The Super Bowl kickoff came after 1 a.m. in Israel, but Israelis were awake and watching while they were on alert against possible Iraqi missile attacks.
It was the first year the NFL championship was shown live by Israeli television, which began all-night broadcasting after the Persian Gulf War started.
Many families have one person awake during the night to help the others if air raid sirens sound a warning of another missile barrage. Iraq has fired medium-range ballistic missiles at Israel on six nights since Jan. 18.
In Tel Aviv, American football is virtually unknown outside the community of U.S. immigrants or Israelis who have lived in the United States.
Preceding the game, the state-owned television and radio invited fans to explain everything from the rules of football and the manner of betting to why Americans are so interested in the game.
"I think a lot of people will be watching tonight," said Avi Pazner, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir's spokesman who became a Washington Redskins fan when he was a diplomat.
"I'll be watching, even though I'm missing a lot of sleep from the previous nights when there was action of a kind other than football," Pazner said on Israel radio. Bracing for the Cold
The team that represented Minnesota at the Super Bowl this year wore rollerblades instead of cleats and showed promotional videos rather than game films.
The Super Bowl has become big business for the city and state that hosts the game and the week's worth of partying that precedes it.
That fact is not lost on the 150-member task force that went to Tampa to show Super Bowl revelers what's in store for them next year, when the event moves to the Twin Cities.
To promote the theme of "The Great Minnesota Warm-up: The Hottest Weeks of the Year," the task force brought along an eight-member Rollerblade dance team, T-shirts and other promotional merchandise and services to boost the state's visibility.
In addition, Minnesota Super Bowl organizers showed a 30-second commercial on Tampa Stadium's scoreboard during the game.
The task force knows that they will have little trouble selling tickets to the game. But the concern is that the frigid Minnesota weather will scare away fans of the 1992 Super Bowl -- only the second to be held in a northern city. On Jan. 26, 1991, one year before the championship on the next football season is to be decided, the Twin Cities saw a high of 7 degrees and a low of minus 9.
Reports have put the benefits of hosting a Super Bowl around $120 million. And that doesn't include the potential to lure future conventions based on favorable impressions from Super Bowl week.
The task force is reminding visitors that the game will be held indoors at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, where the temperature is "guaranteed" 72 degrees.Two Surprise Trips
Barry Small watched the Super Bowl on Sunday -- courtesy of a newspaper's promotional contest -- and then went home to pack for a trip to the Persian Gulf.
The 23-year-old mechanic didn't expect to be doing either activity until Wednesday, when he learned he won a pair of Super Bowl tickets in a Tampa Tribune contest.
The same day, he received a mailgram ordering him to report Thursday to Fort Jackson, S.C., for deployment.
Small completed a four-year stint in the Army a year ago Monday. As a member of the inactive reserve, he never thought he would be back in the Army so soon.
"I really didn't think I'd really be going unless the war went on a year or more," he said.
His mother, Dee Small, said her son appeared devastated by the mailgram, so she tried to cheer him up by telling him about the tickets he had won in the newspaper contest. She had received a telephone call earlier telling her that he had won.
Small said he thought the call was a hoax, particularly after reading about a Jan. 11 Pasco County Sheriff's Department sting where deputies used Super Bowl tickets as a lure to arrest 66 people sought on warrants.
But Small, who planned to take his girlfriend to the game and cheer for the New York Giants, said winning the tickets helped relieve his anxiety over being called back to duty.