Super Bowl Memories by Art Spander

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Super Bowl Memories

As a reporter since 1960, Art Spander is a living treasure of sports history. A recipient of the Dick McCann Memorial Award -- given for his long and distinguished career covering professional football -- he has earned himself a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

TAMPA--So this year, on Media Day for Super Bowl XLIII, a male reporter from a Spanish-language television station climbed into a red dress, plopped on a blonde wig and desperately attempted to become a story. Sorry.

We’d seen the act before, performed much more impressively in fact. 

The clowns were sent in a long time ago.

Spend a few decades around the NFL’s championship game – this is my 33rd Super Bowl -- there isn’t much which hasn’t been witnessed or experienced.

The Super Bowl, Pete Rozelle’s baby, having reached middle age, has provided a modicum of excitement: Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning field goal at Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002.

A few laughs: Jim McMahon of the Chicago Bears mooning a helicopter during practice before Super Bowl XX in 1986.

And bit of scandal: Janet Jackson’s bare-breasted “wardrobe malfunction’’ at halftime of Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004.

It’s going to take much more than a guy in drag to get noticed, especially when you recall John Riggins, ending 18 months of press silence before No. XVII in 1983 appearing in battle camouflage and when asked to what Riggo attributed his longevity, responding “Formaldehyde.’’

This time, with the world in a financial mess, the words of Rozelle, NFL commissioner from 1960 to 1989, particularly come to mind.

“We don’t say the Super Bowl is the end of the world,’’ said Rozelle, who died in 1996. “but we feel it gave half the country a chance to think of something else other than our domestic troubles and our international troubles.’’

Indeed, it gave us a chance to watch ticket prices climb from $12 in 1967 for the first game, which wasn’t even called the Super Bowl, to $1000 in 2009. That should take one’s mind off troubles both domestic and international.

Yes, memories, and here are a few of mine...

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