Far From The Madding Crowd

Posted: January 24, 1992

They're young, affluent and handsome, and some are single. But many Philadelphia professional athletes prefer to watch Sunday's Super Bowl away

from their adoring fans.

Why? They prefer serenity to screaming, and they're serious about the game.

Said Eagles running back Keith Byars: "I'd rather be at home, with family or a few friends. If you go out, it's too noisy. You get asked 100 times who you think is going to win."

A crowded restaurant or bar is the last place Eagles defensive tackle Mike Golic wants to be when the Washington Redskins play the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. "For three hours," Golic said, "you'd have people around you saying, 'Why aren't you (Eagles) there?' I don't want to be at the game unless I'm in it."

Golic said he might watch the Redskins and Bills with teammates Jeff Feagles and David Alexander. During the regular season, they watched some Sunday night NFL games together.

Sixers star Charles Barkley summed up the attitude of most athletes, saying, "I'll watch the game with friends (at home). That way, I don't have to worry about strangers. There are too many knuckleheads betting on the game. They get rude and crude."

(Barkley knows about rude and crude. Last month, after a game in Milwaukee, he was charged with one count of misdemeanor battery and one count of disorderly conduct following an incident with a 25-year-old man after a game.)

Greg Grant, the Sixers' backup point guard, doesn't want noisy distractions when the game is on.

"I don't like to be with a group," he said. "I'm not into guys yelling and screaming. I can't concentrate. I like to hear the crowd and the announcers."

Flyers center Mike Ricci is only 20, but he reflected the typical NHL player's view.

"I'd like to watch the game anywhere with the team," Ricci said. Smiling, he added, "Anywhere we can't get into trouble."

Flyers goaltender Ron Hextall said seating arrangements aren't a problem when the team gathers at a teammate's home.

"The wives don't watch the game," Hextall said. This leaves more than 20 rowdy hockey players cheering and scrambling for the beer and pretzels. (Let's hope the hosts put away the china.)

Jerome Brown, the Eagles Pro Bowl-bound defensive tackle, is one athlete who won't be staying around home. Brown will be among those watching the Super Bowl at the Sports Nut, 765 Second Street Pike, in Southampton.

Of all the athletes surveyed by the Daily News on the ideal place to watch the Super Bowl, only Flyers captain Rick Tocchet chose a place even more public than a sports bar.

"I would love to be at the game on the sidelines," Tocchet said, "and have the headphones on so I could listen to the coaches calling the plays. That's a big dream of mine."

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