My take on the Super Bowl

By Jeffery Armstrong

My colleagues in sports, Doug Gorman and Anthony Rhoads, have already written columns on the Super Bowl, so of course it's my turn now. With Super Bowl XXXVIII coming up this Sunday, I had planned to write about how the Super Bowl was almost a birthright for me, being a Pittsburgh Steelers fan and all.

After all, from ages 7 to 13 (1975-1980), my favorite NFL squad was in contention for the Super Bowl every year and just happened to win four titles during that span. The Steelers beat the Dallas Cowboys twice and the Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Rams once. It was a great time for me n I loved football and my team was the champions of the free world.

In fact, it almost became boring to see the Steelers in the Super Bowl. After they defeated the Rams 31-19 in Super Bowl XIV in 1980, I didn't soak it in, listen to post-game interviews or bask in the glory of another NFL title for my team. I did what most 12-year-olds do on a sunny Sunday afternoon n I went outside and played with one of my friends in the yard. The Super Bowl was not that big of a deal.

Man, have things changed now. The Super Bowl is one of the biggest events in America and players, coaches and fans are scrutinized on every level. When I was a kid, I didn't pay attention to the Super Bowl hype. I'm sure hype was going on, but I wasn't involved in it as I am now. Back then, when I watched the Steelers and other NFL teams, I had no idea whether some of the players used drugs, beat women, gambled or did anything illegal or immoral. As an adult, I know that these and more things go on with NFL players.

Case in point: When asked about a curfew for his players this week, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belicheck said he's not worried about a curfew n he said he hoped none of his players will get arrested before the Super Bowl. Wow!

It's a sad state of affairs in the NFL when a coach has to worry about whether any of his players will be on the police blotter before the biggest game of their lives. Thanks to knuckleheads like former Atlanta Falcon Eugene Robinson, coaches are more likely to worry about player behavior than their Super Bowl opponents' tendencies on the field.

You all remember Robinson n his Falcons teammates called him "The Prophet" because of his devout Christian beliefs. The night before the Falcons were to play in their first Super Bowl, Robinson solicits an undercover cop for oral sex for the low, low price of $40. In his car was an award from the Fellowship of Christian Athletes he received before his fateful drive down the Miami strip.

Of course, the Falcons were destroyed by the media and proceeded to lose Super Bowl XXXIII to the Denver Broncos 34-19. Way to go, Prophet.

What was even worse about Robinson's act was his wife, children and parents were at his hotel waiting on him. Imagine the embarrassment they felt upon hearing the bad news, something I'm sure "Mr. Christian" didn't think about when his hormones took over that night.

Jeffery Armstrong is a sports writer for the Daily and his column appears on Thursdays. He can be reached at jarmstrong@news-daily.com.