Shannon Sharpe can cut the comedy. Dan Reeves can crumple the crying towel. Ray Buchanan can take off the dog collar. Mike Shanahan can take off the attitude.

Jamal Anderson can stop dancing and John Elway can stop smiling and millions worldwide can finally just shut up and watch.

It’s on.

Amid predicted scattered showers, everything becomes clear tonight when the Denver Broncos play the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII at Pro Player Stadium at about 6:25 p.m. EST.


The odds rest with Denver. The sentiment is with Atlanta.

The Broncos are trying to become the sixth team in 32 years to win consecutive Super Bowls (the Pittsburgh Steelers did it twice).

The Falcons are playing in their first Super Bowl.

The Broncos have the sport’s best running back (Terrell Davis) and one of its most famous quarterbacks (Elway) and an infamously wild linebacker named Bill Romanowski.

The Falcons’ most known figure is their coach, and that’s only because Reeves is still recovering from late-season heart surgery.

The Broncos win games by running the ball, as Davis led the league in rushing with 2,008 yards.

The Falcons win games by stopping the run, as they have the league’s second-ranked defense in that category.

Most agree the outcome rests on the winner of that duel.


Two weeks ago, the game was thought to be a dud when the Falcons stunningly landed here by beating the heavily favored Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship.

But since then, as usual, gauntlets have been thrown down and matchups have surfaced.

Reeves is trying to win revenge against a team that fired him six years ago.

Shanahan, the Bronco coach who once worked under Reeves in Denver, is hoping to win revenge against his old boss after Reeves said Shanahan’s disloyalty led to that firing.


Elway is trying to win what he says is probably the last game of his career.

The Falcon defense has intimated that it doesn’t think Elway can beat it.

Buchanan, a Falcon defensive back who wore an dog collar in celebration of the Falcons’ underdog status, has guaranteed victory.

Sharpe, the Bronco tight end, said, “How is Ray going to hurt anybody? He’s not going to tackle anybody. . . . Either Ray looks like a genius or a continuation of the idiot that he is.”


Buchanan countered with, “Shannon looks like a horse. I tell you, that’s one ugly dude.”

Said Sharpe: “I knew he was going to talk with those big teeth in his mouth. Those teeth look like dominoes in his mouth.”

The names change, but the best thing about Super Bowl Sunday stays the same.

Tonight, finally, thankfully, everyone will have to put in their mouthpieces and put on their headsets and play.



Today, 3:15 p.m. Channel 11

* I TO XXXII: Can’t remember who won? A capsule on every Super Bowl. Page 9

* SHELL GAME: Former Raider coach is disappointed by the hiring trend. Page 9


* NOTES: Eugene Robinson is arrested on a sex solicitation charge. Page 11

* BLOOPERS: Some funny things happened on the way to Miami. TV Times

* EDITORIAL: The time is right for the NFL to choose Coliseum plan. Page M4