John McGrath

John McGrath: Rare meeting of Super Bowl participants, but it’s no rematch

Column as I see ’em ...

•  I keep hearing how the Seahawks and Denver Broncos are preparing for a Super Bowl rematch.

Wrong. The game scheduled Sunday at CenturyLink Field involves the two teams that met in the most recent Super Bowl, but the rosters are different, the venue is different, and oh — this just in — the stakes are different.

The closest version of Super Bowl rematch, it seems to me, was Super Bowl XXVIII, in 1994. That’s when the Dallas Cowboys beat the Buffalo Bills, 30-13, a year after the Cowboys’ 52-17 of demolition of the Bills in Super Bowl XXVII.

•  Semantics aside, regular-season games between teams that competed in the previous season’s Super Bowl are surprisingly rare. When the Seahawks take on the Broncos at Century Link Field, it’ll be the sixth such meeting in NFL history — and the first since Green Bay beat New England in 1997.

•  Let’s hope the, um, not-really-a-rematch gives us something to talk about, because we’ll have lots of time to talk. A Week 4 bye date is next on Seattle’s schedule, which means the Seahawks won’t play again until Oct. 6, at Washington.

Put another way: Between the Hawks’ Sept. 4 opener and their fourth game of the season, the Mariners will have played at least 23 times and possibly as many as 28, if they advance (fingers crossed here) past the Sept. 30 wild-card contest and into the best-of-five AL Division Series.

•  Georgia State, the Washington Huskies opponent Saturday, is a commuter school located near downtown Atlanta. I’ve never seen the Panthers play football, but in 1983, I covered a Georgia State basketball game at North Carolina.

A 10-year old program that had produced one winning season on the court, Georgia State entertained aspirations of someday going big time — the way it does now with football — and the Panthers were willing to travel for the opportunity to get their clocks cleaned by the likes of the defending-NCAA champion Tar Heels.

I remember little about Georgia State’s visit to North Carolina except the scene in Carmichael Gym, a basketball palace that used a catwalk, elevated over the floor, for press row. (Best seat I’ve ever occupied for a sporting event.)

I also remember that at the conclusion of the 99-55 drubbing, a Georgia State player asked me if I had an extra pen and a few pieces of paper. Seems he wanted the autographs of Michael Jordan and Sam Perkins.

I thought it was kind of funny and maybe even pathetic — a college player literally was in awe of the other team — but 41 years later, I’m presuming those autographs look pretty cool in a frame.

Jordan was only a sophomore that season, long before he’d become an internationally recognized brand name, but at least one Georgia State kid sensed greatness in the air.

•  Here’s hoping former Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Kent Tekulve is doing well after his recent heart-transplant surgery. The old heart was legendary.

Relievers nowadays swagger in from the bullpen with their own entrance music, usually some heavy-metal noise associated with power and intimidation. Tekulve might’ve been the least intimidating pitcher ever to stand on a mound.

Listed at 6 feet 4 and 180 pounds, “Teke” appeared closer to 6-4 and 130. He wore tinted glasses that suggested he was an academic whiz more adept at conducting a Bunsen burner experiment in science class than delivering heat in baseball games.

But the submarine pitch he threw with that spindly right arm was money for the Pirates. During a 1979 World Series, the Bucs won in seven games, Tekulve made five finishing appearances, four of which found him entering before the ninth inning.

The specific role of “closer” had yet to be defined in 1979. Late-inning situation match-ups were not mandatory. If Tekulve was given the ball in the seventh inning or eighth inning, he kept the ball.

Tekulve’s reputation extended beyond that of a tireless workhorse. He was a fan favorite who remains popular as a color commentator on Pittsburgh’s broadcasting crew.

•  Is there a more talented actor working right now than Bryan Cranston? Acclaimed for his compelling portrayal of Walter White, the high-school chemistry teacher turned ruthless meth cooker in “Breaking Bad,” Cranston’s passion for the theater is rivaled only by his passion for baseball.

Cranston has combined the two loves of life in an inspired, crazy-good promo for TBS, which will televise the AL playoffs. Walter White is a tough act to follow, but Cranston, as usual, answers the challenge — and then some.

•  Speaking of tough acts to follow: Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner, has managed to become a more obnoxious nuisance than former Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner.

I almost feel sorry for Manziel. Seemingly determined to be recalled as the Heisman Foundation’s ultimate antihero, his penchant for wrong-place-at-the-wrong-

time visibility has been reduced to a footnote.

Sorry, Johnny Football. When it comes to college football stars behaving like jerks, you’re No. 2.