Steelers receiverHines Ward got blacked out of a Super Bowl as a high-schooler in Georgia."We had a Super Bowl party at my friend's house, and it was stormingout," he recalls. "We lost power, and nobody could watch. Everybody wasthere with nothing to do." But Super Bowl XXIII in '89 showed Ward thelight. "When San Francisco came back, I remember watching those guys andthe magnitude of the game," says Ward (above, left) of the drive led by JoeMontana (above, right). "They just went down the field and won. I said,Wow, that's what football's about. That kind of gave me the drive to want to bea pro football player." ... Like former Bills kicker Scott Norwood (below),Pittsburgh linebacker Larry Foote (left) won't forget Jan. 27, 1991. "Whenthe guy missed the field goal, my stepfather had a square in the Super Bowlpool," says Foote, who, like teammate Jerome Bettis (page 40), grew up inDetroit. "He would have won $5,000 if the kick had been good. It was a sadnight. I understood what Buffalo fans went through." ..."I don't watchthe Super Bowl," says defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen, who was raised inHawaii and did not play high school football. "I don't think I've everwatched a football game in its entirety. Last year during the game I ran theexcavator the whole time [at his home in Washington state]. Me and my daughter,Kamri, went out and cleared some scrub. I never got into sports. I drive mywife [Tondi] nuts. She and her father were coaches and athletes. They watchsports, and I'll be downstairs watching a movie." ... And backup QB CharlieBatch laments taking his eyes off the 2004 halftime show--and missing JanetJackson's wardrobe malfunction. "We were playing cards when someone went,'Ohhhhh.' I turned, and the TV was black. I was like, Damn, I missed it. I hadto wait till the next day when it was on the Internet." Who said proathletes have it easy?
•Chris Therien (right), Flyers defenseman: "Oneyear [teammate] Eric Lindros and I stole the catering truck at our Super Bowlparty at Eric's house. They left the keys in the truck, and we drove it over toPetr Svoboda's house to steal Petr's wine. We filled up the back of the truckwith his wine, then drove it back. The police were looking for this stolentruck."
•In '96 Sonics coach George Karl took his team to theCowboys-Steelers Super Bowl in Tempe, Ariz. "It was great," says thenguard Nate McMillan, now Portland's coach. "We had tickets on the 20-yardline." Says Karl, "We were trying to get to the Finals, and I thoughtit would be worthwhile to [be] around the championship atmosphere. It's a hardticket to get. Our trainer, Frank Furtado, knew a guy at Gatorade who helpedus." The Sonics made the Finals, losing to the Bulls.