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Read the latest Sporting News article about the meeting with Mike and Kevin Dyson

BERNIE MIKLASZ: Jones put the Rams on top of the world 

By Bernie Miklasz Post-Dispatch Sports Columnist 

ATLANTA -- One tackle made Mike Jones a hero. One tackle made the world spin, made hearts stop, and took everyone's breath away. One tackle turned the Rams into world champions

. One tackle started a flow of champagne in St. Louis and the flow of tears in Tennessee. One tackle forced NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue to present the Vince Lombardi championship trophy to Rams owner Georgia Frontiere with millions of people watching.

One tackle gave Georgia the sweetest revenge against the league that tried to stop her from moving to St. Louis.

One tackle decided the greatest Super Bowl ever played. 

It was one tackle, on the last play of the game, made a foot from the St. Louis end zone. It was the final word in the storybook season. It gave us memories that will last a lifetime. It sends Mike Jones, the Rams' outside linebacker, right into that special place where the legends live forever. He's up there now with Bob Gibson striking out all of those Tigers, Mark McGwire hitting No. 62 and Willie McGee climbing the walls and hitting home runs in the 1982 World Series. 

We will be talking about it for the rest of our lives, and our kids will tell their kids, and it will be passed on through the generations. The tale will be told about a gripping, dramatic, thrilling Sunday night in Atlanta. The Rams were gasping for oxygen, about to give up their 23-16 lead in the Super Bowl.

We will talk about how Super Bowl MVP Kurt Warner (414 yards passing) recreated a Joe Montana fable with the score tied at 16-16. How Special K released a deep pass just as he was being clobbered by Tennessee end Jevon Kearse. And how wide receiver Isaac Bruce floated under the ball, adjusting in mid-route to pull the pass to his body. And how he sped away, not stopping until he had gone 73 yards for the touchdown and a 23-16 lead with 1 minute 54 seconds remaining. 

We will talk about how Tennessee marched down the field. Suddenly the Titans were at the 10-yard line with six seconds left. We will talk about how Titans quarterback Steve McNair threw a pass to wide receiver Kevin Dyson, who caught the ball inside the 5-yard line and tried to curl into the end zone. We will pause here to recount what we were thinking at the moment, in that instant flash of recognition that has yet to become reality. It's almost as if our lives were temporarily suspended. 

``Right before that,'' Rams center Mike Gruttadauria said, ``I looked to my left and to my right on the sideline and looked at my teammates. Some were praying, some were chanting, some were holding hands. I think some had their eyes closed. It was tough to watch.'' 

Would Dyson get in? Would someone save Super Sunday for the Rams? Dyson clutched the ball, his long legs trying to shake free for a sprint or a hurdle into the end zone and a likely overtime. It was going to be close. It was going to be one of those plays that separates winners from losers. The history books waited for answers. 

Dyson felt a surge of excitement; he was about to score the biggest touchdown of his life. ``As soon as I caught the ball, I was thinking paydirt,' '' Dyson said. ``I didn't think anybody would be in the middle of the field.'' 

The Rams were trying to stop Dyson, trying to stop Tennessee's momentum, trying to stop their backs from breaking, trying to hold onto that Super Bowl trophy.

``I was thinking, somebody please tackle him,'' Rams defensive end Grant Wistrom said. ``Please, please someone make that tackle.'' 

Jones was lurking in history's waiting room. He flew across the carpet to make the rescue. Mike Jones, the Kansas City native. The former college running back at Missouri. The former Oakland Raider who was the first defensive free agent signed by Dick Vermeil in 1997. Mike Jones, brought to St. Louis to provide dedication, and leadership. Mike Jones, as first-class a person as you'd ever want to meet.

Jones was about to remind us of the good things that can happen to those who work hard and try to lead a perfect professional life. Jones wrapped up Dyson and wrestled him down. 

``There was one tick left on the clock,'' Bruce said. ``And Mike held him with everything he had.'' 

The clock ran out as Dyson lunged, hopelessly, for the goal line. 

``That, right there, was the greatest tackle made in Super Bowl history,'' Rams safety Keith Lyle said. ``The rest of our lives, we'll see that shown a million times on TV, and we'll replay it over and over again in our minds.'' 

The game was over. Was it over? Over. Just like that. Are we sure? Yes. Madness. Fireworks. Confetti. Over. They're rolling the stage out onto the field for the trophy presentation. Yes, it was over. Exhale. 

``I just fell down,'' Rams defensive tackle D'Marco Farr said. ``I just fell on my back and looked up, just trying to keep that feeling inside. I didn't want to move.''

Jones, a quiet man, shook his head when asked to explain his emotions. The sweat was pouring from his face. ``Relief,'' he said. ``Tired. It was just like, `Man, I'm glad this game is over and we're the world champions. It hasn't really sunk in yet. But I know when I get with my teammates and realize that we're the best in the world, then it's really going to hit me.'' 

Inside the Rams' locker room, Ray Agnew led his teammates in prayer. Vermeil told the players that he loved them. And then the Rams began to kiss the trophy, hug the trophy, take photos of the trophy.

``The entire season, this great Super Bowl, all of the dreams that both teams had, everything we've worked for,'' Farr said. ``It all comes down to one play. One tackle, and we're on top of the world.'' 

Mike Jones lifted them there.



Mike Jones more than a Super Bowl hero
January 31, 2000

By John Pezzullo
SportsTicker Pro Football Editor

ATLANTA (TICKER) -- After playing 143 NFL games with quiet efficiency at
outside linebacker for nine seasons, Mike Jones will be forever remembered
for making the most famous tackle in Super Bowl history.

Jones' quickness makes him one of the top cover linebackers in the league.
That quickness came to the forefront when Jones tracked speedy receiver
Kevin Dyson cutting across the middle on a slant inside the St. Louis 5 and
tackled him just shy of the goal line on the final play of the game to
preserve a 23-16 victory for the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV.

"I knew I was about at the three or the two, and when he caught the ball I
knew he was short of the end zone a couple of yards," Jones said. "I was
right on top of him. I knew that all I had to do was get him down, and
that's what I did."

Folks, not many outside linebackers in this game can tackle receivers on
slants over the middle. Tight ends, yes. Quick receivers like Dyson, no.

Jones was lined up on the left with two other defensive backs against a
receiver and a tight end.

"We had the guy going into the end zone doubled, and Mike Jones was sitting
there waiting for the guy coming underneath," Rams defensive coordinator
Peter Giunta said. "He (quarterback Steve McNair) threw it underneath and
the guy made the big tackle."

McNair made the proper read on the play. Anytime a receiver slants on a
linebacker, that is the preferred option. But Jones is not just any
linebacker.

"To me he is the best outside backer in the game," Rams defensive end Kevin
Carter said. "I wouldn't want anybody else to my left. But he was just
incredible. Came up with the big play when we had to."

Jones, 30, made a number of big plays this season as witnessed by his three
touchdowns. Yes, three touchdowns.

In a November 14 game against Carolina, Jones returned a fumble 37 yards for
a touchdown. The following week at San Francisco, Jones scored on a 44-yard
interception return. In a December 19 game against the New York Giants,
Jones picked off a pass and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown.

"I feel great that he made that play because he's had a great season,"
fellow outside linebacker Todd Collins said. "That's about as clutch as it
gets."

Jones spent the first six years of his career with the Raiders where he
played with the likes of Hall-of-Famers Howie Long and Ronnie Lott and was
their leading tackler in 1995 and 1996.

Soon after Dick Vermeil became Rams coach in 1997, he signed Jones as an
unrestricted free agent and has not regretted it. Jones started all of St.
Louis' 51 games under Vermeil, including playoffs, and has been a model of
consistency and one of the team's leaders.

"He's not an unsung player on this team," Vermeil said. "We know how good he
is here."

Along with the touchdowns, Jones finished the 1999 season with 94 tackles,
four interceptions, 12 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and two fumble
recoveries.

So this is not just another Super Bowl hero along the lines of running back
Tim Smith, who rushed for a record 204 yards in Super Bowl XXII for the
Washington Redskins and then faded into oblivion.

And to think one of the running jokes during Super Bowl week was that each
team had a Mike Jones. The Rams are pretty happy with theirs.