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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

The Definitive Guide to the Super Bowl

ATLANTA -- Welcome to Super Bowl XXVIII, site of the biggest foregone conclusion in the history of sports. Hope you enjoy your visit.

But just in case you think there may be nothing worthwhile about wading through a week of Bills-Cowboys hype, take heart. There may actually be a few redeeming qualities of what is sure to be another Dallas victory over a gutsy Bills team with that monstrous heart.

So to make your journey a little more pleasant, we present you with a viewer's guide to the Big Show:

Historic game:

OK, so you might not think the matchup is attractive, but it is historic nonetheless:

--It's the first Super Bowl between teams that played the previous year.

--The Cowboys can become the first team to start a season 0-2 and win the Super Bowl.

Enough complaining, already:

Hey, it could be worse. You could have had weeks of the same old storylines. Due to the fact NFL teams had two bye weeks during the regular season, there's no week between the conference championships and the Super Bowl.

Good timing.

A sliver of hope:

Just a sliver, mind you.

But on the most recent occasion there was only a week in between the conference championships and the Super Bowl, the Big Show was superb. And yes, it even involved the Bills. The Giants beat Buffalo, 20-19, in Super Bowl XXV when Scott Norwood's kick sailed wide right.

It might have been the best Super Bowl ever.

Marvelous Marv.

Marv Levy deserves a little credit. The Bills' coach has done a marvelous job keeping his team from doing what any other self-respecting bunch of guys would do after three straight Super Bowl losses -- namely, go in the tank.

"I read about all these coaches," Bills Owner Ralph Wilson said. "I'm not knocking them, but I never read Marv Levy's name. We have great talent, but the head coach and his staff have to be doing something right."

They are. Unfortunately, they seem to have forgotten how to do anything right after 6:18 P.M. the past three Super Bowl Sundays. This time, desperate measures are called for. Marv, it's time you pulled a Jimmy Johnson and guarantee a victory. Go ahead and try it.

Hey, what's the worst that can happen, you lose in a blowout?

Quickie quiz:

Can you name the only AFC team to beat all its NFC opponents during the regular season?

Try the Bills. Buffalo beat the Giants (17-14), Redskins (24-10), Eagles (10-7) and even the Cowboys (13-10).

But remember, the Bills beat Dallas in the second week of the regular season, when Emmitt Smith was still in a contract dispute. The last time they played Dallas with Smith, the Bills lost, 52-17, in Super Bowl XXVII.

The greatest ever?

Joe Montana hasn't even retired, and along comes Troy Aikman threatening to steal his place as the greatest quarterback of all time. Yes, it's still early, but remember this: Montana didn't win his second Super Bowl until his sixth NFL season. Aikman has a chance to win his second title in only his fifth season. And Aikman holds two significant post-season records. He has the NFL's all-time high rating of 116.9 and the highest playoff completion percentage of 71.3.

Emmitt update:

In answer to your first and only question about Emmitt Smith: Yes, the shoulder's doing just fine.

In fact, he could not have imagined a better scenario in playing through the pain of a separated shoulder he suffered in the regular-season finale against the Giants. He rushed for 60 yards in less than three quarters in the Cowboys' divisional playoff victory over the Packers, and felt little discomfort in rushing for 88 yards against the 49ers on Sunday.

"It was a little bit easier than I expected," Smith said. "The shoulder's feeling fine."

Chin up -- even if it is a foregone conclusion.


No need for Dallas fans to worry. Troy Aikman will be on the field Super Bowl Sunday. Aikman spent Sunday night in a Dallas hospital after suffering a mild concussion in the Cowboys' victory over San Francisco. But he said Monday he was feeling fine and was ready to resume practice Wednesday.

"My neck's a little stiff and I've got a little headache, but that's about it," said AikmanA CAT-scan and MRI revealed no neurological damage, according to the team's physician, J.R. Zamorano.