The NFL announced today that the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys have been selected to play in the 32nd annual Frito-Lay Super Bowl in Miami later this month.

Both teams came from behind in the polls, leap-frogging the Vikings and Broncos, who, after dominating the league most of the year, closed the season with mediocre showings."The Jets and Cowboys were the hot teams at the end of the year," said Super Bowl official Johnny "Guy" Shyster, a member of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. "Yeah, they lost a few games, but they were early in the year. And both of them have marquee names, which will guarantee high TV ratings."

The Vikings beat a mediocre Tennessee team only 26-16 in their regular-season finale, and, similarly, the Broncos, who lost two of their last three games, struggled to beat a so-so Seattle team 28-21. Thus, the Jets and Cowboys vaulted over them to finish 1-2 in the polls. The Jets beat the Patriots 31-0 and the Cowboys beat Washington 23-7 to impress voters.

Meanwhile, the NFL announced the pairings in the other bowl games: The 49ers will meet the Falcons in the Bowl and the Vikings and Broncos will tangle in the Toro Mulching Lawn Mower Bowl.

The Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins will play in the Wall Mart Also-Ran Bowl, and the Bills and Giants will meet in the Eljer Toilet Bowl. The Steelers and Buccaneers will play in the SLOC Humanitarian Aid Bowl.

"We're happy to be in the Toro Mulching Lawn Mower Bowl, but I think we can make an argument that we're one of the top two," said Vikings coach Dennis Green. "We should be in the Frito-Lay Super Bowl. We were No. 1 for nine straight weeks."

The Broncos also felt cheated. "It's not if you stub your toe, but when," said quarterback John Elway. "I wish we had had our two losses at the start of the season."

The bowl invitations brought the usual surprises and disappointments and are sure to spark another debate about the need for a playoff system. "The Cowboys didn't play anyone," said one disgruntled coach. "They played a weak schedule."

The Cowboys lost six games and feasted on weak East Division opponents, but their legendary name -- America's Team -- helped secure a berth in the Super Bowl. The Jets lost four games, but their New York roots guaranteed media interest and high TV ratings for the Super Bowl.

The Green Bay Packers did not get a bowl bid despite winning 11 games. They are from a small media market, and bowl officials worried they wouldn't draw well or attract national interest.

"I think we should be in a bowl somewhere," said Coach Mike Holmgren.

The Packers were edged out by the Steelers, who, after a fast start, lost six of their last seven games to finish 7-9. "But their fans always travel well. They'll buy up tickets," said SLOC Humanitarian Aid Bowl official Bob Huckster, sporting a teal sport coat with a nifty crest on the pocket.

The Steelers lost their last game of the season, but the bowl invitations had already been offered by then.

The Giants also were only 8-8, but, like the Jets, they're from the nation's media capital. The Buccaneers also won a bowl berth with an 8-8 record. "Nice uniforms," said SLOC Humanitarian Aid Bowl official Bucky Shiller.

An argument could have been made for putting the Falcons in a major bowl, but they were denied despite their sterling 14-2 record. Asked how this could have happened, an NFL official said, "Search me."

That's because the poll/bowl ratings were determined by the BCS mathematical formula, which is understood only by a consortium of computer geeks, the same people who invented the pass efficiency formula and the 1040 long form. According to the geeks, it's a simple four-step process:

1. Add a team's rankings in both polls, divide it by the square root, times denominator, subtract the coefficient, plus denominator, carry your variables, plus X-squared, times the exponent, plus zero, divided by the hypotenuse, plus the Pythagorean theorem.

2. The average of three computer rankings, with a 50 percent adjusted deviation factor as a safety net, just in case somebody did No. 1 wrong.

3. The strength of schedule, which takes into account the won-lost record of a team's opponents and the records of the opponents' opponents, if you follow. For example, say San Francisco loses to Green Bay, then every time San Francisco wins it helps Minnesota's computer rankings because Minnesota beat Green Bay. The opponents' won-lost record comprises two-thirds of the mark, and the opponents' opponents' record counts one-third. Then divide by 25 and add the denominator.

4. Team record: Each loss counts as one point, multiplied by 2y + 3x-squared.

"So simple!" said Shyster. "And it saves the hassle of having playoffs."