CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 25: Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs for a 1-yard touchdown in the first half of an NFL preseason game against the Carolina Panthers at Paul Brown Stadium on August 25, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) R:\Merlin\Getty_Photos\122135717.jpg
Updated: November 16, 2011 1:31AM
Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy, who took the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls — and lost all four — has written a novel called Between the Lies , in which the Super Bowl is rigged. This week, the Sun-Times has run excerpts of the book. Today’s final installment, a sample from Chapter 49:
Dring the week prior to leaving for the Super Bowl site, both the Leopards and the Pioneers practiced outdoors. Saturday of that week was the last time they did that, however. The Super Bowl was to be played indoors in Indianapolis’s Lucas Oil Stadium, and all the practices after the teams arrived in the frigid Midwest were scheduled at indoor venues. The Leopards drilled at the Indianapolis Colts athletic complex. The Pioneers were assigned to hold their practices at Lucas Oil Stadium.
While running backs plowed through the line every day at those indoor practice sessions, the only plowing being done outdoors was by the city trucks that were clearing away the snow so that the team buses could make it from their hotels to the practice locations. The weather was lousy, and although players from other teams in the NFL may have been enjoying vacations in Hawaii or the Bahamas, the players getting ready for this game didn’t envy them at all. They were where they wanted to be. Let the snow pile up. They didn’t care.
It did pile up, and the only things that piled up faster during that hectic week were the questions from the media and the obligations placed on the players and coaches to respond, for the umpteenth time, to the same questions. Some of the players hated it; some of them loved it; most of them tolerated it.
Reporters and broadcasters from all over the world poured into Indianapolis. Some served a USA audience whose knowledge of football exceeded their knowledge of history or math. Other journalists came from far-off lands to convey to their entranced countrymen the fervor that a mere sporting event elicited from so much of the American populace. How could so many people, the foreign readers and listeners wondered, be so engrossed in an activity that was only a game? After all, it wasn’t soccer, you know.
Appearing along with the cadre of media regulars, there were many newcomers in attendance at the daily question and answer sessions, and it was the nature of their interests that added spice for the fan who thought he had heard it all before.
The press conferences for each team during that interminable week were held separately. That changed on Saturday, the day before the game, when, in accordance with league protocol, the head coaches of the two teams stood side by side at the microphones. Randy Dolbermeier and Bobby Russell smiled at the gathered throng. When they glanced at each other, their gazes turned into glares, but they didn’t exchange words.
The NFL’s Director of Media Relations, I.L. Gregorio, opened the meeting for questions. Randy’s answers usually dragged on, leading to impatience on the part of those writers waiting to ask their next question. Bobby’s responses, many of the assembled group felt, weren’t detailed enough.
Thirty minutes later, Gregorio made a stab at bringing the session to a close.
‘‘One more. Last question,’’
‘‘This question is for Coach Dolbermeier. Coach, how big of a challenge is it for you to be going up against the number-one ranked defense in the NFL?” asked Everett Glades of The Tallahassee Talisman.
“Hey, buddy, what the hell do I care? How many times do I have to hear about their defense? Defense! Schmeefense! We’ve got a pretty damn good offense, you know. You just watch. When our Fun and Shout gets going, we’ll have the fun, and when they shout, it’ll be ‘Ouch.’ We’ve got a defense, too, remember? And it’s a damn good one. They’ll find that out. But let me tell you, this game is about moving the ball. It’s about razzle-dazzling the other guy until his head starts to swim. It’s about outsmarting him and out-hustling him. Those are the things we plan to do better than anyone who has ever played in this game. Those are the things that we want to do so damn well that it’ll make the other guys whimper. That’s what we’re going to do. How’s that?”
“Coach Russell, how do you respond to that?” Everett asked.
“We’ll be there, and we’ll be on time,” Bobby said.
Between the Lies will be in bookstores nationally in mid-September and is currently
available at amazon.com.