No more dynasties

February 06, 2001 6:24 AM
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Super Bowl XXXV is history, but some things that happened before and after the game bears noting.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced its class of 2001. One of those selected was former coach Marv Levy who, although he never won a Super Bowl, directed the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances. Levy’s selection prompts the premise that never again will a team reach the Super Bowl four straight years. The days of NFL dynasties are gone. Salary caps and free agency have seen to that.

So shall it be with the Baltimore Ravens. In the euphoria immediately following the Ravens’ victory, there was talk of a repeat next year and beyond. But the Ravens will have a somewhat altered look next season.

A number of key players are eligible for free agency. The Super Bowl win will generate increases in salaries, so salary caps will force the club to cut some players loose. There will be some new faces in next year’s lineup.

One who could be gone is quarterback Trent Dilfer. The victory champagne bubbles were still sparkling when rumors spread that the Ravens would dump Dilfer, who is eligible for free agency, and go after Brad Johnson of the Washington Redskins, also a free agent.

Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year and Super Bowl MVP, but he didn’t get the coveted trip to Disneyland — nor will his likeness be on boxes of Wheaties.

The Disney Corporation and General Mills obviously feel that a man involved in a double homicide is not the type of person they want as a front for their products. (Incidentally, the Disneyland trip was given to Dilfer.)

In presenting Lewis with his Super Bowl MVP award, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said it was a "privilege" to do so. That was quite a turnaround from last August, when Tagliabue slapped Lewis with an NFL-record $250,000 fine for conduct detrimental to the league. That was levied because, after last year’s Super Bowl in Atlanta, two men were stabbed to death in brawl outside a nightclub. Lewis and two companions sped away in Lewis’ rental limousine.

In his annual state of the league address to the media, Tagliabue tried to put the league’s best food forward on players’ off-field behavior, conjuring up figures he claimed showed that if the nation’s general population was as good as NFL players, the country’s crime problem would be, in Tagliabue’s words, "well addressed."

Of course, in a control statistical situation one can prove just about anything one desires. Tagliabue seemed to be saying that because more people are bitten by dogs than by tigers, dogs are more dangerous than tigers.

Sports Potpourri

Having signed on to be a commentator for the CBS telecasts of the NCAA basketball tournament, Rick Pitino has put on hold his plans for future coaching. Rumors have him going to either UNLV or UCLA. In any event, whoever succeeds him with the Boston Celtics will face a tough situation. Pitino loaded up the team with long-term contracts to non-productive players. Celtic fans will have to be patient as the team rebuilds to its former glory by getting rid of Pitino’s deadwood…

The day Mario Lemieux ended his retirement and stepped onto the ice is the day that he became the best player in the National Hockey League…

When the Chicago White Sox traded with the Toronto Blue Jays to get David Wells, it was assumed it was because the ChiSox wanted to add to their staff a veteran pitcher accustomed to working in big games. Not so. The real reason the Sox made the deal was to prevent their A.L. Central main rivals, the Cleveland Indians, from getting Wells.

The Sox paid a steep price for Wells, though. Among the players they gave up was lefty Mide Sirotka, who won 40 games over the last three seasons. Sirotka will be 31 this year, eight years younger than Wells. He might be a more productive pitcher in the long run…

There’s absolutely no truth to the rumor that Baltimore Ravens coach Brian Billick will spend the off-season as a professor at the Columbia University School of Journalism. Billick’s stern lecture to the media a few days before the Super Bowl gave rise to the unfounded speculation…

Three cheers for Jennifer Capriati. Her triumph in the Australian Open makes her the early leader for Comeback Athlete of the Year.