Originally created 01/19/01

Former oponents are teammates in Super Bowl



EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- While it has been almost 10 years since they stood on opposite sidelines during the Super Bowl, Howard Cross and Glenn Parker recall the details like it was yesterday.

There was a ton of pregame hype for the meeting between Cross' Giants and Parker's favored Buffalo Bills, heightened security because of the Gulf crisis and Scott Norwood's final field goal attempt, which went wide right.

The Giants won their second Super Bowl with a 20-19 victory over the Bills on Jan. 27, 1991, at Tampa Stadium.

Cross and Parker will be heading back to Tampa, Fla., again this weekend. When they take the field against the Baltimore Ravens, they will do it as Giants teammates.

"I don't mess with Glenn about that game," Cross said Thursday. "I like to keep our friendship. If I do, he won't talk to me any more."

Parker, who joined the Giants as a free agent this season, and Cross remember their first Super Bowl from start to finish.

"There was security all over the place," Cross said, alluding to the beefed up police and military presence generated by the threat of terrorism. "There were helicopter gunships flying around the stadium and everything, and I remember snipers in the towers.

"I understood what was at stake outside the stadium, what was going on," the tight end added.

Parker's most vivid recollection was the military jets flying over the stadium before the kickoff.

"I was choked up, my father being a veteran," said Parker, a guard who has played in four Super Bowls without winning. "I was just feeling for those poor guys over there (in the Persian Gulf), what they had to go through."

Parker was also worried.

"My family was up in the stands and everybody is talking about terrorism," Parker added. "You get choked up."

Both players remembered the seesaw nature of the game. The Giants took an early 3-0 lead. Buffalo got the next three scores, tallying on a field goal, a touchdown and a safety. The lead then changed hands three times with Matt Bahr's field goal with 7:20 to play putting New York ahead for good.

Buffalo got into position for a game-winning 47-yard field goal attempt by Norwood with four seconds to play.

As everyone knows, it went wide right.

But it was interesting to hear Cross and Parker talk about it.

"I had read the scouting report and I knew he didn't make many kicks over 40 yards on grass," Cross said. "It was kind of shocking when it was going."

Cross said his immediate thought after Norwood kicked the ball was that the scouting report was wrong. As the ball neared the goalposts, he breathed a sigh of relief.

Parker was lined up on the right end of the Bills' line and had a great view of the kick.

"Our main thing was not to jump offsides," Parker said. "Everything was watch the ball, keep your head ready, watch the ball and just protect. As it was kicked I keep saying, 'Hook! Hook! Hook!' It didn't happen. It had hooked all year and it didn't happen that time. It's a bitter pill."

Neither Cross nor Parker wants to experience bitterness this time.

This trip is going to be all business. Fun might be going out to dinner for a night.

"If you go down there and get caught up in all the stuff, you can't play the game," Cross said. "You go down there, you play well, you make history. You play bad and lose, you were just there."