Super Bowl Notes: Giants' Brown finally gets shot at title
'I walked in the cafeteria (last week), and they asked me if I had on my long dress socks, you know how older people wear shorts and long dress socks and hard shoes,' said Brown, who is in his 16th season and wants to play through his 20th. 'Of course, when I get to my fruit they ask me if I have to stay regular. I catch it all. I'm glad I'm around to be able to catch some of this.'
The Giants signed Brown as a free agent last March after he was released by the Cleveland Browns because of what he called a personality conflict with former coach Chris Palmer. 'That was the first time I had self-doubt,' Brown said.
But a day later, Giants coach Jim Fassel called and encouraged Brown to visit. 'I liked what I saw,' he said.
Brown's teammates carry great respect for him, and meetings don't start until he's in the room. Brown is part of an unusual collection of offensive linemen that includes three players (Brown, center Dusty Zeigler and left guard Glenn Parker) who have been with the team only one season. In the NFL, it often takes longer for lines to mesh properly.
'We weren't a lot of high-paid guys,' he said of the three players who were paid a total of about $4.3 million this season. 'We didn't come in like a Bruce Smith or Deion Sanders (with the Washington Redskins). We came in with a lot fewer accolades so people didn't expect a lot from us. It was really easier for us to come in and fit in.'
Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick apparently displays the same confident, self-assured manner with his team that he has thrown at the media all week.
Asked about his ego, Billick claimed he takes 'my job ... the obligation to the Modells, my team, the organization and the city of Baltimore very seriously.'
'What I don't take seriously is you all (reporters) and myself. I think we sometimes make this a little bigger than it is.
'And you don't do this job unless you're confident, you're self-assured. You don't stand up in front of 53 millionaires, nowadays, pro players and say, 'Guys, follow me, because I kind of think I know what I'm doing.' It doesn't work. That's not one of the great Gipper speeches.
'You've got to stand up there and say, 'Guys, this is the way it's going to be, and this is the way we're going to do it' for no other reason than there's got to be a singular decision.'
He said that if outsiders perceive his confident reaction to the media as egotistical or arrogant, 'There's not much I can do to control that.'
WHAT ABOUT BANKS•
Ravens offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh said backup quarterback and former starter Tony Banks was partially responsible for the team's early failings.
'We were 5-3 at the point when we pulled him, but a couple of those losses were a direct result of some of his plays, and he knew that,' said Cavanaugh, who played and coached at Pitt. 'I think he's disappointed that we used him as a bit of a scapegoat.'
Said Banks: 'This is definitely not the way I envisioned being in the Super Bowl. I have some things to be proud of, and I helped this organization turn around. But if I don't get the opportunity here, I'll get the opportunity elsewhere.'
Quarterback Trent Dilfer has led the team to a 10-1 record since Banks was benched.
SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY
Former Steelers linebacker Kevin Greene is on the other end of a microphone these days, working as an NFL analyst for ESPN.
'This helps me feel a part of the game. I didn't have to quit cold turkey,' he said.
Greene said he has lost about 12 pounds to get to 230 since he finished playing a year ago with the Carolina Panthers.
Like many former players, Greene wants no part of coaching.
'Coaching is long hours,' he said.
THEY WERE THE BEST
Referee Gerry Austin, who completed his 19th season as an NFL game official, will work his third Super Bowl tonight. He also was referee for Super Bowls XXIV and XXXI (both in New Orleans). Austin and game officials were chosen because they were the top-rated veteran officials at their respective positions this season.
HOPING TO MAKE A BUCK
People hoping to secure tickets, most likely for resale, are offering between $1,500 and $2,000 per ticket outside the Marriott.