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  • Game story
  • John Elway adds another chapter to his legend.
  • Tony Kornheiser: A bad day for the Falcons, Eugene Robinson in particular.
  • Michael Wilbon: Sunday was Elway's signature game.
  • Norman Chad: Seven hours for a pregame show?
  • Broncos got help from some unlikely heroes.
  • Robinson chose to play after arrest.
  • Falcons played worst game on biggest day.
  • Notebook: Denver police use tear gas to control fans.

    From the AP

  • Fox almost missed Denver's critical TD.
  • Terrell Davis is versatile as a decoy.
  • Chris Chandler proves to be a big-game neophyte.
  • Coaches exchange few words.
  • Shannon Sharpe was injured early.

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  •   Shanahan Shows Mettle in TD Call

    super bowl logo By Jeff Shain
    Associated Press
    Monday, February 1, 1999; 2:43 a.m. EST

    MIAMI – The play that broke the Atlanta Falcons wasn't even part of Denver's Super Bowl package. In fact, it hadn't been in the Broncos' game plan for nearly two months.

    But the thinking leading up to John Elway's 80-yard touchdown pass to Rod Smith captures the essence of coach Mike Shanahan's offensive acumen.

    "We had a run off the same formation,'' Shanahan said after the Broncos' 34-19 romp sealed their second consecutive title Sunday night. "We saw Rod getting past the safety, so we went to the pass call.''

    The TD, one play after Morten Andersen missed a 26-yard field goal, gave Denver a 17-3 lead with 4:54 left in the first half and forced Atlanta out of its game plan.

    "We haven't run that play in six or seven weeks,'' Shanahan said.

    Bill Walsh was dubbed "The Genius'' while winning three Super Bowls with San Francisco in the 1980s. Shanahan is known as "The Mastermind.'' Now Shanahan is approaching some territory Walsh and few others occupy.

    Shanahan already is one of just five coaches to win back-to-back Super Bowls, and the first from the AFC since Pittsburgh's Chuck Noll won in 1979 and 1980. One more, and he'll join Walsh, Noll and Washington's Joe Gibbs as the only ones to win as many as three.

    And if Shanahan can make it three in a row – well, that's uncharted territory.

    "You're always week-to-week in this profession,'' he said. "I'm just going to enjoy it.''

    Broncos owner Pat Bowlen isn't shy in calling this year the "greatest season in Bronco history,'' pointing to Denver's 17-2 record and Super Bowl win.

    Shanahan, though, wasn't ready to start comparing titles.

    "I'm kind of numb right now,'' he said. "To be with the players all year – have the type of offseason we had, go through some adversity, then play at the level we did in the playoffs – it's incredible.''

    After winning last year's crown in San Diego, the Broncos hadn't even showered before Shanahan challenged them to come back ready to defend their title.

    The Broncos not only progressed virtually unscathed, they came back even better. They won their first 13 games, lost two, then won the final four to lift the trophy once again.

    "Are we better? I really don't know,'' Shanahan said. "It's so hard to judge. Over the past two years, everybody believed. The more pressure we had on this football team, the more they stepped up. That's what wins championships.''

    Not even the potential of an ugly family feud could distract the Broncos this week.

    Atlanta coach Dan Reeves, who spent 12 years coaching the Broncos, let slip two weeks ago that his wounds haven't healed completely from his firing in Denver in 1992. One of the protagonists, he said, was Shanahan.

    Reeves said Shanahan and quarterback John Elway conspired to run their own game plan and blamed Shanahan for not telling him about Elway's unhappiness with the offense.

    Shanahan reacted with dismay at first, then calmed back down and said he would take the high road. The issue died quickly in Miami, and the two exchanged a very brief handshake after the game.

    "He just said, 'Congratulations.' I said the same thing to him,'' Shanahan said.

    © Copyright 1999 The Associated Press

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