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Defense always key to Super Bowl win

John Romano's column (Driving Offenses Up a Wall, Monday) asserts "everything changed" with regard to the supposed sudden domination of the Super Bowl by defensive teams. Nothing could be further from the truth. Defenses always have dominated Super Bowls. Sorry, Mr. Romano, that quaint notion did not "spend 20 years underground." Just ask Jim Kelly, Dan Marino, Warren Moon, Boomer Esiason or John Elway (before Denver actually started playing defense).

Romano wonders if there were dominant defenses from the mid '80s to the late '90s other than the '85 Bears and "maybe" the '90 Giants. The Giants undoubtedly were dominant. Just ask that no-huddle Bills offense that was supposed to beat them. But somehow, Romano has forgotten the '86 Giants, whose defense may have been better than the others. It gave up three points in two playoff games before the Super Bowl.

If you look at nearly every Super Bowl during that period, the team with the best defense won. Only those who bought into the hype of high-powered offenses thought they were "taking over." The 49ers often got the job done in the Super Bowl with defense (a goal-line stand in XVI, yielding only 16 points in XXIII, etc.). Joe Montana didn't throw for 200 yards in Super Bowl XVI.

Romano also mentions the Cowboys as a team that supposedly did it with offense. Again, they won three Super Bowls by shutting down two high-octane Buffalo offenses and by having a defensive player score twice against the Steelers. I could go on. How many Super Bowls did the Houston Oilers get to all those years they were piling up points? None. The Miami Dolphins? One, and they lost.

Actually, nothing has changed; defense always has, and still does, win titles.

Douglas Saguto


New Rays partner doesn't fix problem

Pity the poor fans and employees of the Devil Rays. That organization can never get it right. You were supposed to lose the other partner, not the good guys.

Joe McQueen

via e-mail

Caymen Went's feats revitalize fans

I wish I lived closer to yourarea to watch the outstanding feat that Cayman Went is accomplishing. This All-American greyhound is lighting up fans of this great sport. With a 15-race win streak, this remarkable pup just set a record in the sprint distance of 30.02 seconds.

John Benedetta

Melbourne Beach

Time to put Mizell "out to pasture'

As a longtime area resident and St. Petersburg native, I grew up enjoying the colorful columns of Hubert Mizell in the Times. His recent Sunday articles, however, are barely fit to line the bottom of a parakeet's cage. The last two weeks he has brought us such rubbish as "Spurrier to Florida State" and a nonsensical rambling of NFL coaches' first names. Is that the best this guy can come up with?

Sorry if I expect a bit more of the Times, but I'd rather see sports-related cartoons at the top of Page 2. Mizell is now the sports writers' equivalent to "the guy who tried to hang on a little too long." The time is long overdue to put Mizell out to pasture before he tarnishes what was otherwise a great career and makes a further mockery of your section.

Bill Cooper


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