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Author: Dan Caesar
Date: Feb. 14, 2000
Publisher: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Document Type: Article
Length: 869 words

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The Rams won the NFC title and the Super Bowl, and some of them even helped the NFC to win the Pro Bowl. But although the season finally has ended, some competition still remains for the club.

The Rams are in contention for the mythical team-of-the-year title, which is one of several honors that will be presented on the ESPY Awards show, which airs at 7 p.m. tonight on ESPN from the MGM Grand resort in Las Vegas.

The ESPYs have evolved into sort of an Academy Awards show for sports. The cable network will present best-of-the-year awards in 26 categories during the show. Actor Jimmy Smits of "LA Law" and "NYPD Blue" will serve as host.

"I feel very honored to be part of the show," Smits said last week. "I do watch ESPN, and I've watched past award shows. I had a great time last year giving the Humanitarian Award to Sammy Sosa. I get to see my sports heroes like Tiger (Woods) or (Michael Jordan), so it's exciting for me."

A panel of sports executives, journalists, athletes and coaches voted for the award recipients.

Among those scheduled to attend the program are athletes Jordan, Woods, Mark McGwire, Kurt Warner, Wayne Gretzky and Mia Hamm; entertainers Tyra Banks, Wes Bentley, Lolita Davidovich, Danny Glover, Joe Pesci, Burt Reynolds, Martin Sheen and Cybill Shepherd; and musical groups Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Take 6.

The Rams are nominated in the team-of-the-year category. In addition, several individuals with St. Louis ties are up for awards.

Rams quarterback Warner and running back Marshall Faulk are competing for the honor of pro football player of the year. Warner also is up for the honor of breakthrough athlete. And former Rams coach Dick Vermeil is a finalist for coach/manager of the year.

ESPN is presenting 15 additional awards for the best performances in the past decade.

Several nominees have local ties: McGwire, in baseball and for male athlete of the decade; Wayne Gretzky, who briefly played for the Blues, in hockey; Joe Torre, in the coach/manager competition, although he's in the running for his time with the Yankees, not the Cardinals.

Columbine High School coach and teacher William "Dave" Sanders, who was killed last year in the shootings at that school in Littleton, Colo., while trying to lead students to safety, was selected as the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Award for courage. His family is scheduled to accept the honor.

The football season has ended, but the memory won't fade soon for many Rams fans - or for Mike Kelly. Kelly, a former KMOX (1120 AM) sportscaster who now broadcasts Missouri football and basketball games and works for the university, was asleep at his home in Columbia, Mo., when his telephone rang at about 8:30 a.m. Jan. 23.

He was told that he might soon be receiving a call from a CBS Radio executive wanting to know if Kelly could drive to St. Louis to broadcast the NFC Championship Game on national radio - that day.

So, Kelly jumped up, showered and shaved.

"I figured I'd either be going to 11:30 mass or getting on the highway," Kelly said.

The call came, and Kelly soon was heading east on Interstate 70 to fill in for Howard David, who had been grounded by a snowstorm in the East.

When the game kicked off at 3:15 p.m., Kelly was broadcasting an NFL game for the first time, one that would determine a Super Bowl participant.

"It was a situation you'll always look back on and say, 'Wow, that really happened," said Kelly, who grew up in Dupo. "What an unforgettable day."

Kelly, who has broadcast basketball for CBS, said he took a simple approach to working the football game.

"I just described the play and let (analyst) Matt Millen take over," Kelly said. "I just tried to keep it as simple as possible."


ESPY Award nominations in categories that have teams or individuals with St. Louis ties:

Team of the year

* Rams (Super Bowl champion)

* Florida State (undefeated national collegiate football champion)

* New York Yankees (won World Series for 25th time in franchise history)

* U.S. Ryder Cup team (staged dramatic rally to beat Europe in the golf event)

* U.S. women's soccer team (won the Women's World Cup)

Pro football player of the year

* Kurt Warner (Rams quarterback)

* Marshall Faulk (Rams running back)

* Stephen Davis (Redskins running back)

* Edgerrin James (Colts running back)

* Peyton Manning (Colts quarterback)

Breakthrough athlete of the year

* Kurt Warner (Rams quarterback)

* Sergio Garcia (golf)

* Serena Williams (tennis)

Coach/manager of the year

* Dick Vermeil (Rams)

* Joe Torre (Yankees)

* Jim Calhoun (Connecticut men's basketball)

* Bobby Bowden (Florida State football)

Baseball player of the decade

* Mark McGwire (Athletics, Cardinals)

* Barry Bonds (Pirates, Giants)

* Ken Griffey Jr. (Mariners)

* Greg Maddux (Cubs, Braves)

Hockey player of the decade

* Wayne Gretzky (Kings, Blues, Rangers)

* Mario Lemieux (Penguins)

* Dominik Hasek (Blackhawks, Sabres)

Male athlete of the decade

* Mark McGwire (Athletics, Cardinals)

* Michael Jordan (Bulls)

* Pete Sampras (tennis)

* Jerry Rice (49ers)

* Mario Lemieux (Penguins)

Source Citation

Source Citation   (MLA 8th Edition)
Caesar, Dan. "RAMS ARE CONTENDING FOR ESPY AWARDS." St. Louis Post-Dispatch [St. Louis, MO], 14 Feb. 2000, p. C8. Gale OneFile: News, https%3A%2F%2Flink.gale.com%2Fapps%2Fdoc%2FA59447739%2FGPS%3Fu%3Dwikipedia%26sid%3DGPS%26xid%3D6a4fb27d. Accessed 22 Aug. 2019.

Gale Document Number: GALE|A59447739