June 04, 1998 12:00 AM

An estimated 800 million viewers worldwide are expected to tune into Super Bowl XXXV on Jan. 28, but if Sting weren’t appearing at football’s game of games pre-show (performing “Desert Rose” and “Roxanne,” he says), he might not have be one of them. “I know how important the Super Bowl is to you,” the British star, 49, tells PEOPLE in its new issue, “but I’m a soccer fan.” He also brings an overseas perspective to the Supercharged American event. “It’s a surreal gig,” he says. “It’s like playing this huge frat party.” Surreal was also the sensation for ex-New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms, who began a Super Bowl tradition in 1987 when he was the first player to say for a TV commercial crew after winning the game, “I’m going to Disney World!” Simms, 45, told PEOPLE that he nearly ended this tradition before it began. “I thought, you’re jinxing yourself, to be talking before the game about doing a commercial AFTER it if you win.” But his agent prevailed, and then, Simms recalled, the Disney crew jumped right on him just as the game ended. “I’m going across the field to congratulate the Broncos, and they tap me on the shoulder,” he remembered. “I’ve never had a smile that big in my life.”

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