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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 3, 2003

Gannon still feels sting of Super Bowl setback

 •  AFC keeps picking on NFC
 •  Manning calls Colts teammate an 'idiot'
 •  Ferd Lewis: Now we know what makes Ricky Williams special
 •  Titans will help out ex-Warrior
 •  Pro Bowl statistics

By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer

Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon returned to MVP form at the Pro Bowl yesterday, but his thoughts after the game were on last week's disappointing performance in the Super Bowl and the future.

Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon looked like his NFL MVP self yesterday, completing 12 of 18 passes for 102 yards and two TDs. But he admitted that last week's "disappointing" loss to the Bucs still lingers.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

Gannon, who started yesterday for the AFC, completed 12 of 18 passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns in a little more than a quarter.

After the AFC's 45-20 victory over the NFC, he spent most of the time talking about Oakland's 48-21 loss to Tampa Bay in Super Bowl XXXVII. In the game, three of his five interceptions were returned for touchdowns and he was sacked five times.

"Last week was disappointing for all of us, myself included," said Gannon, a 15-year veteran, who made his fourth Pro Bowl appearance yesterday. "We're disappointed but not discouraged. We'll try and get (a championship) back next year."

Gannon led the AFC to touchdowns on its first two possessions — capping the second one with an 11-yard pass to Kansas City tight end Tony Gonzalez that put the AFC up 14-3 with 4:10 left in the first quarter.

Gannon completed 5 of 6 passes for 53 yards on the eight-play, 71-yard drive.

After two unsuccessful drives, the AFC scored on a seven-play, 33-yard drive, which ended with Gannon's 13-yard pass to Buffalo running back Travis Henry. The score, which put the AFC up 21-3 4:40 into the second quarter, was set up by Raiders teammate Rod Woodson's interception.

"We got off to a good start, the defense generated a lot of turnovers and we were able to capitalize," Gannon said.

"Last week was disappointing for all of us, myself included," Rich Gannon said.

Associated Press

Buffalo's Drew Bledsoe took over at quarterback on the AFC's next possession.

AFC quarterback Peyton Manning, of the Indianapolis Colts, was impressed with Gannon's accomplishments this season, which included 418 completions in 618 attempts for 4,689 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

"Nobody's had the year that Rich has had in a long time in the NFL," Manning said. "He had a heck of a year and the scary thing is he'll be even better next year."

When asked if he was glad Gannon ended his season with a strong performance and victory, AFC coach Jeff Fisher said: "Had we not won this game today, in my opinion, he still would have gone out on a winning note. He was the MVP, had a great year and was a big reason for their success in Oakland."

Gannon won the two previous Pro Bowl MVP awards, but was edged out yesterday by AFC teammate Ricky Williams, who rushed for 56 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.

"These games are fun, but that's not why we play," Gannon said. "We play to be (Super Bowl) champs."