If I'm wrong please (don't) e-mail me


Published: Saturday, January 25, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 24, 2003 at 10:47 p.m.

SWAMP SWAMI ON THE SUPER BOWL

OK, so the Swami had a bad Championship Sunday. An oh-fer. Zero right, all wrong. I picked the Eagles and Titans and yes, I am an idiot.

I know this because so many of you e-mailed me with that revelation. Just to let you know, your cyberspace works fine and thanks to those of you who sent me messages that didn't include profanity. But what does %$@#*&%!! mean?

I also now realize that when I am trying to be tongue-and-cheek, not all of you get it. Maybe it was a poor job of writing, but when I wrote that Steve Spurrier changed the NFL this year, I was joking. From now on, all sarcasm will be in bold in this column.

But keep those e-mails coming. I really enjoyed reading them.

So I ate some crow last week. Kind of tastes like chicken. It doesn't stop the Swami from venturing into the biggest game of them all - Super Bowl XXXVVIII.

Bucs fans are hoping I pick the Raiders and vice versa. Hey, I underestimated both teams. The Bucs overcame that horrible start to dominate the rest of the game.

And what a game Warren Sapp played. I really like that guy. He's a fine person.

The Raiders showed that they have the best offense in the league, but I still wonder if I might have gotten a split if not for those two late first-half fumbles by the Titans.

It sets up the finest moment in the history of the Tampa Bay franchise. The Bucs in the Super Bowl. Amazing.

Makes you want to bring out those old orange jerseys and salute Bruce the Buccaneer.

This year's Super Bowl is, of course, in San Diego where a bunch of hard-working sportswriters are passing on the parties to get the best stories possible.

They have brought us such insights as:

If Keyshawn Johnson was a tree, he'd climb himself.

Which jumpsuit will Al Davis wear to the game - the white one with gold trim or the white one with silver trim?

Bill Romanowski's pre-game meal and when it comes back up.

Sebastian Janikowski's vow - I've quit drinking ... again ... no, really, I mean it this time.

Oakland's starting wide receivers remember the first Super Bowl ever.

Brad Johnson on his illustrious career at Florida State.

Of course, the main story line involves the Bucs coach. Jon Gruden was the Oakland coach last year before leaving Bob Irsay-like in the middle of the night after Tampa Bay offered draft picks and cash.

How much will it help the Bucs that Gruden knows the team he's facing?

How much will it help the Raiders that they know Gruden?

How much will it help ABC's ratings if Gruden and Davis mud wrestle at halftime?

These questions and more will be answered Sunday along with the real compelling question - how many chicken wings will be consumed across America?

Me, I'm staying away from the wings. Too fattening. I'm just going to enjoy some Diet Pepsi and rice cakes during the game.

I really don't have a team I'm pulling for, although I'm tempted to root for the Bucs for a sentimental reason that has nothing to do with Hugh Culverhouse or John McKay. Or even Booker Reese.

It has to do with Joe Jurevicius. Remember when my daughter Kelsey was born and I wrote that any team that kept a player from being with his wife when she was having a child would be a team I'd root against forever? The Bucs did the opposite before their NFC title game, allowing the wide receiver to be with his wife when his child was born prematurely.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but in pro sports brains don't always come into play.

I was happy for Jurevicius when he turned a short pass into a game-changing 71-yard reception last week. I'll be happy if he is the game's MVP. But I'll be happiest when Michael William Jurevicius comes home from the hospital.

Now, to the hard part. Who will win? The Raiders are favored because of their offense. The Bucs have the league's best defense. Defense wins championships unless it gives up too many points.

The Bucs are rolling offensively. The question is whether the Tampa Bay offense will have to outscore Oakland's.

Give the Raiders the edge in experience. Shoot, you'd give them the edge in experience if they were playing an AARP all-star team. I don't want to say the Raiders are old, but there is a racy poster of the Golden Girls hanging in their dressing room.

There is something to be said for youth in this game. Us young guys have to stick together.

After much soul-searching and analysis, the Swami is staying in the state. Give me the Bucs 27-24.

And if the Raiders win, please be sure you Oakland fans send me your e-mails. I promise I'll read them all.

You can reach sports columnist Pat Dooley by e-mail at dooleyp@gvillesun.com or by calling 374-5053. You can see Pat on "Sports Showdown" with Larry Vettel on WGFL-CBS 4 Fridays at 11 p.m. and Saturdays at 11:30 a.m.

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