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Steelers, Raiders dominate Super Bowl 25th Anniversary team

TAMPA, Fla. -- Gene Upshaw has always savored the moments following the Oakland Raiders' victory in Super Bowl XV.

'I knew my playing days were about over and I really wanted to appreciate how lucky I had been to playing in three of the games,' said Upshaw who Thursday was one of 27 players honored as members of the 25th anniversary Super Bowl team.

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'I didn't want to leave the locker room after the game was over. I just kept wanting to soak all the feelings in,' he said. 'Al Davis and I were the last two guys to leave the locker room and I still can cherish those moments.

'I'm proud of the fact that I'm the only person who has played in Super Bowl's in three decades. My first one was as a rookie in Super Bowl II. We were in awe of the Packers and really were not ready to play. The next two times in the game we were prepared and won.'

The 25th anniversary team, chosen by fans from around the country, attended a reception Thursday night.

The four-time World Champion Pittsburgh Steelers dominated the team with nine members. Pittsburgh's 'Steel Curtain' defense is represented by defensive tackle Joe Greene, linebackers Jack Lambert and Jack Ham, defensive end L.C. Greenwood, cornerback Mel Blount and safety Donnie Shell. The offensive Steelers are running back Franco Harris, wide receiver Lynn Swann, and center Mike Webster.

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The Steelers seemed as close-knit at the Anniversary team's photo seesion as they did in the 70s when they dominated the NFL.

Blount had his bald head patted by Greenwood and Green pretended to slap around Swann.

'There's no doubt when you have respect and get along with your teammates it helps you win,' said Blount. 'There were so many guys doing their jobs, it was easy to pull for each other. I guess that's one reason we had nine members make the team.'

The Raiders franchise placed eight players on the team, tackle Art Shell, Upshaw, linebacker Ted Hendricks, tight end Dave Casper and punter Ray Guy.

The San Francisco 49ers, who captured four Super Bowl titles in the past nine year, were represented by quarterback Joe Montana, wide receiver Jerry Rice, cornerback Ronnie Lott and kick returner John Taylor.

Legendary Coach Vince Lombardi of Green Bay was selected as the team's coach as were three of his players, tackle Forrest Gregg, safety Willie Wood and guard Jerry Kramer.

The remainder of the team: defensive tackles Ed 'Too Tall' Jones and Randy White of the Dallas Cowboys, linebacker Mike Singletary of the Chicago Bears, place kicker Jan Stenerud of the Kansas City Chiefs and running back Larry Csonka of the Miami Dolphins.

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Gregg, who played on the Packers' two World Championship teams and with Dallas in Super Bowl VI, later coached the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl XVI.

'I've never seen us more prepared for a game that for the first game against the Chiefs,' Gregg said. 'Coach Lombardi preached to us the importance of the game and naturally we wanted to prove we had the better league. We had never seen the Chiefs before but we soon became aware of them. We saw more film for that game that any other I can remember. We played very well in thst game to win and then the next year we had more confidence when we beat the Raiders.'

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