by | Jan 22, 1989 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

First let me say to all the people who are wondering why I am not defending the heavily favored, clearly superior San Francisco 49ers in this Super Bowl XXIII:

Hey. I lost the coin flip.


Next let me say this to my erstwhile colleague, Curt Sylvester, football writer and prognosticator extraordinaire: Curt, get that watermelon off your head. Then come to your senses. Once again, you have taken the laces of opportunity and tied your shoes together. San Francisco? That’s your pick? I thought you were smarter than that. Then again, that was you I saw swimming in the lobby fish tank Friday night, wasn’t it?

You nut.

The fact is, Curt, on the surface, anyone would pick the 49ers: They are experienced, deep, they have been here twice before and won both times. So? You call that an argument? Curtis. Buddy. Don’t be so shallow.

Look beneath the surface. Maybe you’ll find your pants. And maybe you’ll see that the obvious has been trashed week after week this NFL season. Didn’t you pick Green Bay to beat Minnesota? I thought so. Didn’t you pick Tampa Bay to beat Buffalo? I thought so. Didn’t you pick Dukakis to beat Bush?

I thought so. Learn from your mistakes. I have. Here is what I see: I see Boomer Esiason, whom everyone is patting on the back and saying “nice guy, but you’re no Joe Montana,” playing out of his head today. I see Ickey Woods, whom everyone is photographing and saying “nice dance, but you’re no Roger Craig,” high-stepping his way into history today.

I see the Bengals’ Tim Krumrie, who is so mean he was beating up his teammates last week, eating the 49ers’ line alive. I see linebacker Reggie Williams, a Cincinnati city councilman, issuing a new proclamation:

I see the Bengals, 31-19.

Rice? Yes. Rice is nice. Especially with gravy. Oh. You mean Jerry Rice. I don’t know. I have my doubts about a receiver who skips practice all week with a bum ankle, then shows up dancing at some booze-soaked Miami Beach disco. You were there, right? Isn’t that where you’re staying?

It must be where you’re getting your information. Facts are facts, Curt. Bill Walsh is probably quitting after this season. Doesn’t that tell you something? Randy Cross is quitting after this season? Doesn’t that tell you something? Here is what it should tell you: Get while the getting is good. If you act quickly, you can still call your bookie and cancel that bet, and maybe your children will have shoes to wear to school.

If not you’ll have to give them yours.

And you’ll have to get them out of the fish tank.


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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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