Reflections on sundry Super Bowl subjects from hype to halftime
Some final thoughts, observations, and opinions in the aftermath of Super Bowl XVIII:
* Ever guilty of too much pre-game hype, media representatives may have learned their lesson this time. Almost everybody built this up to be a sure-fire classic, but returned home rather sheepishly after the Los Angeles Raiders demolished the Washington Redskins 38-9.
* The best catch of the game? Ray Guy's leaping, one-handed grab of a high snap from center is my choice. If the Raider punter hadn't snatched the ball, some Redskin might have scooped it up and headed off to a momentum-shifting touchdown. L.A. led 7-0 at the time. A major-league baseball prospect in high school, Guy caught the errant snap and managed to punt it 42 yards into the end zone.
* Tom Flores, the quiet coach of the Raiders, once again earned the opportunity to hoist the Super Bowl's Vince Lombardi Trophy presented to the winning team. When the club was in Oakland, he took the Raiders to the NFL's 1980 championship and now owns an 8-1 playoff record. During the strike-shortened 1982 season, he was named Coach of the Year for his masterful job in producing the league's best record despite all the inconveniences caused by the the team's controversial move down the Coast.
Flores was the team's first quarterback in 1960, having come to the Raiders after deciding to give football another try. He had quit the game and started a teaching career after a shoulder problem hampered him during a tryout with the Redskins.
* In this age of offensive trickery and complexity, the Raiders prefer to keep things simple. They are a good old-fashioned team that doesn't try to confuse anybody with a lot of motion and formations. They haven't gone to the trendy one-back running attack, the coach isn't wired for sound, and the quarterback calls his own plays.
* Tampa was an amiable Super Bowl host that did its best to prevent incidents of price gouging. The airport newsstand left a bad impression, though, by attempting to sell copies of the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post for $3.95 the day after the game. Eight dollars at the stadium for a foam rubber pig snout (to root on Washington's Hogs) was no bargain either.
* No doubt about it, the Raiders have a real knack for wringing the best out of what seems to be flea market talent. Three prime examples on the current team are defensive lineman Lyle Alzado, tight end Todd Christensen, and quarterback Jim Plunkett. The fiery Alazado, picked up from Cleveland in exchange for an eighth-round draft pick, was the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year in 1982. After failing to make it as a running back with the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants, Christensen received a tryout at tight end with the Raiders. This season he led the league with 92 catches, a record for his position. And then there's Plunkett, who was presumably washed up in 1978 when signed as a free agent, but has come on to guide two Super Bowl winners. L.A. owner Al Davis must have remembered how Plunkett, as a rookie with New England, had engineered a big upset of his Raiders in the 1971 season opener.
* Spotted at the Super Bowl graciously posing with star-struck concessionaires was Jim Brown, the Hall of Fame fullback who is considering a comeback after a 18-year absence from the game. Before the playoffs ever began, Brown said he would call Al Davis about joining the Raiders in 1984 ''after they win the Super Bowl.'' Brown wants to protect his all-time rushing record and would certainly be a big draw, not that L.A. needs one now that it is packing them in at the Coliseum.
* Refusing to let grass grow under their feet, the Raiders will talk to Warren Moon, the star Canadian Football League quarterback who wants to return to the States. The most valuable player in the 1978 Rose Bowl for Washington, Moon is a free agent with all the tools for greatness. The Seattle Seahawks presumably have the inside track in signing him, but don't count L.A. out since Moon grew up there.
* The NFL should do away with the two-week buildup to the Super Bowl and play it the week after the conference championship games. The extra time off creates an unnatural and unnecessary delay.
* A press box colleague probably wasn't off much when he said elimination of the fluffy Super Bowl halftime extravaganza could knock $10 off $60 game tickets. I'll take a good marching band any day, like the ones from Florida and Florida State that put on such sparkling performances before the kickoff.
* Wouldn't it be interesting if the Raiders made it to next year's Super Bowl , which will be played in the Bay Area from whence they moved? The game will be at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto.