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Tampa Bay Connection: Tyrone Keys

Written by Joey Johnston, The Tampa Tribune - Monday, 02 February 2009

With Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa this week, the Tribune takes a daily look at the memories of a past Super Bowl participant with roots in the Tampa Bay area: Tyrone Keys.

Past And Present

* NFL Career: Defensive lineman with the Chicago Bears (1983-85), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1986-87) and San Diego Chargers (1988).

* Glory Days: As a two-time All-SEC selection at Mississippi State, Keys was involved in perhaps the most famous game in school history. In 1980, the Bulldogs defeated No. 1-ranked Alabama 6-3, ending the Crimson Tide's 28-game winning streak. With Alabama on MSU's 4-yard line and less than 10 seconds remaining, Keys burst through the line, smashed into Tide quarterback Don Jacobs and forced a fumble, which was recovered by Billy Jackson.

* Current Position: Executive Director, All Sports Community Service, a Tampa-based company Keys founded in 1993. All Sports gets young people involved in community service, then, in turn, helps them with college placement and athletic scholarships.

Super Bowl Experience

* Super Bowl XX at New Orleans (Bears 46, Patriots 10) - Keys was a swingman on the defensive line for Chicago's defense, considered one of the best in NFL history.

Three Questions Everybody remembers:

That song, the "Super Bowl Shuffle." What was your role? "I was on keyboard. I had a background playing the piano, so if you watch, it actually looks like I know what I'm doing. We recorded that after losing to the Dolphins, Chicago's only defeat in an 18-1 season. Nobody had done anything like that before, talking about winning the Super Bowl six weeks before the fact. But it caught on. It took Chicago by storm. The song went platinum. We heard it all over Bourbon Street the week before the game. Some people thought we were arrogant to do that song, but I remember one of the lyrics that Walter Payton sang: 'We're not doing this to be greedy, we're here to feed the needy.' The money went to charity."

How good was that Bears defense? "One of the best ever, no question. We've seen other great ones, like the Tampa Bay Bucs and Baltimore Ravens. But we were relentless. We had a bunch of characters who could back it up on the field. We had the song 'Super Bowl Shuffle.' We came into the Super Bowl with two postseason shutouts. Sometimes, it was just scary."

Besides the game, what are your biggest memories from that week? "I was going back home, playing about 90 minutes from where I grew up Jackson, Miss. We stayed at the Hilton and, in fact, my cousin Connie Keys was the front-desk clerk. I roomed with Richard Dent, and the morning of the game, he woke up and said, 'Man, I just dreamed I won the MVP.' Then he did win it. All of it is still very fresh in my mind."