By DENNIS DAILY, United Press International  |  Jan. 27, 2003 at 2:00 PM
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Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden has not only won the Super Bowl, he's entered the ranks of the league's "coaching elite." The NFL's official Web site,, notes Gruden had tried all week to convince visiting media Super Bowl XXXVII was not about him. When the final whistle blew, it was not only the media, but fans, who knew he was wrong. It was Gruden who had the unenviable job of leading his new team against his old team. Many pundits say Gruden, still young by coaching standards at 39, already has endeared himself to so many there's no question he eventually will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay fans are thrilled, preparing for victory celebrations. Oakland fans are justifiably disappointed, gloomy and boisterous. Luckily the game was a good one. Had it not been, the only real thrills would have been Celine Dion's low-key rendition of "God Bless America," minus the Kate Smith-esque high notes at the end -- which she was perfectly capable of hitting -- and the Dixie Chicks great arrangement of the national anthem prior to the game.


TV personality Regis Philbin is headed back to Las Vegas to do stand-up and host a musical revue. The MGM Grand Hotel says Philbin, who has hosted his "Live" show for years and more recently his immensely popular "Millionaire" game show, will be backed up by a 22-piece orchestra. Philbin is being given the "star" treatment by the MGM. Tickets for his two-night stand have been placed in the $70 range. His popular morning network television show, now called "Live with Regis and Kelly," is in its 15th season. Along the way he's won Emmys and worn a variety of hats in television and radio. Lainie Kazan will lead off the two shows with a singing revue. During part of each show Philbin will invite members of the audience to join him on stage. By the way, one of the newest slot machines in Las Vegas feature Regis and his "Column of Cash."


Newly married couple, ice skater Scott Hamilton and his bride Tracie Robinson, say they are expecting their first child. In a release from Hamilton's publicist, the Olympic champion says the announcement was made at a post-wedding reception party. It was a private affair, attended by nearly 200 invited family and guests. Before announcing Mrs. Hamilton was "in a family way," the skater read a special poem to the guests. It was dedicated to longtime friend William Shatner. By the way, the guest list for the party read like a "who's who" in international skating and sports. Among those there were: Kristi Yamaguchi, Tai Babilonia, Steven Cousins, Bart Conner, Nadia Comanechi, Mitch Gaylord, Bruce Jenner and Kevin Sorbo. Hamilton is 44; his bride is 33.


Nashville recording artist Sara Evans is a mom for the second time. The RCA star and CMA award winner's new baby weighed in at more than 7 1/2 pounds and measured 20 inches. Evans and her husband named the baby Olivia Margaret Scheiske. CMT says when the couple's other child, Avery, was first shown his new baby sister, proud daddy Craig videotaped the encounter. Avery's comment: "She has cute toes." Sara and her husband decided not to seek information on the child's gender prior to her birth. They followed the same procedure prior to the birth of their first child.


Police on Long Island confirm singer Billy Joel was sent to a hospital over the weekend after crashing his car into a tree. Joel's late-model Mercedes went out of control on a winding, infamous New York State highway. He was apparently alone in the car at the time. No information has been released on whether or not Joel was under the influence of any drug at the time. The New York Post goes so far as to call Joel the "miracle man" because of his escape from what could have been a fatal wreck. The mishap occurred on a stretch of the road often called "Dead Man's Curve" by Long Islanders. The publication says supermodel Christie Brinkley, Joel's former wife, went to the scene to take photos of the crumpled car. Neighbors tell the publication by the looks of the tree and the skidmarks on the pavement, Joel only sideswiped the tree. A head-on at the speed at which he was traveling could been disastrous. The singer, now 53, was treated and released from the hospital over the weekend.


Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., has undergone surgery a month after a skiing accident on the slopes at Aspen. According to published reports, Lautenberg, 79, underwent about an hour's worth of surgery at a New York City clinic. Fluid was drained from the impact area on his skull. He suffered what can best be described, in laymen's terms, as bruises inside the skull. Lautenberg is no stranger to the slopes. He's been an avid skier since he was in his 20s. Luckily he was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident or things might have been worse. At the time he thought the injury was slight and continued to ski. It only was after returning to the East Coast, and with the passage of time, that he elected to check himself into the hospital and undergo the treatment.


Here's today's question. It was suggested by a former "friend" of mine, Mr. Pups: "Have you ever had an imaginary playmate?" Put IMAGINE in the subject line and send to via the Internet.


Last week we asked how you deal with the increasing flood of Internet "spam." From a very random dip into the e-mail inbox, here are some of your replies: Several people noted that since they have multiple mailbox names, the number of e-mail messages they get relates to the number of mailboxes they have. JimmyW says he successfully uses the Message Rules function of Outlook Express to send unwanted mail directly to his "delete" box. He also says he automatically has all mail with attachments sent to "delete" first. MandyS says she uses a "Spaminator" function that is provided by her Internet service provider. Additionally, several noted that ad-stopping protocols are very useful. Most agreed that even if you do the "unsubscribe" thing with e-mail, it seldom stops the flood. TOMORROW: Inventing more cable channels.

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