Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

First-Timers Face Burden in Super Show

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

First-Timers Face Burden in Super Show

Article excerpt

Not only do the San Diego Chargers enter Super Bowl week as the biggest underdog ever against a San Francisco team expected to be the 11th successive NFC winner, but they bear an additional burden:

The tradition of first-time Super Bowl entries is dismal.

Twelve times a first-timer has faced a team that's been there before and only twice has the first-timer won - Pittsburgh against Minnesota in 1975; the New York Giants against Denver in 1987.

The rest of the time they've lost, often badly. And there's a reason for it.

"You want to get as much work possible in the off-week," says San Francisco's left tackle, Steve Wallace. "When you get there, you know you have demands from the media and from people who want your tickets or your time."

In fact, the problems of a newcomer may be best illustrated in the four successive losses by Buffalo.

The first time the Bills made the Super Bowl, after the 1990 season, they came in off a 51-3 win over the Raiders and were favored by a touchdown over the Giants, who had squeaked by the 49ers 15-13.

But that was one of the years with a break of only one week between the championship game and the Super Bowl, and the Giants were far better prepared - they already had a contingency game plan in for the Bills.

The Giants, who played in San Francisco, also flew directly to Tampa and were there Monday morning, but the Bills waited a day at home, took their time on the game plan and lost 20-19.

Two years later, Buffalo was now Super Bowl-hardened, having lost to the Giants and Washington. The Bills played Dallas, which had been there before but was making its first appearance in 15 years and was coming in with a new cast of characters, from owner Jerry Jones and coach Jimmy Johnson on down.

So Johnson called Bill Parcells, who coached the Giants to their two Super Bowl victories. …

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