Super Bowl With a Smirk is melancholy to deliver its fifth and final daily needling jab at the self-important NFL and the oversized gravitas of its big game. Flying under the banner, “Make Fun, Not War,” Smirk is an annual Super Bowl Week feature in the Miami Herald except years we forget to do it.
The eighth annual “NFL Honors” event, happening Saturday night at Atlanta’s famed Fox Theater, has grown to be the most anticipated appetizer to Super Bowl on Sunday. This is the league’s awards gala, with announcements led by the season’s league MVP winner and 2019 inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The event will be hosted by Steve Harvey.
Wait. Uh oh.
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Smirk is very concerned that Harvey will mean to say that Patrick Mahomes or perhaps Drew Brees is the MVP but instead will inadvertently announce the winner as Miss Colombia — just like he did in 2016 in infamously crowning the wrong Miss Universe.
Come to think of it I don’t trust Hall voters, either, to get the Canton inductees right — not after they failed yet again to even make Dolphins great Zach Thomas a finalist.
The 18 finalists who do have a shot to be the four to eight chosen include only two certain selections in safety Ed Reed, the former Miami Hurricane, and tight end Tony Gonzalez. Although I’d put cornerback Champ Bailey just a notch below and call him very likely for selection.
Then it gets muddy.
I’m going to say three others get in — tackle Tony Boselli, receiver Isaac Bruce (born in Fort Lauderdale) and guard Alan Faneca — but they’re all close calls.
So is ex-Canes running back Edgerrin James, who I’d bet just misses.
Most of the others have less chance to hear their name called Saturday than Miss Colombia.
▪ The winning team’s coach and MVP will appear Monday morning at a news conference. The location has not yet been announced because Belichick and Brady are still deciding where they’d like it to be.
▪ Also Monday will be the Super Bowl “Handoff Ceremony,” at which Atlanta will cede responsibility to Miami, next year’s host city. CBS rules-expert Gene Steratore will be on hand for analysis in the event the handoff is fumbled.
▪ The 28th annual “Taste of the NFL” is Saturday night at Cobb Galleria, with chefs from all 32 league cities. Featured this year: The Patriots chef’s “Handmade Basil Cavatelli, Davio’s Sausage and Butternut Squash with Lemon Butter” vs. the Rams chef’s “Crisp California Lamb Belly, Heirloom Beans and Herb Salad with Pecorino and Aged Balsamic.”
Not sure what Saints dish is on the menu, but it’ll be bitter. Hearing Miami’s plate will include the traditional Glaze of Dolfan Tears. Smirk just hopes there’s no controversy like three years ago, when the Patriots chef was caught intentionally deflating other chef’s souffles.
▪ As always, Super Bowl parties are as popular as the game itself, according to professional party planners. Party performers around Atlanta this week include Diplo, Lil Yachty, Tiesto, Diddy, Ludacris, Jeezy, Future, Meek Mill and Fabolous. Are those actual names? Of people? Whatever happened to men named Bob and Ed?
▪ Smirk culled through all of his A-list party invites and settled on one being hosted by the estranged ex-manager of Carrot Top, featuring as guest DJ a profusely sweating Chris Berman.
▪ CBS, which will air Sunday’s game, is girding for a marathon 7-hour pregame show in which Tony Romo will uncannily predict exactly what will happen next. One segment will be a feature on how Wilson makes footballs. What they won’t tell you: The football being kicked off Sunday once was the hide of a doe-eyed midwest Guernsey named Bella.
▪ California (13.2 percent of total) and Massachusetts (12.9 percent) understandably lead all U.S. states in Super Bowl tickets bought, says Ticketmaster’s Greg Economou, while Florida leads all southern states with 8.3%. Smirk doesn’t care about any of that, but finds fascinating that a spokesman for Ticketmaster is named “Economou.”
▪ On Friday’s show Ellen DeGeneres predicted who’d win the Super Bowl by which Grubhub delivered to the studio first: Patriots Boston baked beans or Rams avocado toast. So everybody’s outta material, folks.
▪ Acara, an orangutan at Salt Lake City’s Hogle Zoo, predicts a Patriots win. The betting line jumped sharply at the news as thousands of gamblers were struck by the realization they know no more than an orangutan.
▪ Almost forgot: Team Ruff is a 1-2 betting favorite over Team Fluff to win the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet, answering the question, “Can you bet on absolutely anything?”
▪ The Wall Street Super Bowl Indicator, accurate 78 percent of the time, holds that market dips whenever the AFC team wins. Or, whenever President Trump tweets anything 3 a.m.
▪ And finally, our closing Super Bowl Party Tip du Jour: Surprise your friends who show up expecting the big game on TV by instead presenting a somberly enlightening symposium and Q&A on the debilitating effects of football-related brain trauma.