It appears that Super Bowl XXXVII, which pits the Oakland Raiders against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is going to be a classic battle of two teams eager to prove they are the standard bearers of the National Football League.
What makes the Super Bowl worthy of the hype it's receiving are the swashbuckling feuds and melodramas associated with the big game.
The most interesting histrionics of Super Sunday center on Jon Gruden. The Tampa Bay coach is eager to prove he was worth the two first-round draft picks, two-second round draft picks and $8 million the Buccaneers gave the Raiders for the right to sign him to a contract.
Raiders owner Al Davis, who has long been branded a maverick, wants to prove that giving up Gruden and replacing him with Bill Callahan, a first-year head coach,as not a bonehead decision.
The game also is being billed as the showdown that will pit Tampa Bay's impermeable defense against Oakland's unstoppable offense.
Although the Raiders are the 3.5-point favorites, fans are almost equally divided as to which team will become the new world champs.
A highly unscientific survey of eight Rim country coaches, athletes and sports officials reveals that, like other fans, they are split.
Survey results are:
Payson High football and basketball coach Mike Loutzenheiser
Tampa Bay 27, Oakland 17.
"Defense wins championships and Tampa Bay has the best defense in the NFL. I think Gruden's knowledge of the Raiders and their personnel will be a huge advantage in game planning."
PHS girls volleyball and basketball coach Krystal Garvin
Raiders 28, Tampa Bay 24
"I'm always a huge fan of the underdog unless it's my team (U.ofA.). Since Tampa Bay spanked the Raiders earlier in the season and we saw from the Fiesta Bowl that underdogs often times get underestimated, I'd like to think the Raiders will pull this one out."
Longhorn football player Alex Vlahopoulos
Oakland 28, Tampa Bay 21.
"That's just the way it is."
RCMS football/basketball player Miles Huff
Tampa Bay 24, Oakland 10.
"Bucs' defense is too good and they have Brad Johnson on offense."
PHS basketball player Tanya Davis
Tampa Bay 27, Oakland 17.
"Because that was the score of the game in the movie ‘The Water Boy.'"
PHS track coach Chuck Hardt
Oakland 20, Tampa Bay 13.
"Oakland's offense will score at least two TDs and the Raiders defense is under-rated. I like the matchup of Oakland's defense versus Tampa Bay's offense.
PHS football/basketball official and RCMS Athletic Director Tim Fruth
Oakland 27, Raiders 24.
"Raiders have the best offense, best kicker and better looking uniforms. Plus, it's the Raiders opportunity to beat Chuckie."
PHS girls soccer coach Randy Wilcox
Tampa Bay 34, Oakland 17.
"Who cares? It's not the Cardinals. I might not even watch it since Jake the Snake isn't playing."