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Rodman in Your Face

Still, he must now undergo "counseling" in advance of a February meeting with NBA commissioner Stern, at which Rodman will have to make a case for his reinstatement to the Bulls. Unless something goes very, very wrong, The Worm's counselor will probably emerge from their sessions together with a mauve coif and a budding interest in cross-dressing. As for Stern, after six or seven minutes of listening to Rodman's explanations of his behavior, he'll likely be considering a mid-career move into used-car sales.

Such is the ferocity of one man's grip on his world and the awful power of the American celebrity culture. In fact, watching Dennis Rodman work his outrageous thing can't help making you nostalgic for the good old days of sport--when the second baseman simply spit in the face of the umpire and everybody went home happy.

Those hundreds of thousands of Broncos fans who claim they spent Sunday afternoon shopping for auto parts or taking in the rodeo or volunteering to mop floors at the homeless shelter or watching the Chinese National Table Tennis championship on ESPN2 may not be telling the truth, exactly.

It's more likely that curiosity, which ranks second only to the desire for a good bowl of green chile in the realm of human urges, took hold of the orange-clad masses as the Pats and the Packers kicked it off in the Louisiana Superdome. What brokenhearted Donk-lover, after all, didn't want to see if a New England team that Elway and company shredded on its own field two seasons in a row could make a game of it against the mighty Packers? A bitter curiosity, perhaps, but curiosity nonetheless.

As it happened, the Patriots were not up to the task. The tundra folk from Green Bay didn't exactly make tuna salad out of Bill Parcells and his boys, but the Pack was never in real jeopardy, was it? As anyone who wasn't really rotating the tires on the Datsun or reading The Brothers Karamazov Sunday afternoon could tell you, the NFC champs were once again the real Super Bowl power. If there's any local consolation in it, the Pats never had a real shot.

Meanwhile, the Las Vegas oddsmakers were right on the money. The fourteen-point favorite won the game by precisely fourteen, thanks to a missed Packer field goal in the fourth quarter. That probably didn't sit very well in Lombardi country, where fans bet the dairy farm on their heroes. But a win is a win, and "Titletown" is once more worthy of the name. Look for cheese hats to dominate the spring fashion shows in Paris.

And your Denver Broncos? The way we hear it, Mike Shanahan's entire corps of defensive backs spent Sunday afternoon at the bowling alley. Shannon Sharpe was seeing to his stamp collection. Brian Habib went to a violin lesson, and John Elway was down at the dealership, poring over the new warranty rules and bolting nameplates to a fresh shipment of Hondas.

To hear locals tell it, no one felt super in these parts on Sunday, and no one watched the game that got away. That would have been shameful, after all. So they spent the day watching pornographic movies on East Colfax, selling heroin and flogging the dog.

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