The Goose, The Gulf War, and The Jedi: Super Bowl Memories from Tampa Bay

The Baltimore Ravens vs the Miami Dolphins in 2001.
The Baltimore Ravens vs the Miami Dolphins in 2001.
Andy Lyons, Getty Images

If Sunday's Super Bowl is like most of the previous 42, it will be forgettable unless you consider the Terrible Towel a fashion accessory or are one of the few and, at long last, proud Cardinals fans. While there was a dude who walked around in a dress, even yesterday's Media Day was rather tame. At least there's still hope that the commercials will be good. Here's a look back at some of the colorful characters and memorable ads from the previous three Super Bowls held in Tampa Bay. Perhaps they'll jog your memory of the actual games.

2001: Super Bowl XXXV

The game was a dud. The Baltimore Ravens routed the New York Giants 34-7 to win their first Super Bowl, but the week leading up to the game was rife with uncharacteristically serious storylines. Ray Lewis, the leader of the Ravens' dominating defense, was grilled by reporters about his alleged involvement in a murder the previous year, while Giants quarterback Kerry Collins opened up about his battle with alcoholism. Tony Siragusa, who was a bazillion times funnier as a player than he is as a sideline reporter, ensured the week wasn't completely devoid of comic relief.

Media Day Notes: Siragusa, who misses a beat in answering questions about as often as he misses a meal, was asked what he'd be doing if he weren't a football player. "A stripper," replied the 340-pound defensive tackle, who was also asked if he needed a shoehorn to put on his helmet. (No, just a little grease.) The Giants' Michael Strahan wasn't spared the inanity. A reporter asked him if he had ever met actress and fellow gap-toothed icon Lauren Hutton. Strahan said he met her once and thanked her for making the gap in vogue.

The Ads: Cedric the Entertainer made his debut as a Bud Light pitchman in this memorable spot, which begins with the comedian romancing a woman on a couch and ends with beer spraying all over her face. In a parody of its popular "Whasssssup?" series of ads, Budweiser's "What are you doing?" was one of the most quotable ads of the year.

1991: Super Bowl XXV

The launch of Operation Desert Storm less than two weeks before the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills met in Super Bowl XXV cast a cloud of nervousness over the event. For a change, the game lived up to its billing, even if the excitement it generated was tempered by the war in Iraq. Whitney Houston sang a stirring rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and Peter Jennings provided a news update before the halftime show. With the Giants leading 20-19, Buffalo kicker Scott Norwood lined up for a 47-yard field goal with 8 seconds left, but pushed it wide right. Giants coach Bill Parcells received a Gatorade shower, while the Bills and their fans endured the first of four consecutive Super Bowl losses.

Media Day Notes: Unprecedented security measures that are considered the norm today greeted reporters at Media Day. Among the 2200 accredited media members was MTV VJ Downtown Julie Brown, who asked the Giants, "How's the morales of the team?" When someone asked Brown to predict the winner of the game, she responded, "The team with the best bums." There were serious questions, too. When asked whether he thought the Super Bowl should be played, New York's Leonard Marshall said it should be, and then inappropriately suggested that the game was like war. "It's a struggle for land," Marshall said.

The Ads: Pepsi's "You've Got the Right One Baby" spot featuring Ray Charles and various backup singers earned top billing from USA Today's Ad Meter. While the Bud Bowl sneak-preview media reception was canceled "out of respect for the mood of journalists who have been assigned to cover Super Bowl week," the third year of the Bud Bowl series was aired as planned. The same couldn't be said for a Pepsi promotion that would've prompted viewers to call a toll-free number for a chance to win $1 million. The Federal Communications Commission forced Pepsi to drop the number from the ad out of fear that it would jam the country's telephone switchboards.

1984: Super Bowl XVIII

As the defending Super Bowl champions, the Washington Redskins strolled into Tampa Bay with a swagger. They left humbled after the Los Angeles Raiders crushed them 38-9 in what was at the time the biggest blowout in Super Bowl history. This game is the perfect example of a Super Bowl that is remembered more for what happened before the game and during commercial breaks than for what transpired on the field.

Media Day Notes: Each team had its own walking sound byte: John Riggins for Washington and Lester Hayes for Los Angeles. Riggins was asked what he thought of Lyle Alzado's comments that the Raiders defensive end was going to knock his head off. "I'm going to wear a parachute, so when he knocks my block off, it'll fall onto a nice soft spot, and I hope he's gentleman enough to hand it back to me," Riggins said. Hayes stole the Media Day show, however, channeling the Star Wars trilogy in most of his responses. Witness: "A tremor in "˜The Force' tells me that the score shall be in the high 40s, and the Silver and Black shall be victorious. We are a benevolent Darth Vader. We shall zap them. So be it."

The Ad: Arguably the most influential ad in the history of the Super Bowl, Apple Macintosh's minute-long "1984" spot introduced the world to its personal computer in dramatic fashion. Directed by Ridley Scott, Advertising Age named it the Commercial of the Decade. An interesting read on the ad, which turned 25 this month, can be found here.

10 Things You Might Not Know About the Invictus Games

Harry How, Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation
Harry How, Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation

Though the media tends to dwell on the private life of Prince Harry and his recent marriage to actor Meghan Markle, the Duke of Sussex has more on his mind than tabloids might suggest. Beginning October 20 in Sydney, Australia, and running through October 27, he'll be presenting the Invictus Games, a multi-sport competition he created in 2014 for wounded veterans. Athletes will participate in a variety of sports, including wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball, in an attempt to earn medals and, in Harry's words, "demonstrate life beyond disability."

For more on the history (and future) of the Games, check out our round-up below.

1. IT WAS INSPIRED BY AN AMERICAN COMPETITION.

Prince Harry talks to a Warrior Games representative in the United States
Arthur Edwards-Pool, Getty Images

While on a promotional tour of the United States to raise awareness for his charities, Prince Harry was invited to appear in support of the British team in the Warrior Games, a competition for wounded service veterans that was held in Colorado in 2013. Impressed by the camaraderie and enthusiasm shown by participants, he took the concept and created the Invictus (Latin for "unvanquished" or "unconquered") Games. The inaugural event was held in London in September 2014. "It was such a good idea by the Americans that it had to be stolen," he joked.

2. IT'S FUNDED IN PART BY BANK FINES.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stand on the sidelines
Chris Jackson, Getty Images

While the Invictus Games attract corporate sponsors—including Jaguar—to subsidize the operating costs of the event, funds for the 2014 installment also came from fines levied against British banks that were charged with manipulating currency exchange rates. Approximately £1 million (roughly $1,300,000) were made available from the fines, matching the £1 million Prince Harry donated via his Royal Foundation.

3. THE GAMES FEATURE INDOOR ROWING.

An athlete in the Invictus Games competes in indoor rowing
Steve Bardens, Getty Images for Invictus Games

Invictus invites athletes to compete across a range of adaptive sporting events—sports that have been modified to be all-inclusive for people with an array of physical challenges. In sitting volleyball, athletes have to keep one butt cheek touching the floor while touching the ball. In indoor rowing, athletes use a rowing machine to simulate outdoor rowing.

4. WHEELCHAIR RUGBY GETS INTENSE.

Invictus Games athletes participate in wheelchair rugby
Chris Jackson, Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation

If you have an impression that modified sports are somehow easier than their able-bodied counterparts, you're mistaken. In wheelchair rugby, athletes attempt to get a volleyball across a court and between two cones on the opposing team's side. They experience frequent collisions that appear to have more in common with demolition derbies than football, and participants are sometimes blindsided by the hits, which can bend wheels and axles.

5. IT'S NOT JUST FOR HUMANS.

A service dog shakes off water after a swim at the Invictus Games
Chris Jackson, Getty Images for Invictus

Because many disabled veterans rely on service dogs to assist in tasks of daily living, Games officials were more than willing to open their doors to the animals during the 2016 event in Orlando. At the last minute, organizers permitted the dogs to jump in the pool for an unofficial race. (Though it was held at Disney World, Pluto was not invited to participate in the doggy-paddle event.)

6. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN MADE AN APPEARANCE.

Bruce Springsteen shakes the hand of a war veteran at the Invictus Games
Chris Jackson, Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation

Prince Harry's involvement has contributed heavily to appearances by a number of well-known public figures at the Games. Former president Barack Obama and Joe Biden attended the 2017 competition; David Beckham was named the 2018 ambassador. In 2017, Bruce Springsteen closed out the event in Toronto with a solo set. He was later joined on stage by Bryan Adams.

7. THERE WAS A GAP YEAR.

Prince Harry talks to representatives at the Invictus Games
Gregory Shamus, Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation

After the 2014 Games in London, Orlando hosted the 2016 contest and Toronto held the 2017 installment. There was no 2015 edition—the Games used a gap year in order for Orlando to raise the funds to organize the event. The competition will also skip 2019, moving to the Hague in the Netherlands for the 2020 Games.

8. IT'S GETTING MORE VETERANS INVOLVED IN SPORTS.

A group of athletes huddle during the Invictus Games
Harry How, Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation

Members of the armed services don't need to compete in the Games to feel their influence. Following the inaugural 2014 event, Help for Heroes, which assisted in recruiting British athletes for competition, reported that there was a 463 percent increase in veterans signing up for archery talent assessments and a 633 percent increase in powerlifting enrollees.

9. THE GAMES WILL BE STUDIED BY SCIENCE.

An Invictus Games athlete holds up a trophy
Paul Thomas, Getty Images for Jaguar Land Rover

Participation in Invictus appears to be a significant boost for the overall morale of contestants. And thanks to a grant from the Forces in Mind Trust, we'll eventually have some objective evidence of it. For the next four years, researchers will follow 300 athletes to assess their overall well-being compared to non-participants. Such evidence of the benefits of adaptive sport will likely contribute to a greater number of participants—and funding—in the future.

10. A COMMEMORATIVE COIN WAS ISSUED IN BRAILLE.

An Invictus Games commemorative coin features text in Braille
Royal Australian Mint

In honor of the Invictus Games' vision-impaired contestants, the Royal Australian Mint issued its first-ever coin with Braille text. Intended to commemorate and publicize the 2018 event in Sydney, the coin features a disabled competitor and "Sydney '18" in Braille. The $1 AUD coin sells for $15 AUD (about $11) and is limited to a run of 30,000. A gold-plated version is limited to 2018 copies and sells for $150 AUD ($108).

8 of Evel Knievel’s Most Memorable Stunts

Central Press/Getty Images
Central Press/Getty Images

Born on this day in 1938, Robert "Evel" Knievel was a stuntman who entertained audiences with his daredevil motorcycle jumps. After his first jump in 1965, Knievel upped the ante, making multiple record-breaking jumps (and breaking countless bones), all while wearing his signature leather jumpsuits. To celebrate what would have been his 80th birthday, we've compiled a list of eight of Knievel’s best motorcycle jumps, from the fountain at Las Vegas’s Caesar's Palace to London's Wembley Stadium.

1. CAESAR'S PALACE

On the afternoon of New Year’s Eve in 1967, a crowd of thousands watched as Knievel attempted to ride his motorcycle across the Caesar's Palace fountain in Las Vegas, Nevada. As he made the 141-foot jump, the crowd watched in horror as Knievel botched the landing. His body bounced on the ground like a rag doll, and an ambulance drove him to a local hospital. The stuntman suffered multiple fractures and a concussion, but his jump made him famous when ABC aired video of the botched stunt.

2. MADISON SQUARE GARDEN

In 1971, Knievel entertained an audience at the Auto Thrill Show at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle, he successfully jumped over a line of nine cars and a van. And in his characteristically flashy style, he wore a red, white, and blue leather jumpsuit.

3. LOS ANGELES COLISEUM

Knievel completed a perfect motorcycle jump in downtown Los Angeles in 1973. Held at the L.A. Coliseum, the event featured Knievel riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle over 50 smashed cars stacked in a pile. Some 35,000 spectators in the coliseum cheered as he safely made his landing and set a record that would stand for 35 years.

4. TWO LIONS AND A BOX OF RATTLESNAKES

In 1965, the motorcyclist performed his first public stunt. He organized an event in Moses Lake, Washington featuring two mountain lions and a box of rattlesnakes. Driving his Honda motorcycle, Knievel cleared a 90-foot box of serpents and then jumped over a couple of lions. Reflecting later on the beginning of his career, he remembered that although he was unharmed, the jump didn’t go as smoothly as planned. "I jumped 50 rattlesnakes in a 90-foot box and two mountain lions, but smashed into the edge of the box. All the snakes got out and the people had to run down the mountain," he said.

5. COW PALACE

In 1972, Knievel broke a record by jumping over 15 cars in an arena near San Francisco, but after the successful landing, he crashed and skidded through the short tunnel leading to the concessions. The crowd rushed after him, expecting him to be dead, but Knievel stood up (despite a newly broken ankle) and told the crowd: "If someone breaks this indoor record by jumping more than 15 cars, I’ll jump 16 or whatever the number … even if it kills me."

6. SNAKE RIVER CANYON

Idaho’s Snake River Canyon was the site of Knievel’s best-known stunt. Because he couldn’t get governmental approval to ride a motorcycle over the Grand Canyon, he settled for his second choice: Snake River Canyon. In 1974, Knievel tried to jump from one side of the canyon to the other—a 1600-foot wide gap—but he didn’t ride a regular motorcycle. Instead, he used a steam-powered rocket dubbed the Skycycle X-2. After taking off, his parachute deployed too early, and the wind anticlimactically blew him back toward the rocks. In September 2016, stunt performer Eddie Braun successfully jumped over Snake River Canyon in a replica of Knievel's Skycycle.

7. WEMBLEY STADIUM

In May 1975, after his disappointing performance at Snake River Canyon, Knievel went to London’s Wembley Stadium to jump over a line of 13 single-decker buses. An estimated 80,000 people watched him as he attempted this 100-mile-per-hour jump. Unfortunately, he crash-landed on the last bus and bounced until he hit the ground. Despite his injuries, he asked to be helped up, took the microphone, and made an announcement. "I will never, ever, ever jump again," he told the crowd. "I'm through."

8. KINGS ISLAND

Although Knievel told the London audience that he was done after his Wembley jump, he came out of retirement a few months later. In October 1975, he rode his motorcycle over 14 Greyhound buses at Ohio’s Kings Island amusement park. After clearing 133 feet, Knievel landed safely, and the televised event earned huge ratings. Knievel continued performing stunts and doing speaking tours until the early '80s, mostly while traveling with his daredevil son, Robbie Knievel.

This article originally ran in 2016.

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