Buffalo Bills linebacker Ray Bentley is using the Super Bowl spotlight to shed light on another of his avocations, writing children's books.
Bentley, an eight-year NFL veteran and father of four, wrote his first book, based on a character named Darby the Dinosaur, in 1987 when he was on the injured reserve list. The book was done in collaboration with another injured Bills player, Mike Hamby - a former Utah State standout. Hamby did the illustrations.Since that first book, three other Darby the Dinosaur books have been published by Bentley and Hamby, who is retired from the NFL and still makes his home in Buffalo.
At Super Bowl press interview sessions here, Bentley has distributed publicity packets telling about the books. He said they have sold nearly 150,000 copies, mostly in Michigan and Utah, the home states of Bentley and Hamby.
In the Super Bowl, 12 is a lucky number. In 14 of the 24 games played to date, starting quarterbacks wearing No. 12 have been on the winning team.
The list includes Joe Namath of the Jets, Roger Staubach of the Cowboys (two wins), Bob Griese of the Dolphins (two), Terry Bradshaw of the Steelers Ken Stabler of the Raiders and Joe Montana of the 49ers (four).
Buffalo's Jim Kelly wears No. 12. The Giants' Jeff Hostetler wears No. 15.
For Irresistible Force vs. Immovable Object fans, today's game provides this: The No. 1 offensive team in the NFL versus the No. 1 defensive team in the NFL.
The Buffalo Bills led the league in the 1990 season in points scored, at 26.8 per game while the New York Giants led the league in points allowed, at 13.2 per game.
"If you look at the film you say, 'Wow, you can't stop these guys,' said Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor. "But I know our defense. We'll find a way to stop them."
Super Bowl XXV will be well received in Saudi Arabia. According to the Armed Forces Radio and Television Network, 90 percent of the troops in the Persian Gulf will have access to radio broadcasts of the game and 30 percent will have access to television broadcasts.
The game will kickoff at 2:18 a.m. Monday morning, Standard Saudi Arabian Time.
Pete Rozelle, one-year removed from his 30-year tenure as NFL commissioner, will flip the coin at midfield prior to the start of the game. Also, the Most Valuable Player Trophy has been named the Rozelle Trophy.
First-year appearances are not kind to Super Bowl teams. Only six teams have won on their first appearance - out of 18 tries.
The first-time winners include the New York Jets in Super Bowl III, the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl IX, the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XIX, the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX, the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXII, and of course the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl I.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Buffalo Bills Coach Marv Levy on getting drenched with Gatorade after the AFC title game win over Oakland: "I'd told the guys before, `That's old stuff. Somebody else did that. Besides, I get all wet. Think of something else.' I guess some of them didn't hear me."
One thing that has changed dramatically since the 1984 Tampa Bay Super Bowl is the price of the game tickets.
In 1984 tickets cost $50 apiece. This year they're $150 apiece.
Nonetheless, demand is ahead of supply. According to local newspaper reports, scalper's are asking from $500 to $1,000 for tickets, depending on their location, and doing a brisk business.
For Super Bowl I in 1967 the tickets were priced at an average of $10 a seat. That's the price of this year's game program.
New York Giants offensive line coach Fred Hoaglin wants his players feeling well-fed for Sunday's kickoff. To that end he took them to a midweek dinner at Bern's Steak House in Tampa.
"I wanted them to experience real quality food so they would play real quality football," Hoaglin said.
After the appetizers and beverages, and steaks, were added up, the check for the coach and his eight players came to $1,436.97. Hoaglin picked it up.
"We did ourselves proud," said Giants center Bart Oates, the former BYU players and, at 280 pounds, one of the smaller offensive linemen.
"It's nice to see real big guys sit down at your table," said David Barron, who served as the group's waiter and racked up a $200 tip. "They were very well behaved and they ordered two of everything."
Buffalo quarterback Jim Kelly is from Pennsylvania and dreamed of playing for the Penn State Nittany Lions. When he visited the campus on a high school recruiting trip, however, Penn State Coach Joe Paterno told Kelly he wanted to play him at linebacker.
Kelly, who is 6-foot-3 and weighs 218 pounds, went to the University of Miami instead. "All my life I dreamed of playing at Penn State," he said. "But I was a quarterback and that was all I was going to play."