Super Bowl With a Smirk bids farewell with our last of five daily columns needling the self-important NFL and the excess and gravitas of its big game.
You know Super Bowl Week is winding down and the game is finally near when the official parties kick in.
The 26th annual Taste of the NFL, a “Party With a Purpose” fundraiser, happens Saturday night at the University of Houston with dishes by chefs representing every league city.
Featured on the tony menu this year: Atlanta’s Roasted Quail, Parsnips, Onion Soubise and Cranberry Agrodolce vs. New England’s Cavatelli, Housemade Sausage, Butternut Squash and Shaved Truffle Butter.
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Obvious edge there to Atlanta. I mean, who doesn’t love soubise and agrodolce!?
In case you wondered, Miami, last in a Super Bowl 32 years ago, will be represented on the menu by Stone Crab Bisque and Rum-Glazed Bacon with a Glaze of Dolfan Tears.
Let’s hope there is no controversy at Saturday’s Taste of the NFL like there was last year, when the chef representing the Patriots was kicked out for intentionally deflating other chefs’ souffles.
▪ Maxim, Rolling Stone and Playboy will be among other major party hosts as a bevy of rented women and once-famous hip-hop stars make the rounds. Taylor Swift is hosting a “Super Saturday Night” party and can be expected to act all surprised to be there.
▪ Smirk culled through a stack of his exclusive A-list invites to celebrity soirees and chose to attend a Super Bowl party being hosted by the estranged second cousin of Gloria Estefan’s former gardener.
▪ Hall of Fame voters met Friday in the Bob Kuechenberg Disappointment Room to decide which new inductees will be announced Saturday. LaDainian Tomlinson is the only absolute for Canton, but ex-Dolphin Jason Taylor has a good shot. Should we expect a Tweet from President Trump that the election was rigged?
▪ Keegan-Michael Key (of Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele”) hosts the NFL Honors awards show Saturday, with winners announced in 16 categories including league MVP — likely Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. Could be a shutout for Dolphins, although Cam Wake has a shot at Comeback Player of the Year. Miami also is a finalist for the Kaepernick Cup for anthem kneeling.
▪ Fox, ESPN and NFL Network are girding for pregame shows that will last longer than the game itself. ESPN’s pregame will include a 13-minute segment on how Wilson footballs are made. No, seriously. What they might not tell you: all of the footballs to be used on Sunday required the hides of 22 cows, one of them a cherished doe-eyed Guernsey named Lulu.
▪ ESPN’s pregame also will feature a tribute to Chris Berman on his final major workday before the network shoves him unceremoniously into awkward semi-retirement.
▪ The National Chicken Council says the estimated 1.3 billion chicken wings eaten on Sunday will weigh 1.7 million pounds or 300 times the combined weight of the 32 NFL teams, surprising analysts who were unaware there was a National Chicken Council.
▪ The annual NFL Foundation Super Bowl golf tournament was held Friday as dozens of former players drove the course loudly griping about their various ailments and lack of benefits.
▪ Acara, an orangutan at Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City, has predicted a Falcons victory.
▪ There was a brawl on Sad, Sad Radio Row at the SB Media Center on Friday when producers for rival Bangor, Maine, radio stations got into a kickfight over first dibs on Patriots backup long-sapper Tug McGillicutty.
▪ Finally, our parting Super Bowl Party Tip du Jour: Why do what every other party in America is doing? As the Falcons and Patriots are lining up for the opening kickoff and the din of your guests reaches an excited pitch, abruptly switch the channel from the game to “A Madea Christmas” airing on BET.