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Fans Arriving in Florida for Super Bowl XXXV

Aired January 26, 2001 - 1:32 p.m. ET


NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Fans are arriving in Florida for Super Bowl XXXV.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, it's almost time isn't it? Two days before we sit down and watch the game with enthusiasm that appears to be building down there in Florida.

John Giannone of CNN/"Sports Illustrated" is down there in Tampa, relaxing again today -- John.

ALLEN: Hi, John.

JOHN GIANNONE, CNN/"SPORTS ILLUSTRATED": Yes, I wish I was on that boat behind me right now, to be honest with you, but, yes, Friday is the day in the week where the coaches meet with the media for one final time. The players no longer have to do interviews until the game. For the two coaches, it's a matter of just putting through some final preparations. Brian Billick of the Baltimore Ravens says he's trying to figure out a way to keep his team's mind occupied in these last frenetic 48 hours, and Giants head coach Jim Fassel says while everybody thinks this is a stressful and tense time, he's looking forward to the chance to exhale.


JIM FASSEL, GIANTS COACH: We get down to this point, I've got it all in my mind: I want quiet time, I want a relaxing time -- and I'll be able to relax. I always -- I'm a little bit more, sometimes, tense as you build up to the game. Once we get closer to the game, I start to relax a little bit more because I feel comfortable that I've got everything in place, we've done everything we could. I'm not worried about did I cover this, did I cover that?

BRIAN BILLICK, RAVENS COACH: ... Friday afternoon brush up, and then Saturday, waiting for the game -- that's probably going to be -- I know it's going to be the toughest time for me as a coach, I imagine it is for the players as well, because there's just that dead time to dwell on all the ifs, and, or buts in the potentials in what this means. So we're going to try to keep that at a minimum.


GIANNONE: Friday also the day in the NFL where commissioner Paul Tagliabue issues his state of the league address. And he did that this morning, and of course, plenty of topics of conversations about some of the off-field problems involving NFL players. There's the Ray Lewis situation, the Ravens line backer who was exonerated of murder charges last year, but fielded plenty of questions about it this week. Also Rae Carruth, the former Carolina Panthers wide receiver who was convicted this week of conspiring to murder his pregnant girlfriend. There's also former Green Bay Backers tight end Mark Chmura, whose sexual assault trial began this week. And former giants wide receiver Mark Ingram, who was arrested on grant theft auto charges this week.

Tagliabue addressed all those issues and this morning he expressed his opinions.


PAUL TAGLIABUE, NFL COMMISSIONER: We track 3,000 to 4,000 players every year in terms of criminal misconduct, and this year, tracking almost 4,000 players, we have had 26 investigations -- not offenses, investigations -- and we've had 11 convictions, out of 4,000 people that we're tracking. And most of those convictions -- putting aside the Rae Carruth -- were minor offenses. If the rest of society can do as well as we do in the NFL, America's crime problem will be well addressed.


GIANNONE: And with Tagliabue's words echoing in their ears, both Brian Billick and Jim Fassel will stress to their teams the need to police themselves over these final 48 hours, and if they need a reminder, they need only look back two years ago, when Atlanta Falcons defensive back Eugene Robinson was arrested the night before the Super Bowl for solicitation of prostitution. The Falcons ended up losing significantly the next day.

That's for now all from Tampa, let's get back to you in Atlanta.

ALLEN: So, John, it does sound like they're concerned about trouble following the game. I was reading something in the wires about Tampa, Sin City, and the NFL warning the players to be careful as far as anyone visiting nightclubs, strip clubs, following the weekend's activities.

GIANNONE: Yes, those warnings actually came down before the players even came down here. Both coaches were equipped with information from some sources and from some police people down here in Tampa about clubs that were being targeted by the police for possible sweeps. Of course, there's much been made of this new law in Florida, the so-called six-foot law for lap dancing that occurs in the adult entertainment clubs.

So these players have been warned stay away from those places, don't get involved in those places either before the Super Bowl or after the Super Bowl, and I'm thankful to say so far, so good.

WATERS: The investigations Tagliabue talked about, John, is there any comparison to years gone by -- are things getting worse, getting better, what? GIANNONE: Well, you know, as he said, he seems to indicate that you can't police everybody, and with the amount of people who play football in the National Football League, the statistics and the percentages as compared to the rest of the American population is actually very low. So he believes that these are all isolated incidents, these aren't a problem, but of course, every time there is a problem, the NFL security people stress to the teams and then the players that they have to police themselves better.

WATERS: All right, check back, John Giannone, down there in Tampa, watching the Super Bowl stuff.

ALLEN: OK, that's the seedy side; let's talk chips and dip, shall...

WATERS: Let's do that.

ALLEN: Let's talk first down, shall we? A lot of folks getting ready for the weekend, and fans are getting ready for the biggest weekend ever, and we have live reports from Giants country and Raven territory.

Let's start out with CNN's Frank Buckley, not far from New York in Moonachie, New Jersey.

Did I get that right?

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You got it right -- we were just talking about how to pronounce it here. You got it right on the money.

And we are in Giants country. This is Mannie's (ph), which is a big Giants hang-out, where the Giants fans come before, during and after the ball games, and sure enough, they are already building the excitement here at Mannie's. They will be having, here in the day of the game, a big turnout and they'll be doing a trivia game, and they'll be giving out shirts and things like that.

And we're going to give you one of the questions right now that will actually be one of their trivia questions, and Lou and Natalie, you can answer it after we finish this segment -- but who won the MVP Award in the 1990 -- the 1990 -- Super Bowl XXV?

We'll give you the answer in just a second.

Let's talk to some of these fans.

Chris (ph), you are looking forward to the game. Who's going to win?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the Giants are going to win, and it's going to be fairly easy. I'm going to go off on a limb here, because I was just reading Shannon Sharpe's prediction in the paper with a 9:00 Super Bowl celebration, and I'm going to say he's going to be eating some crow, and they're going to clip the Ravens' wings: Giants 27, Ravens zip. BUCKLEY: OK.

How about you? What's your...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I absolutely second that. We hope it's close for the rest of the country, but we're expecting a Giant victory.

BUCKLEY: Yes, we talking about how much the ticket prices are. Any thoughts of trying to go down to the ball game yourself this year?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, the ticket prices in general are way out of my league. I've got to work for a living, and with a family to take care of, how can you spend the kind of money necessary for sports tickets today?

But the Giants are going to win -- if anybody's got free tickets for me, I'll be happy to take them.

BUCKLEY: Thanks a lot.

One more guy we want to talk to here.

Joe, any thoughts -- the game's coming up -- what are you going to be doing on game day?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to be going to a couple of friends' houses and watching the game, getting together with a few friends, drinking a few beers -- and looking forward to a good game.

Any thoughts?

BUCKLEY: Any doubt in your mind who's going to win?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's going to be a tough game. I mean, it's going to be a low-scoring game, a real defensive battle, but I think the Giants are going to prevail. I think it's going to be like a game like 10-3 maybe.

BUCKLEY: OK, thanks very much, there's the wisdom of some of the fans.

And now our trivia question, Lou and Natalie: What was the MVP winner in 1990 game?

ALLEN: It was such an easy question.

WATERS: Yes, that's a easy one. Right off the top...

BUCKLEY: Is it too easy?

ALLEN: Oh, so easy.

WATERS: It sounds like Jeff Hostedler (ph).

BUCKLEY: Negative. There it is: 1990, Super Bowl XXV, we're in a sports bar, so there's your answer: 1990 Super Bowl MVP O.J. Anderson.

ALLEN: And, you know what the bad part about that is? Someone gave us the wrong answer.

BUCKLEY: Cheaters.

WATERS: We're not exactly a reservoir of NFL trivia.

ALLEN: We can't even cheat well.

Thanks so much. That's the word from the Giants fans. Where are all of the women hanging out at the sports bar on a Friday afternoon?

WATERS: They're on the job, earning money, keeping the economy going. You hear all the Giants fans, and they'll say, oh it's going to be a close defensive battle, but I think the Giants will prevail. But if go down to Baltimore, they're hoping for an NFL championship since the Colts played there, and they're saying the Ravens are going to win, so...

ALLEN: It is up to the Ravens to uphold the city's football tradition.

Let's see what they're see what they're saying there. CNN's Eileen O'Connor on the story for the Ravens.

Hi there, Eileen.


Well, they are saying that they are sure of a victory.

And with me right now are three members of the same family, also three members of the Baltimore Ravens Marching Band. Now, this is a very special band. This is Tom Darrell (ph) and Kathy Witcome (ph).

Tom, what makes the Ravens Marching Band so different?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Essentially, it's a -- it's a big family. And we have people in the band from all walks of life. And it -- they all come together as a volunteer organization. And we make up this band that just goes out and supports our team. We are a big part of the 12th man that go out there and cheer our team onto victory.

O'CONNOR: And you know, Darrell, this whole town is going crazy. We just saw a few girls walking by with purple wigs. People have purple flags on their cars. They -- they've dressed up their buildings in purple. Everyone's got purple, as I can see that you do too.

What makes the fans here so unique?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our fans is the greatest there is in the NFL. They support our team, they support our band, and they are truly the 12th man on the field that make our team go. And the players tell you that, that the fan support is what makes them do what they do. O'CONNOR: But all of this talk of who let the dog and everything, isn't it crazy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got the dogs. We've got the dogs. And they're going to let them out on the Giants.


And Kathy, Kathy, you know, you do have such intense feeling for football here. You all stayed together even without a football team, didn't you, the band?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, the band was in place when the Ravens came. Our president, John Zeman (ph), he was running the band when the Colts left. And he kept it going and kept it going. And he is responsible for that. And when the Ravens came in 1996, we had -- our band was in place, and we just went ahead and changed over in 1997.

O'CONNOR: OK, and you have a special message right now for all of the CNN viewers?


O'CONNOR: Well, on that note, Natalie, I think we'll toss back to you.

ALLEN: All right. Our good luck to both teams. We just hope everybody's going to have a great time.



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