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A Super Dilemma: Sex the Right Rx?

It was a wake-up call for every jaded journalist who was beginning to feel used trying to hype a game between two long-lost organizations.

It needed to be said, and credit the Tennessean for putting it on the front page of its sports section Wednesday morning.

Asked how excited he was to be in this Super Bowl, Titan General Manager Floyd Reese told the Tennessean, “It’s better than sex.”

St. Louis Ram owner Georgia Frontiere was unavailable for comment, but it was pretty obvious that Coach Dick Vermeil concurred after announcing wives and girlfriends will be staying in a different hotel than the players.

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Name something in life more important than a Super Bowl.

“I’d run over my mother to win it,” Washington Redskin guard Russ Grimm said before Super Bowl XVIII.

Eugene Robinson thought something else was more important the night before last year’s big game, when he propositioned an undercover police officer in Miami Beach, and look what happened to the Falcons.

“Our folks will be out Saturday night and will be active and enforcing vice activity,” said John Quigley, public information officer for the Atlanta Police Department.

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Maybe it would be a good idea if everyone stayed in the night before the big game and watched a good Disney movie.

“The folks who operate the different adult entertainment clubs here will be bringing in [more talent] this week,” Quigley said.

On second thought: You’ve seen one Disney movie, you’ve seen them all.

As far as sex being better than the Super Bowl, Atlanta’s finest said someone probably ought to “ask Dr. Ruth about that,” but if you’re asking him, “the thrill of winning one might be some kind of significant emotional thing, but I’m not sure necessarily just watching one or going to one can compete with, well, some other things.”

The receptionist at the Kinsey Institute just laughed after being advised of Reese’s comment. When it was mentioned that he had been a linebacker at UCLA, she said, “You know those Californians,” and hung up.

Mike Horan, the Ram punter, has been in three Super Bowls, but what would he know? None have finished satisfactorily.

“Let’s put it this way,” said John Elway, maybe the NFL’s foremost expert on the subject after winning the last two Super Bowls as well as being named the game’s most valuable player. “They are both great.”

Sex, of course, is Debra Haffner’s business as president and chief executive of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. She has also heard of the Super Bowl.

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“I can understand how someone might say that, but it probably depends on what kind of sex you’re having,” the expert said. “For most people, peak experiences are rare. So it’s fair to probably say that going to a Super Bowl for those men is better than sex. I mean, there are lots of ways to have orgasms.”

Hey, Floyd Reese is the one who brought it up.

“Most people in America think everyone else is having hotter, better and more frequent sex,” Haffner said. “But the average American adult has sex less than three times a month.”

Eugene Robinson was unavailable for comment.

Not to downplay the Super Bowl or put a damper on Reese’s choice of thrills, but Lisa Hanock-Jasie, the public relations director for Sexuality Information etc., said, “I don’t know if it was a women’s magazine or what, but there was a survey recently that got a lot of attention because it ranked a good night’s sleep over sex.”

As The Tennessean reported Wednesday, “Mrs. Reese was unavailable for comment.”

Now what if Hanock-Jasie’s husband told a newspaper that he ranked the Super Bowl ahead of sex? “I don’t think our love life would ever [play second fiddle] to a pigskin,” she said.

Hanock-Jasie’s husband was unavailable for comment.

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Most football people not only believe that the Super Bowl is better than sex, but don’t think you can win one if you have it.

Former Cleveland Brown Coach Paul Brown, credited with introducing many of the techniques and practices still used in the game, had a “Wednesday Rule"--no sex until after Sunday’s game.

It has become a Super Bowl tradition for many teams to send the wives and girlfriends or other companions to different hotels in the final 24 to 48 hours to save their athletes.

Casey Stengel, when he was manager of the New York Yankees, said boys will be boys, but “It ain’t getting it that hurts them; it’s staying up all night looking for it.”

The Titans and Rams will have a curfew Saturday night, but with all the effort being put out to win the big game, they might be short-changing themselves.

A researcher at the University of L’Aquila in England told the Daily Telegraph that sex before a game might boost an athlete’s performance because it increases the levels of testosterone, the hormone related to the sex drive and aggression.

Said Haffner: “It’s all a myth. Thousands of years ago people believed you lost your life force when you had sex. People thought it somehow diminished you. There’s no reality to it.”

That comes as news. While it’s not exactly taught in journalism school, as a matter of course, most newspaper reporters abstain the night before a game. Sometimes weeks before a game.

Upon reflection now, maybe that explains why so many stories sound so negative.

“Now I wouldn’t make love for six hours the day before the game,” Haffner said. “But I’d tell everyone to go ahead and do it, it might relax them.”

Max McGee, former Green Bay Packer and a legend in Super Bowl lore for his off-the-field lifestyle, didn’t get married until after he had retired from football. He told the St. Petersburg Times years ago that he had been misled much like today’s Super Bowl participants who will be locked alone into their rooms Saturday night.

“My first high school coach back at White Oak, Texas, would tell us a couple of days before each game, ‘OK, you guys, we don’t want you out here parked under these oil derricks.’ He told us sex did something to your legs, kind of weakened them.

“Believe it or not, I lived with that high school theory almost all the way through my pro career. I wouldn’t think of having sex on a Friday and Saturday night before a Sunday game. Then I discovered the truth one Saturday night in Philadelphia. An old high school girlfriend called me and I decided, ‘What the hell, we’re about a 20-point favorite.’ The next day, I catch 10 passes in the first half and I’m saying to myself, ‘Maybe I’ve wasted 20 years of weekends for nothing.’ ”

Just imagine what Eugene Robinson would have done for the game of football had he emerged from last year’s affair as MVP.

At the very least he could have joined his team in doing the “Dirty Bird.”

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SUPER BOWL

TENNESSEE vs. ST. LOUIS; Sunday, 3:15 p.m., Ch. 7

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