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Second Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
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This Sunday (January 27th) was supposed to be Super Bowl Sunday

AP Sports Writer
January 26, 2002

NEW ORLEANS (AP) --

Bob and Betty Washington, decked out in long strings of Mardi Gras beads, happily sipped bloody marys on Pat O'Brien's courtyard, lulled by the warm sun and the sound of the fountain at the famous French Quarter bar.

``It's the perfect way to treat a hangover,'' Bob Washington said. ``We're gathering strength for the weekend.''

It's not quite the weekend they were expecting when they first planned the trip, however. Back then, they were looking forward to Super Bowl weekend.

``We made our reservations when we thought the Super Bowl would be here,'' Betty Washington said. ``We thought we'd be trying to crash parties and get tickets. But this way, we get some Mardi Gras action and can make the Super Bowl parties at home.''

High rollers in limousines and football fans in team colors were supposed to flood into New Orleans this weekend. But the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks pushed the big game back seven days -- to the weekend when the first major Carnival parades were supposed to roll. Although Mardi Gras is Feb. 12, many parades generally start 10-to-12 days before the final celebration.

This town isn't big enough to handle two such major events in one weekend. So the Carnival parades were moved up a week.

Tourists were not the only ones affected by the switch.

Like the Mardi Gras parade clubs, the National Automobile Dealers Association had to move its annual convention ahead one week to accommodate the Super Bowl.

The NFL paid the car dealers $7.5 million, contributed $500,000 to a NADA charity, and produced about $5 million in public service announcements designed to ``humanize'' the people that sell automobiles, according to NADA spokesman David Hyatt.

The swap also involved scrambling to trade 16,000 hotel rooms and convention space between the NFL and NADA.

``Everything worked out really well with the NFL,'' Hyatt said. ``Their cooperation was outstanding. We lost about 40 exhibitors with the swap, but we signed more than that back and our attendance this weekend is higher than any other time we've held our convention in New Orleans.''

Switching dates for the parades was also costly to the league. The league paid $5,000 to each of the 11 parade clubs that moved from Feb. 3 to this weekend.

``It's a very difficult thing to move one of these parades,'' said Arthur Hardy, publisher of Mardi Gras Guide. ``There are expenses involved, and there is a lot of work to it.''

All the chaos could have one benefit for the procrastinating tourist: There are still hotel rooms to be had in New Orleans.

``There are rooms available this weekend, even Super Bowl weekend and for Mardi Gras,'' said Beverly Gianna of the New Orleans Tourist and Convention Bureau. ``But you have to look for them. You don't just call up and get a room anywhere.''

The same is true with the city's restaurants. Bookings were brisk, but few were sold out.

At Mike Ditka's, the restaurant founded by the former New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears coach, the private dining rooms were mostly booked for all three events and reservations were being made at a good clip.

``This is more a family weekend,'' said Sylvia Alfortish, who runs the restaurant. ``We're right on the parade routes, so a lot of families come in this weekend. From here on out, it's just crazy every day.''

They moved the calendar on us...but we're almost there !!!:happy::excited:
 

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Second Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
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A look ahead to Sunday's Super Bowl

Associated Press


(January 28, 2002 01:42 AM EST) -

The New England Patriots will be clear underdogs again when they make their third appearance in a New Orleans Super Bowl.

One early line for Sunday's game between St. Louis and the Patriots has the Rams listed as 14 1/2-point favorites, which would be the third-largest spread in Super Bowl history.

The Patriots also were double-digit underdogs in their two previous trips to the Super Bowl, by 10 points against Chicago in 1986 and by 14 against Green Bay in 1998. New England lost 46-10 to the Bears and 35-21 to the Packers.

Certain to be one of the continuing story lines for Super Bowl week will be the status of New England quarterback Tom Brady, who twisted his left leg in the second quarter. He watched from the sideline in the second half as Drew Bledsoe led the Patriots to a 24-17 victory over favored Pittsburgh.

"We'll take a look at Tom's situation and we'll make an evaluation there," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "We'll talk about it and make the decision later in the week."

Brady took over for the injured Bledsoe in the second week of the season and carried the Patriots to the AFC East title, then led a comeback from a 10-point deficit to an overtime victory in snowy Foxboro Stadium in the playoffs.

"Feeling good, feeling good," Brady said of his injury, "and that's all coach wants us to say about it."

The Rams and Patriots will meet for the second time this season. St. Louis won 24-17 on Nov. 18, with Kurt Warner completing 30 of 42 passes for 401 yards and three touchdowns.

"We played them once," Warner said, "and we had a great game with them. They are a very talented team, a fun team to watch and play, and they do some different things. Belichick had a different scheme when we played them the first time, and I'm sure he will come up with something for us this time. It should be fun."

Rams coach Mike Martz also was impressed with Belichick in the first meeting.

Martz said the Patriots are "as well rounded and well coached in all three phases of the game as there is in the league. Belichick has done a great job of coaching that team. What a run he is on since we played them. It will be a terrific matchup."

After beating Philadelphia 29-24 in the NFC title game Sunday, the Rams are making their second Super Bowl appearance in three years. They beat Tennessee in 2000 after Warner's first MVP season.

He was almost as spectacular last season, but the Rams faltered because of a leaky defense that allowed 471 points, seventh-most in NFL history and the most ever by a playoff team.

Besides replacing eight starters, St. Louis hired a new defensive coordinator, Lovie Smith, and a new defensive staff.

In the playoffs, the Rams intercepted six passes from Brett Favre last week, then enabled Warner and the offense to rally from a 17-13 halftime deficit Sunday by holding the Eagles three-and-out in their first three series in the second half.

Only two Super Bowls had bigger favorites than the Rams at 14 1/2 points.

San Francisco was favored by 19 in 1995 against San Diego, and the 49ers won 49-26. The New York Jets beat the Baltimore Colts 16-7 as 18-point underdogs in 1969.

:cool:
 

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Security begins early during Super Bowl week

January 29, 2002

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Security is heavier than it's ever been for a Super Bowl week.


Media arriving for the event had bags searched and were checked with a metal detector wand before they could enter the building where they would pick up their credentials.

Police were outside and inside the building. Soldiers in camouflage uniforms were outside the NFL Experience -- an interactive theme park attraction the league sets up in conjunction with the Super Bowl.

``We'll have security outside and in,'' said Brian McCarthy, who runs the NFL Experience. ``Adults will be patted down before they enter and everyone will be gone over with the wand.''

The chain link fence surrounding the Superdome, where the game will be played on Sunday, reflected the game's patriotic theme. It was covered with red, white and blue bunting, with stars along the top.

SHORT TURNAROUND

Six days to prepare for the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl?

Doesn't seem quite fair to New England coach Bill Belichick. But he's been through this before, under remarkably similar circumstances.

In 1991, Belichick was defensive coordinator for the New York Giants. They won the NFC championship in San Francisco, made a quick trip back to New York, then went to Tampa the next day to play the Buffalo Bills.

Then, as now, Belichick's team caught a break because it played its Super Bowl opponent in the regular season.

This season, the Patriots lost 24-17 to the Rams on Nov. 18.

``It's not like preparing for a team like St. Louis is easy, because it's not,'' Belichick said. ``They're a very talented team, a hard team to get ready for. But at least we have one prior experience with them. It gives us a base to work on.''

SLEEPLESS NIGHTS

The Patriots are keeping Rams coach Mike Martz up this week working on his offensive game plan.

``We won't get much sleep this week,'' Martz said. ``It's quite a challenge offensively for us. They do so much.''

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

The Rams' equipment arrived at the New Orleans Saints' practice facility at 4 a.m. Monday, just hours after the Rams won the NFC title game.

The Rams will practice at the Saints' camp. They will also use the locker room, training room and weight room. They will not use the meeting rooms, however, preferring to hold their meetings at the team hotel.

The Patriots will practice at Tulane University

FAMILY REUNION?

Rams running back Marshall Faulk and Patriots running back Kevin Faulk may or may not be cousins. Both are from Louisiana.

When he was playing at LSU, Kevin Faulk, who was born and raised in Carencro, said he thought they were cousins, but admitted he really didn't know Marshall, a New Orleans native.

The duo will meet Sunday in the Super Bowl. They played against each other earlier in the season when the Rams beat New England 24-17.

``I told them they had a really good team, that they had something special,'' Marshall said.

:cool:
 

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Second Place Winner, December 2011 Photo Contest
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February's first Super Bowl all set

Although the bye week before the big game didn't happen in 2002, the latest Super Bowl ever will kick off around 6:30 ET Sunday. Paul Attner says one of the top four keys is Kurt Warner's health, but many experts think lesser-known players will make a big impact. Dennis Dillon says the Coach-o-Meter gives a slight edge to St. Louis' Mike Martz, while Pat Kirwan says New England gets a slight edge on special teams. But Dan Pompei says the bottom line is that the Patriots have a chance to prove non-believers again.

:excited:
 
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