Former New Orleans MVPs Note Super Bowl Changes

By MARY FOSTER, AP Sports Writer

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Len Dawson the Super Bowl MVP in 1970, the first year it was played in New Orleans, remembers a very different scene from the one surrounding the game this year.

"A lot of newspapers from back east, because it was Kansas City and Minnesota, didn't even bother to send anyone to it," Dawson said. "And there were no formal interview sessions. In those days reporters would knock on your door or catch you in the coffee shop."

Dawson, who won the award for completing 12 of 17 passes, including a 46-yarder to Otis Taylor, in the Chiefs' 23-7 victory over the Vikings, was one of six MVPs from the eight New Orleans Super Bowls reminiscing about their games Thursday.

The group included Desmond Howard (1997), Joe Montana (1990) Richard Dent (1986), Randy White (1978), and Franco Harris (1975).

"I remember the hotel we came to stay in was in bankruptcy," said Harris, who ran for 158 yards on 34 carries in Pittsburgh's 16-6 victory over Minnesota. "We'd been looking forward to it, and then there was no room service, no nothing."

Another thing that has changed is the vehicle the MVP gets. This year's winner will receive a Cadillac.

"I got a Plymouth," Dawson said. "Or maybe it was a Dodge."

"Did you get to keep it?" White asked. "I had to give mine back after a year, and then I got taxed for using it."

All six of the former MVPs picked the St. Louis Rams to win Sunday's game over the New England Patriots.


MILLION DOLLAR KICK: Mike Hollis, the Jacksonville Jaguars' kicker, will try to help Randy Rial win a million dollars during Super Bowl week.

Hollis will take part in the Million Dollar Kick contest along with Rial, who won the chance to participate in a kickoff last week.

Hollis will attempt field goals of 50, 55, and 60 yards. For each successful field goal, Rial gets to move five yards closer to the goal post in the contest.

Hollis came into the season as one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history. But he went 18-for-28 in field goals and missed two of his last eight extra-point attempts. He also went 0-1 on distances of 50 yards or longer.


FAN FAME: Kathy Lewis, a St. Louis Rams fan from Imperial, Mo., and Randy "Zip" Pierce, a New England Patriots fan from Nashua, N.H., are the 2002 Hall of Fans honorees.

Lewis and Pierce join earlier inductees Tim "Barrelman" McKernan (Broncos), Michael "Boss Hogette" Torbert (Redskins), and Wayne "The Violator" Mabry (Raiders).

"They call me the 'Ram and Rat Lady,'" said Lewis, who wore a Rams jersey with a six-inch plastic ram on each shoulder, one of which had a rubber rat impaled on its horns. "Because I have the (plastic) rams and dress the rat in our opponent's colors each week."

Pierce not only wore a team jersey, he had red, white and blue trousers and a sequined top hat in the same color scheme.

In addition to going into the hall, which is actually an exhibit at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the inductees get a big bonus, Pierce said.

"You get to come to the biggest game in football and see your team win," Pierce said.


VINDICATED: Since the summer of 2000, Patriots defensive back Otis Smith has gone from the low of being cut by the New York Jets to the high of playing in the Super Bowl for the rival New England Patriots.

"It's a good feeling and it makes you want to gloat a little bit," Smith said.

Smith said Jets coaches told him they were concerned about his willingness to hit at full speed after breaking his collarbone.

"I felt disrespected, because I went out there trying to knock some of those running backs' heads off to show them that I'm ready to go back out there and play," Smith said.


DON'T BELIEVE YOUR CLIPS: Getting to the Super Bowl for the second time in three years is no easy task.

Players have to be talented, they have to stay healthy and, of course, they have to get some breaks along the way. Aside from that, Rams running back Marshall Faulk said the biggest challenge is "putting aside the hype."

"You hear all the time about how good you are and how good your team is," Faulk said. "But you can't even listen to that. We just have to go out week-in and week-out and do our jobs. That's the obstacle we face all the time, everyday, every week."

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)