Super Bowl XX. Hello, New Orleans.
The Chicago Bears will go on to annihilate the New England Patriots by a 46-10 score and immortalize themselves as Da Bears. I will be humiliated by the Patriots (at least one of them, but probably all of them since I picked them to win 13-10).
In the days before this historic beatdown, I am covering the Patriots media session for USA Today. I’ve followed the Pats through their entire run from wild-card playoff entrant to the cusp of an NFL championship and I am no stranger to most of their players. This morning, I’m working on a story about the Patriots’ running game.
They’d ranked sixth in the NFL in rushing, with Craig James topping a coterie of backs with 1,227 yards.
I sidle over to Patriots center Pete Brock, with whom I’ve had a few chats during this enchanting playoff dash that featured three wins on the road (against the New York Jets, Los Angeles Raiders and Miami Dolphins). He’s talking to a couple of other writers and finishes analyzing the way James picks his hole and gets to the outside. Or the inside. Hey, this Super Bowl was in New Orleans, home of the Cajun martini. I’m lucky I remember any of this.
I say, “With Craig breaking 1,000 yards, did he do anything for the offensive line?”
It’s customary for 1,000-yard backs to reward their blockers. Watches, boots, sometimes even taking the whole gang of five along to the Pro Bowl. Brock says, “Yeah. He got us a television.”
Remember, this is January of 1986. TVs are big, clunky things. Most locker rooms had just one, which normally was tuned (during media access) to All My Children.
My pursuit of accuracy found no clear voice in my follow-up question.
Brock looks at me and shakes his head. I’ve just won The Stupid Reporter Award, no small prize at a gathering of about 2,000.
“Yeah, bleep-bleep. We have to share it,” he says.
Bleep-bleep? Me? After all, we’ve meant to each other? After three road trips and all the time, I’ve spent with this team? Grrr.
We could have handled this better. Maybe from me: “How many TVs did he buy?” Maybe from him: “Eight. All the linemen and I think the tight end.”
Instead, I am a bleep-bleep.
But I didn’t lose 46-10.
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