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Kelly finally a Super Bowl winner

January 26, 1997

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Jim Kelly finally is a winner on Super Bowl weekend.

In what might be his last public appearance as an active quarterback, Kelly threw four touchdown passes Saturday, leading the NFL Legends to a 30-26 victory over the Cuervo Defectors in the Margarita Bowl flag football game.

Billy ``White Shoes″ Johnson caught two of the TD passes.

Kelly is expected to retire this week after the Buffalo Bills told him they won’t make him a contract offer. Now a free agent, Kelly is seeking a $1 million settlement from the Bills, sources have told The Associated Press.

Kelly, loser of four straight Super Bowls with the Bills, would not talk about his contract status Saturday.

He certainly dominated the Margarita Bowl, connecting often with one of his former receivers, James Lofton, and with Johnson. Kelly even played some linebacker and defensive back.

``That was a lot of fun,″ he said after the game, ``but I don’t know if I want to play two ways again.″

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SUPER RINGS: For fans who want more than a memory of the Super Bowl, Joe Kolstad and Don Jezequel have just the thing _ a genuine Super Bowl ring.

The men, who run ``Castle of Rings″ in Birmingham, Ala., brought their business to New Orleans for the game. The rings, which come with a certificate of authenticity, range in price from $10,000 to $65,000.

``Every player, whether his team wins or loses, gets a ring,″ Kolstad said. ``But the value is lower if the team loses. In fact, some people call it a `loser ring.′ It’s really an NFC or AFC championship ring.″

The most expensive piece was a Raiders ring.

``The Raiders rings are very flamboyant, lots of diamonds, lots of carat-weight,″ Kolstad said.

Also for sale were a 1975 Pittsburgh ring for $50,000, a 1992 Dallas ring for $50,000 and a 1981 San Francisco ring for $35,000.

The men get the rings from various sources, including collectors and auctions where they buy rings donated to charities, Kolstad said. The rings all are inscribed with the original owner’s name.

``We’ve had a lot of interest and think we will negotiate several sales,″ Kolstad said.

The men planned to stay in business through Monday, ``in case anyone wins a big Super Bowl bet and wants to splurge on a ring,″ Kolstad said.

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POLITICAL WAGERING: Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson and Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld used the Super Bowl number as the key to their bet on the big game.

Thompson was willing to wager 31 pounds of bratwurst and 31 wheels of Wisconsin cheese that the Packers will win the 31st Super Bowl.

``It will only take 31 minutes for the Packers to pummel the Patriots,″ Thompson said.

Weld bet 31 Boston cream pies and 31 roasted turkeys that the Patriots will win.

``With all due respect to Governor Thompson and the cheeseheads, they are going to experience a tuna melt on Sunday evening as the Patriots fillet the Bay,″ Weld said.

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WILL WORK FOR TICKETS: Sitcom star Drew Carey wasn’t sure he had time to work up material for an evening of stand-up comedy, but a ticket to the Super Bowl convinced him.

``It’s hard, man, very hard to develop new stand-up material while you’re doing a series,″ said Carey, whose blue-collar sitcom, ``The Drew Carey Show,″ has taken off this year on ABC.

``So when this guy says, `How’d you like to play New Orleans?′ I said, `Well, I don’t know, it’s a lot of work,′ ... And he says, `It’s Super Bowl and I’ll get you in the game,′ and I said, `OK.′

``Oh, yeah, it’s really why I’m doing the gig.″

Carey was on a tight schedule: fly in Friday, perform Saturday night at the Saenger Theatre, catch the game Sunday and head back to Hollywood to resume filming his show.

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DOME PROBLEMS: Superdome officials aren’t happy with a Wisconsin-based company that provides a super-sophisticated building controls system for the 72,000-seat stadium.

Johnson Controls Inc. of Glendale, Wis., has worked with the Superdome for 21 years on a system that regulates lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and fire-management equipment.

``I’m not too happy with Johnson right now,″ Danny Vincens, director of engineering and operations at the Louisiana Superdome, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Vincens said the roots of his present unhappiness _ an exception in an otherwise good relationship with Johnson Controls _ date to last February, when the Superdome contracted to replace its existing Johnson Controls building automation system with the company’s newer, more sophisticated Metasys system.

Vincens said that he was told by Johnson Controls representatives that the old system was obsolete and wouldn’t be supported with parts after 1999. He agreed to a $475,000 upgrade, but claims he wasn’t told that the Superdome would need an extensive rewiring at the cost of an additional $70,000 to $200,000.

Johnson Controls is confident it will wind up with a happy customer.

``Once the Super Bowl is over and Mr. Vincens has had time to fully discuss this situation with our New Orleans office, we are confident that it’s going to be completely and satisfactorily resolved,″ spokesman John A. Bernaden said.

Vincens stressed that the Superdome is safe for Sunday’s game.

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