Another Super Bowl is upon us, and there’s more publicity than you can shake a mouse at. The Colts-Saints game promises to be a shootout, and a great story line no matter who wins.
I’ve been in the outer orbit of a couple of Super Bowls, thanks to my time in California, though I’ve never actually been through the turnstiles. Super Bowl 32 (phooey on the Roman numerals) played in San Diego was also a shootout and an exciting finish. And Super Bowl 22, also in San Diego, featured a memorable offensive explosion by one team.
I hung with some homies, so to speak, to watch the Packers, led by the not-yet-obnoxious Brett Favre, try to defend their title against frequent Super Bowl patsies Denver, led by John Elway and Terrell Davis. I visited a fans event before the game, leading to the above pic, and hit some familiar San Diego tourist spots, leading to the pic below. If you don’t like San Diego, you do not have a pulse.
This game was also memorable for a controversial call by Packers coach Mike Holmgren. With the game tied at 24 in the final minutes, and Denver inside the Packers 5 yard line, Holmgren directed his defense to allow the Broncos to score. You read that right: he willfully conceded a touchdown. His reasoning was that even if his defense held, Denver would have an easy field goal attempt with almost no time on the clock for the Packers to tie the game. And Green Bay’s defense hadn’t played well the entire game.
The strategy was not enough, as Denver scored and held on for a 31-24 victory. Elway was carried off the field symbolically by his teammates, but Davis was the star and game’s MVP with 157 yards rushing and three TDs.
The previous Super Bowl in San Diego also featured Elway and the Broncos, against Joe Gibbs’ Washington Redskins in 1988. I was a member of the editing staff of The San Diego Union sports department. We had our hands full in no time. Denver, a Super Bowl loser the year before, scored on the game’s first play from scrimmage, on a John Elway pass to Ricky Nattiel.
However, the Redskins soon went off the charts. Led by QB Doug Williams, RB Tim Smith and WR Ricky Sanders, Washington put up 35 points in the second quarter en route to a 42-10 victory.
So we’ll all enjoy Colts-Saints, and I’ll always remember those San Diego Super Bowls.