friends would play football in the street or backyard during games, because the only thing better than watching on TV was hearing that sound just to the west, that sound both distant and close all at once, and letting your imagination run as fast and as far as it dared.

''We'd hear the crowd noise and pretend they were cheering for us,'' he said. ``We'd pretend we were there, and everyone was watching us. I dreamed about playing in that stadium one day.''


Turnbull is seated in that stadium now, in a No. 27 Bears jersey, just days from playing in the Super Bowl. The camera hanging from the strap on his left wrist suggests he can hardly trust all of this is really happening and might require proof. The can-you-believe-it smile will not leave his face.

Meet the Luckiest Man on Earth.

There are plenty of bigger stories heading into this game as the Colts' Peyton Manning plays in his first Super Bowl, and Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith make history as the first black coaches to get this far.

There might not be a better little story, though.

Let the big stuff make the national headlines and stir the debate on ESPN.

There is room in a Super Bowl, still, even among all of the bombast and hype, for the small story that is more the stuff of one family's scrapbook.

Odds would be astronomical enough against a kid who once wore his North Dade Optimist Black Bears uniform to bed growing up to play in a hometown Super Bowl.

Add the unlikelihood of an undrafted player from Florida International University -- where home crowds were maybe 5,000 and the team went 0-12 after he left -- becoming the first FIU player in an NFL game.

Layer in the luck of it being the Super-bound Bears that happened to call Turnbull late in the season, on Dec. 12, after he was waived by Atlanta.

What you get is a 25-year-old rookie, a neighborhood kid, South Florida born and raised, now one victory from wearing the Super Bowl ring that Dan Marino spent 17 seasons trying to win.

Turnbull is a backup safety who might not play in Sunday's game -- might not even be active -- but as a member of the 53-man roster he's a win from getting to call himself a champion for life. That only makes what's happening all the more surreal.

The tattoo on his right forearm spells out, in Chinese symbols, the word ''Respect.'' Tough getting that when you're from FIU. Most people he meets have never heard of the school. He tells them neutrally, ''The team that fought Miami,'' and then they know.

He recalls sitting in the Falcons dressing room as equipment guys cleared out his locker. Hours passed with no word that anyone had claimed him off waivers. He didn't find out until later that NFL computers were down that afternoon. And that he was headed, as the playoffs neared, to arguably the best team of all.


Now he is seated up in the Dolphin Stadium bleachers on Media Day, marveling, smiling, watching down below as Rex Grossman, Brian Urlacher and the team's star players are being swarmed by media.

Has he had a pinch-me moment when he can hardly believe he's really here?

''I'm still in that,'' he said, looking around. ``Every moment.''

Turnbull, second youngest of five brothers, grew up in a hard area near the stadium because it was all his family could afford. For years his was the only white family around.

''The way to get accepted was through sports,'' he said.

His father, James Turnbull, used to sell ice cream from a small truck parked outside a local BrandsMart, while his mom, Patricia, worked in a restaurant. Later his father worked as a janitor, then a car detailer. Nobody was getting rich. One of his brothers repairs elevators, another served in Afghanistan.

''We didn't have much,'' Nick said. ``I think that's what makes my parents so happy right now. Because our family never had that much luck.''

The player's two allotted tickets for Sunday will be used by his girlfriend, Angela, and his father.

''I pinch myself over how excited I am for Nick,'' his dad said.

''He's more excited than me,'' the son said.

A day after Nick became the epitome of good fortune when his team reached the Super Bowl -- a wide smile when he says this -- ``[The family] called me to ask me for lottery numbers.''

Turns out he didn't help his family hit the lottery that week.

This week, though, it feels like he did.

Diva305  (Level: 145.8 - Posts: 1641)
Thu, 1st Feb '07 9:24 AM

Naked truth: Strip clubs cater to football fansSouth Florida's gentlemen's clubs expect big business on Super Bowl Sunday, with the combination of dancers, beer and football.

The biggest rivalry Super Bowl Sunday isn't between the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears, but between two of the most well-known gentlemen's clubs in Broward and Miami-Dade.

Pure Platinum near Fort Lauderdale and Tootsie's Cabaret in Miami Gardens try to snare the lucrative Maxim-meets-Playboy demographic. In other words, the two rivals hope to pack their clubs with guys who want plenty of booze, women and food to supplement their giant plasma-screen viewing of the Colts-Bears game.

Angelina Spencer, executive director of the Naples-based Association of Club Executives, the trade association for America's adult nightclubs, said the Super Bowl is big business for the region's gentlemen's clubs.

''Scantily clad women, beer, and football -- it doesn't get any better than that,'' said Spencer, whose trade group estimates that strip clubs in Miami-Dade and Broward will triple their business on Sunday, given that Super Bowl XLI is at Dolphin Stadium.

''We expect to have our best Sunday ever,'' said Andrea Amenta, spokeswoman for Pure Platinum, which has already booked 30 VIP table reservations, offering guaranteed seating and prime viewing.


A group of men who book a VIP table typically spends ''hundreds to thousands'' of dollars on liquor and food alone, Amenta said.

Tootsie's also expects to cash in, especially because its club is just two miles from Dolphin Stadium.

''The financial impact the Super Bowl will have on our Sunday is unknown, but we have geared up and are super excited to give everybody the best experience they have ever had in an adult club,'' said Tootsie's co-owner Richard Stanton, who is already starting to get a number of dancers from out of town asking to work Super Bowl weekend.

Tootsie's, the site of a former BJs warehouse, is a 44,000-square-foot facility that has been redesigned to resemble a Hollywood movie set. It is patterned after the faux village found inside the New York, New York Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

The ''streets'' of the giant club have numerous theme storefronts, stages, giant TV monitors, a sports bar and even $300 per hour curtained VIP sky boxes with private bathrooms.

Tootsie's can handle 2,200 football fans. It features seven 12-by-14 foot screens and 35 plasma TVs.

''The experience is to make the visitor feel as if they stepped into another universe -- it's a real adult Disney World,'' Stanton said.

But bigger isn't always better, said Amenta, whose club can handle 400 football fans, with its sister club next door, Solid Gold, able to handle another 670.

''We are a small, intimate, boutique club, not a stadium,'' said Amenta, whose club will host a pregame tailgating party in its parking lot, offering BBQ fare, drinks and dancers sporting cheerleader outfits.


Pure Platinum has 22 smaller televisions, which is why a 6-by-8-foot projection screen with stereo audio will be set up on the main stage.

There will also be gourmet food offerings by Pure Platinum sous chef Marc Stang -- with a menu including crab-stuffed lobster tails, filet mignon, freshly made apple tarts and cheesecake.

The club's halftime entertainment will feature a ''football-inspired cabaret show'' with 12 dancers dressed as cheerleaders and Colts and Bears players, Amenta said.

All of the dancing happens during pregame, halftime, and postgame.

Because once the game actually begins, club owners know the last thing any football fan wants is a dancer getting in the way of the game.

''The only time a grown man loses interest in seeing a half-naked woman is when the Super Bowl game begins,'' laughed Spencer.

Diva305  (Level: 145.8 - Posts: 1641)
Fri, 2nd Feb '07 10:01 AM

Diva Live from 305

Super security: Bad guys don't stand a chance


Put down your drink and listen up, South Florida, because it is time to talk Super Bowl security.

It is a known fact that the Super Bowl is a major target for terrorism. The terrorists HATE the Super Bowl, because (a) it is a symbol of corrupt Western decadence, and (b) the terrorists lost a giant bet in 2004 when the Patriots failed to cover the spread.

So we have every reason to believe the terrorists will try to attack this Super Bowl. In fact, it can now be revealed that they have already made one attempt. Yes. On Wednesday, a group of terrorists flew into Miami International Airport Construction Zone, carrying a large quantity of powerful explosives, which they were able to get onto their plane because they put them in clear, one-quart, zip-top plastic bags, in accordance with Transportation Safety Administration rules.

''These guys really knew what they were doing,'' stated a TSA spokesperson. ``They also removed their shoes.''

The terrorists then rented a car and were headed toward Originally Joe Robbie Stadium when they made a fatal mistake:

They tried to get through the Golden Glades Interchange.

''They never had a chance,'' stated a police source. ``We picked them up in Atlanta.''

So we got lucky that time. But the danger has not passed, which is why police are asking all South Floridians to be on the lookout for persons exhibiting unusual behavior, such as signaling turns, or having car insurance. Also, if you are planning to go to the Super Bowl game on Sunday, be aware that additional security measures will be in effect, as follows:

• WHEN TO ARRIVE: All persons attending the game MUST arrive at the stadium no later than 7:45 a.m. yesterday. There will be NO EXCEPTIONS. I am talking to you, Prince.

• PERSONAL BELONGINGS: Fans will not be allowed to take anything into the stadium except medically required organs. If you need, for example, both kidneys, you will be required to produce a note from your doctor, as well as your actual doctor.

• TAILGATING: There will be no tailgating. This is to thwart the terrorists, who are believed to have been planning a tailgate-based attack (code name ''Death Hibachi'') involving the detonation of a nuclear bratwurst capable of leveling South Florida, if South Florida was not already so level to begin with.

• TALKING: There will be no talking.

• PERMITTED CHEERS: The National Football League, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the CIA and Vice President Cheney, has approved the following three cheers for use during the game: (1) ''You suck, ref!'' (2) ''Come on, (Name of Team)!'' (3) ``You suck, Prince!''

• AIR TRAFFIC: Any aircraft attempting to fly into or out of South Florida on Sunday will be shot down by the U.S. Air Force. Asked if this would apply to commercial flights, security officials replied, ``Hey, this is the Super Bowl.''

• THE GAME: For security reasons, the actual game will be played at a secret military facility in the New Mexico desert. This is just as well, since there really wasn't any way to use the field at Originally Joe Robbie Stadium, which is booked solid with the pregame, halftime and postgame extravaganzas. Besides, as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell pointed out in his official news conference, ``the game usually sucks anyway.''

• PARTY UPDATE: The hottest party in town will take place Saturday night at the New Arena Built Right Next to the Other Fairly New Arena. It will be hosted by Playboy inventor Hugh Hefner, who kind of reminds me of Fidel Castro, in the sense that, when you see a photograph of him, you ask yourself, ''I wonder if he was alive when that was taken.'' Anyway, Hugh's hosting a lavish bash (Theme: ''Thank God for Viagra'') and invitations are almost impossible to get, although some are still available free from the office of U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, who will be at the party serving mojitos. Give Tom a call! Tell him I sent you.

Tuzilla  (Level: 131.0 - Posts: 3769)
Sat, 3rd Feb '07 11:22 PM

Is it over, yet??? I mean c'mon. Neither team is from a market worthy of being in an event of such self-assuming importance. No New York. No L.A. I am surprised that a network is even willing to broadcast it.
What are we looking at, really??? It is a football game in the only bilingual city in the U.S. where neither language is English. The from a city that if it isn't already windy enough with pomposity, is huffing so hard the north tier of state are in a sub-zero icebox. And the other??? Indianpolis??? Are we serious??? This is a city that is famous for running around in circles. It's nickname is Circle City. Running circle gets you nowhere in football.
The reality is, the NFL needs to enter the 21st century. They need to show the same wisdom as the NCAA and come up with their own BCS system to prevent nightmare scenarios like this. Let the computer play the "playoff" games. Let the computer design the Super Bowl to maximize profits and TV potential.

(okay, I won't rat on who put me up to this. Kick the ball. I ready for the game.)

Diva305  (Level: 145.8 - Posts: 1641)
Sun, 4th Feb '07 9:12 AM

Dive Live from 305
(for those that care)
Damp and muggy here

Super Bowl lessons

History in the making is what the Bears and Colts are striving for, although the themes will vary from team to team and player to player.
They will write history today. The Bears and Colts will use the Dolphin Stadium turf as their notebook and on it they will craft moments that players of another generation may remember and study.

Someday -- maybe next week if ESPN Classic turns it around quickly enough -- this Super Bowl XLI might go down as a game for the ages.

Maybe Marvin Harrison or Muhsin Muhammad will be today's Lynn Swann.

Maybe a victory helps crown Peyton Manning a winner or causes Chicago fans to not view Rex Grossman as a loser.

This is a game in which returners Devin Hester and Terrence Wilkins are hoping to ''pull a Desmond Howard,'' as Wilkins said this week thinking back a decade to Super Bowl XXXI.

This is a game where two teams will reach for their destiny, never mind that all 32 NFL teams started this season enviably eyeing the same destiny.

''Yeah,'' Bears linebacker Lance Briggs said, ``But not every team is in the Super Bowl.''

Already this Super Bowl is historic in that Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith are the first black head coaches to vie for a NFL championship -- never mind that K.C. Jones and Al Attles did it in the NBA finals 30 years ago.

''You can downplay it, but if you look at the history of our country, it is one of those things where somebody has never done it before,'' Indianapolis linebacker Cato June said. ``Now it's the first time. I think that's a big thing. I don't think that anything negative can come out of talking about it because it's a breakthrough that has never happened and it's a positive thing. I embrace it and I am happy for both coaches in that they can be part of history at this moment.''

History in the making is what all these men are reaching for although the themes will vary from team to team, player to player.

The Bears defense has an opportunity today to step out of the shadow of that Bears defense that dominated the 1985-86 season and Super Bowl XX.

''We don't compare,'' Chicago middle linebacker Brian Urlacher said. ``They won a Super Bowl. We have a chance to do that right now but look at their numbers -- they were amazing. They did everything. They took it away, they sacked the quarterback, and they intercepted passes.

``They were dominant. There have been games where we were dominant this year, but they were dominant all season. I think they only gave up like 16 points in three playoff games so they were pretty good. They were really good. If we win the Super Bowl, you're going to see the comparisons. But until then, there really is none.''

The Colts offense? It can score points at a dizzying pace. Indianapolis erased a 21-point deficit in the AFC championship game to get here. So maybe this group can establish a new Super Bowl scoring record, previously held by San Francisco's 55 points in Super Bowl XXIV?

''Man, we'll be happy just winning the game,'' Colts receiver Reggie Wayne said.

There really should be no comparing today's quarterbacks. Manning is on a path to the Pro Football Hall of Fame while Grossman has been on a path to self-destruction at times this season.

But both men have a chance to write their names in Super Bowl quarterback lore -- alongside Namath, Montana and Trent Dilfer.

''When I was drafted to Chicago, one of the first things people told me was that the backup quarterback is the most popular player in town,'' Grossman said. ``I would love to play more consistent so that [fans] know what to expect -- everyone knows what to expect. I know that I can do that. In my first full season [as a starter], I had about 12 games, including the playoffs that I'm real proud of, and about five or six that I'm really not proud of at all. They were bad.

``I need to work on those six games, but I'm happy about where I'm at. I'm at the Super Bowl and I've had 12 great games. I still feel like I had a good season.''

That season culminates today as South Florida hosts its ninth game, tying New Orleans for the record for most games.

''At the end of the day, after the ceremonies and the jets fly over, the whistle blows and it's football,'' Wilkins said. ``What we have been doing all year to get us to this point is what it comes down to. It comes down to us getting in there and making plays.

``It's not going to be anything different or anything special.''

Except for the new chapter of Super Bowl history the teams will write.

Diva305  (Level: 145.8 - Posts: 1641)
Sun, 4th Feb '07 9:15 AM

I'm betting on Billy Joel

If you go to the game, you'll miss the show


It's Super Bowl Sunday at last. Finally -- after all the hype, all the parties, all the talk -- we will get to see what the Super Bowl is really, in the end, all about: the TV commercials.

There will be a lot of them, because the total Super Bowl broadcast package runs longer than the administration of the late Gerald Ford, having begun two weeks ago with the pre -pre -pre -pre-pre-pre-pre-pregame show (Peyton Manning: The Early Bowel Movements). You will not want to miss a single hour of this coverage.

SPECIAL MESSAGE FOR MEN: I assume you will be watching on a brand-new high-definition TV with an 11-foot-diagonal screen delivering a picture so enormously lifelike that, to comprehend what you are seeing, you have to watch from your driveway. I hope you did not allow anybody -- defined as ''your wife'' -- to convince you that you don't need a new TV, because your current TV still works fine, or you need the money for your child's insulin, or some other lame excuse. You do not want to be known in your neighborhood as ''the guy with the small diagonal.'' The Super Bowl is today; the electronics stores are open right now. You need to step up and be a MAN, by clipping out the following newspaper article and giving it to your wife:


NEW YORK OR BOSTON -- (AP) -- A scientific study, done by scientists, has shown that small television screens cause cancer.

''If your TV set is not the size of, at minimum, a Toyota Camry, you are taking a serious medical risk,'' stated Dr. Harold Gropenfinger, a scientist. ``A person who would deliberately expose her family, including children, to a smaller TV is, in my scientific opinion, scum.''

Dr. Gropenfinger won the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize for Science for discovering that beer prevents heart disease.

* * *

Aside from the commercials, the highlight of the Super Bowl broadcast package is expected to be the Pepsi Or Coke ''They Taste Essentially the Same'' Halftime Show, headlined by a name that has long been virtually synonymous with pro football: Prince.

Prince held a press conference Thursday at the Miami Beach Convention Center; he told the press that, while he admired the potency of the Indianapolis offense, he expected the Bears to neutralize the Colts' deep-strike air attack by dropping seven men into coverage.

Ha! I am of course joking. Prince -- who is, physically, smaller than the average NFL player's protective cup -- did not talk about football, or anything else. Instead, he brought his band and his hot women dancers, and they did some songs for the media, expressing the theme: ``I may be tiny and sexually ambiguous, but you will notice that these hot women dancers are writhing against ME, as opposed to YOU, loser media person.''

The big question on everybody's mind, of course, is: What is the danger that we, as a nation, will be exposed to Prince's nipple? I regret to report that, judging by the press conference, the danger is very real. Prince wore an unbuttoned shirt, and when he writhed around, there was definite visible nipplage. However, because he is Prince, we are talking about extremely small nipples. However, if you have purchased a doctor-recommended cancer-preventing large-diagonal TV, even Prince's nipple will appear in your family room to be the size of a dinner plate.

What I'm saying is: Be ready.

The Super Bowl pregame show will feature another name that has strong football associations: Cirque du Soleil (French for ``Strap of the Jock''). We got a small taste of the pregame show at the press conference, and all I can say is, if you like mimes, you will love this show! It includes people dressed as sexually ambiguous referees riding on giant flamingos, just as the late Vince Lombardi used to do.

Also appearing at the press conference was Billy Joel, who will sing the National Anthem with both nipples fully covered. One of the many bets you can place in Las Vegas on the Super Bowl this year -- I am not making this up -- is whether the Anthem will go over, or under, one minute and 42 seconds. Joel was asked at the press conference how long he expects to take, and he replied: ``I don't know. I'm only saying that because I might be betting myself.''

GAME ADVISORY: The football-game portion of the Super Bowl is currently projected to start sometime either late tonight or tomorrow morning. Tickets are no longer available, but U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo has invited everybody to watch the game with him at his winter getaway home in Hialeah, ''Casa Tancredo.'' He promises to ''ride the flamingo,'' whatever that means.

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