Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bowden Wins War of Words

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Bowden Wins War of Words

Article excerpt

NEW ORLEANS -- They met yesterday -- Bobby Bowden and Steve

Spurrier -- and they posed for pictures, shook hands and came

about as close as they ever will to normalizing strained

relations.

"You want us to kiss?" Bowden twanged at photographers,

throwing an arm around Spurrier's shoulder and squeezing tight

during the pre-Sugar Bowl media powwow. "I don't know fellas, I

don't think I can get Steve to kiss me."

The roomful of media roared and Spurrier smiled. Uneasily.

Surrounded by mini-cams, tape recorders and the national press

corps, Spurrier could tell he was on the other guy's home turf.

Bobby Bowden is tough enough to beat when he is on the opposing

sideline, but put him in front of a microphone and he is an

indestructible dynasty.

Over the last month, Spurrier has found out the hard way that

you don't mess with Bowden in a public-relations war. If you do,

as Spurrier tried with Late Hit-Gate, then you get routed. And,

believe me, this was a pour-it-on, run-it-up rout . . . the

biggest mismatch since Julia Roberts-Lyle Lovett.

Spurrier, perhaps finally sensing the reality of the situation,

came about as close to apologizing as his pride would allow. He

semi-retracted his statement about FSU coaches teaching dirty

football and said his relationship with Bowden is not

irreparably damaged.

"Our relationship may be damaged for a little while," Spurrier

said, "but nothing's forever. You get mad at your wife

occasionally, but you get over it the next day."

For those close to Spurrier, it was painful watching him get

thrashed by the Bowden PR machine. Spurrier may be college

football's most innovative offensive mind, but Bowden is the

sport's most universally beloved figure. For Spurrier, college

football's petulant child, to accuse the venerable,

grandfatherly St. …

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