Shula Picks Colts

Dave Barry is a millionaire who writes best-selling books and has Hollywood up his ass. Does he really want to write this daily dreck any more? And do we want to read it? I revere the guy and consider him the greatest humorist of his generation, but the newspaper gig is tired. It reminds me of those old Godzilla movies, where the great monster was taking on all comers, like, say, Megalon. This is "Dave Barry Vs. Super Bowl." Enjoy.

Speaking of Super Bowl stories, I have one. Well, it's not my story, since I'm chained to a story this week. I live it vicariously through a sportswriter buddy of mine who was in town for Media Day. The News-Press's David Dorsey, who was a companion during my early exhilarating and turbulent days in Fort Myers, went to the media party last night in South Beach and, as he's walking to the place, he sees a big black sedan pull up to the sidewalk and a familiar-looking character come out of it with a friend and a hulking chauffeur/bodyguard.

It's Don Shula and the old coach walks into Pizzafiore, a hole-in-the-wall pizza joint at 1653 Washington Ave. Dorsey walks into the joint and strikes up a conversation with Shula, telling him he likes the steak sauce he's marketing.

"Where do you get it?" the coach asked, genuinely curious.

"Publix in Fort Myers," Dorsey told him.

Shula was obviously pleased at this, Dorsey reports, as if his team had just scored on a surpise end-around. Dorsey's not sure, but there may have been a fist pump involved.

They wind up chatting for ten minutes, while Shula scarfed down a slice of Italian sausage, New York-style. Said he was going to a function of some kind, wanted a quick bite, and happened to pop into this place. Then he started talking about, God no, the Nutrisystem diet that Dan Marino has been hawking all over the airwaves.

He told Dorsey that Marino had turned him on to

the diet, that he'd already lost 23 pounds and felt great. His golf game, the 77-year-old Shula reported, had not only improved but become more enjoyable. Talk then turned to the big game and Shula told Dorsey he "had a feeling" that the Indianapolis Colts were going to win the game (Shula, you might recall, was head coach of the Baltimore Colts when they were upset by the Joe Namath and the Jets in the famous Super Bowl III).

Then the coach asked Dorsey what he was doing in town. Dorsey told him he was covering the Super Bowl and that his angle for Sunday's game involved the story of a Make-A-Wish kid named Daniel who had undergone a recent liver transplant. Unbidden, Shula immediately sent his friend back to the car and he returned with a pigskin binder (it's like a folder that's actually made out of football leather). Shula pulled a picture of himself out of the binder and signed it for the kid for Dorsey to give him.

A woman working at the place then put Shula on the phone with her mother. And Shula, a former assistant coach at the University of Kentucky (that's right), happily talked with her.

In other words, the dude was nice and classy as hell. When it was time to run, Shula had just taken a bite out of his second slice and asked Dorsey if he wanted to finish it. Not one to turn down a Hall of Famer, Dorsey took the pizza and finished it. I asked him if he actually ate the bite part and he said he didn't think so, it was cut. I was relieved by that bit of information. I wouldn't eat Shula's bite. Hell, I don't think I'd eat anybody's bite, other than maybe Rachel Weisz (I have no idea why her name came to mind, but there it is).

Then it was onto the media party, where he schmoozed with some sports media dudes (most notably a red-faced, hard-partying Craig Sager), drained a half-dozen Mojitos, and watched some statuesque blonde models playing volleyball in very little clothing (a standard feature at any media party, of course).

But none of it matched eating with the Don of football.

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