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Super Bowl Sunday is upon us again. For four years it held the grip of all of Western New York, but no longer. The absence of the Bills from the Big Game these past three years gives us football -- and non-football -- fans a chance to merely enjoy the game for what it is. No, not the Championship of the NFL - an excuse to throw a great party on a Sunday afternoon in the middle of winter!
If you're actually interested in the game there are plenty of Internet sites to get you ready for Super Sunday. First, take a look at Superbowl.com (www.superbowl.com). This site promises lots of up-to-date information about the teams as well as a look back at the history of the game. And of course information about all the corporate sponsors. Don't forget to vote for the most memorable play in Super Bowl history (www.superbowl.com/polls/sb0108.html) - including two involving the Bills. If you're really a masochist you can even download a movie of "The Miss" (www.superbowl.com/media/video/mov/norwood.mov).
Want to know how the two teams playing this year fared in games played in a dome? How about their all-time record against each other? The official site of the NFL (www.nfl.com/fans/superbowl/superbowl.html) has those areas covered. Here you'll have access to current rosters and depth charts, the latest injuries, and how each team is preparing as kickoff approaches. Built by the designers of ESPN Sportszone (espnet.sportszone.com/editors/nfl/superbowlXXX/), you will find some of the same information in both locations. At the ESPN site, you'll also get reviews of each Super Bowl with photos, sound bites and other tidbits. Commentary and predictions from the familiar staff of SportsCenter as well as tons of great stuff about the entire world of sports are also on-line at the ESPN site.
Fox television is broadcasting their first Super Bowl ever and they have information and links on their site (www.iguide.com/sports/foxtv/). In addition to football data you'll get commentary from John Madden on-line.
Maybe you're lucky enough to be going to New Orleans for the game or just the parities! You'll want to look at the Super Bowl Host Committee Web Site (superbowlhost.org). It includes a listing of special events for the week leading up to Super Bowl XXXI. There is also a New Orleans visitor guide that is great to view even if you're not going to the Big Easy for the Big Game. But if you are, check your seat locations before the game by taking a virtual tour of the Superdome (www.superbowl.com/bubbles/).
Of course you'll want to take a look at what the locals have to say about their teams in the Super Bowl tournament. Arguably "America's team," the Green Bay Packers have fans all across the country -- the world in fact. A look at the numerous web sites devoted to the Green & Gold will show any casual fan that. There are so many good ones that Packer fans should use their favorite search engine for a listing. One we liked was Packer Plus (www.onwis.com/packer/) an online magazine from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, specializing in news and features on the Green Bay Packers. There is also the Packers newsgroup (news:alt.sports.football.pro.gb-packers).
The Packers opponents in the NFC Championship Game, the Panthers, are an amazing success story. This second-year franchise has quickly attracted fans all across the country. A look at the Carolina team's newsgroup (news:alt.sports.football.pro.car-panthers) will show the different places that Panther fans call their home. In addition, you can find out more information at Yahoo's index (sports.yahoo.com/nfl/car/) or checking out the fine work of a devoted fan (www.concentric.net/~pnthrboy/panthers.htm).
The AFC challengers for the Super Bowl title are by no means lacking in fan support on the Internet. The official site of the Patriots (www.patriots.com) is nicely designed and contains all the information you would expect. You can also get to the site through a link from the Boston Globe (www.boston.com/globe) which has nearly their whole sport section on-line -- daily! Another great idea is the archive section of Globe articles written about the Patriots from training camp to the Super Bowl. The newsgroup devoted to the Pats (news:alt.sports.football.pro.ne-patriots) also is highly trafficked.
And whether the Jacksonville Jaguars win or lose, their official site (www.jaguarsnfl.com/) may be the best sports site on the Internet we have seen so far. Plenty of amazing graphics and sounds -- including the roar of the Jaguar. A must see for anyone interested in great sites.
But enough about the game. It's not worth watching unless you're going to have a great party. If you are responsible for throwing the big bash for the big game you better be prepared. Two of the local supermarkets have great websites for helping you feed those hungry fans. A recent addition to the Web, Tops Markets (www.topsmarkets.com) has a complete section on recipes and even healthy food snacks for those of us trying to stick to our New Years' resolutions. The Wegmans' site (www.wegmans.com) is full of party ideas as well. And what would a party in Buffalo be without chicken wings? Check out Frank & Teressa's Original Anchor Bar Buffalo Wing Sauce (www.buffalowings.com).
Of course if the game gets boring -- and it will -- talk may turn to the fortunes of Buffalo's other major league sports franchise. The Sabres have have launched their official web site (www.sabres.com) which features loads of goodies including the latest stats and standings as well as sections honoring the past heroes -- those who used to wear the Blue & Gold. The NHL site (www.nhl.com) is also great for Sabres stuff.
By the middle of the third quarter, when the game is a blowout and all the cool commercials have been shown at least thirty times, you may be looking for a diversion. Remember, you can always jump on the 'Net and find something to tickle your fancy. And while you're logged on, you just might want to see what's going on in BudBowl (www.budweiser.com). We have a pretty good feeling this game might be better than the real thing.
Finally, we want to continue to help you utilize the Internet in your life. Let us know what you're interested in and we'll check it out. You can email us, firstname.lastname@example.org , or fax us, (716) 853-1350 and let us know what's happening on the Internet in WNY or any computing related activities you're involved with.