Super Bowl With a Smirk is back with the fourth of five daily needling jabs at the self-important NFL and the oversized gravitas of its big game. Flying under the banner, “Make Fun, Not War,” Smirk is an annual Super Bowl Week feature in the Miami Herald years we remember to do it.
Miami is always in the Super Bowl, one way or another. The city has hosted 10 of the 53 NFL showcases, and next year we’ll welcome a record 11th. The Dolphins occasionally are even in the game, with five appearances, albeit none since the 1984 season. But Miami’s steadiest, most reliable SB representation is thanks to the Miami Hurricanes.
Ex-Canes put the ‘U’ in Super.
Smirk has calculated that UM has had 111 total player appearances by alums in a Super Bowl, a number sure to grow by two more this Sunday, with wide receiver Phillip Dorsett a Patriots starter and cornerback Sam Shields a prominent Rams reserve. Only six Super Bowls have not had at least one ex-Cane, the most recent 13 years ago.
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The total will grow to 124 if you include ex-Canes who were on SB teams but did not appear in the game. UM joins USC, UCLA, Michigan Penn State and Notre Dame as the only other schools in the 100 Club of alums in the SB.
Any Canes fan can name prominent UM’ers who’ve been on the biggest stage, from Ted Hendricks and Chuck Foreman to Jim Kelly and Michael Irvin to Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.
But do you know who started this thing? The historic first ex-Cane to ever play in a Super Bowl?
Walt Corey is worth spending a minute to remember.
Super Bowl I, on Jan. 15, 1967, would be his final game after a seven-year career as a linebacker in the AFL with the Dallas Texans-turned-Kansas City Chiefs — a solid career despite being undrafted out of Miami.
Corey had been a UM letterman in 1957-59, unsigned out of high school in western Pennsylvania, where he grew up the youngest of 16 kids.
So how’d he wind up in Coral Gables? He was invited as a walk-on quarterback. Hank Stram, the future Hall of Famer, happened to be a UM defensive assistant in 1959, and converted Corey from a QB to a linebacker. Stram was with the Dallas Texans the next season and behind Corey being drafted as a free agent.
Corey went on to spend 27 years as an NFL assistant coach with the Chiefs, Browns, Bills and Saints. He is now 80 and living in Missouri.
“It’s been an honor,” he said of his life in football. “It’s amazing how fast time flies.”
The Super Bowl is 53. And the first one featured the man who’ll forever be first Hurricane to play in one.
▪ Pittsburgh’s KDKA-TV fired producer Michael Telek after he put the graphic ‘Known Cheater’ under a photo of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during a Super Bowl report. Hey, that’s no way to treat a hero. Telek, I mean.
▪ L.A. Rams cheerleaders Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies are about to make history as the first male cheerleaders at a Super Bowl. Finally, we men get equal rights!!
▪ Todd Gurley’s Rams beat Rob Gronkowski’s Patriots 21-6 in an “Xbox Sessions” simulation. Cannot confirm reports Gronk lost because his entire game strategy was attempting 69-yard field goals.
▪ Smirk asked Merriam-Webster for an analysis of this year’s Super Bowl. The response: “A patriot is one who loves or supports his or her country. A ram is a male sheep.”
▪ It never fails. Super Bowl media coverage finds outlets from the two participating teams gushing with positive stuff, while media from the host city feel the need to do Serious Journalism. Tied for first this week in the latter category: When last Atlanta hosted a SB, in 2000, Ray Lewis was implicated in a double stabbing murder. And Tommy Nobis, “Mr. Falcon,” had the most severe form of football-related brain injury when he died in 2017. Alrighty then!
▪ A brawl erupted Thursday on Radio Row when competing crews from rival Milwaukee stations argued over who had first dibs to an interview with Patriots backup long-snapper Ned Snappington. The player required four stitches when struck by a flying headset.
▪ The group Rebuilding Together built homes in underprivileged areas of Atlanta Thursday in a 24th annual Super Bowl Week initiative. Members of rival group Habitat for Humanity showed up and chanted jeers against the builders’ hammer skills but quickly dispersed.
▪ Diehard Rams fan Kenneth Dunham got a tattoo on his left arm proclaiming his team as Super Bowl LIII champions. If the Rams lose, he’ll amputate. OK I made up that last thing.
▪ Super Bowl TV commercials update: The original “eTrade Baby” from 2008 is now an irritable preteen who is experiencing early-onset acne and is constantly holed up in his bedroom listening to Slayer’s “Reign in Blood” on a continuous loop.
▪ An NFL and Law Enforcement Anti-Counterfeit Press Conference was held Thursday. Officials said that if you bought a pricey Super Bowl leather jacket that looks suspiciously like a 1980s Members Only jacket — it might be a fake.
▪ Super Bowl Party Tip du Jour: Just after kickoff, surprise your guests by switching abruptly from the game to PBS’ “Father Brown: The Lepidopterist’s Companion.”