Wed, Feb 1, 2012 09:49 AM
Four years after New York stunned previously undefeated New
England in Super Bowl XLII, the Patriots and Giants meet again.
Okay, let's get this out of the way. The "L" stands for 50; the
"X" stands for 10. When the "X" is placed before the L, it means 50
minus 10, or 40. When it's after the "L" it means 50 plus 10, or
60, but we're still XIV years away from that. And when the "I"
comes before the "V", it means 4, after means 6. All together, they
mean 46. Got it? Good. Now, let's move on. In only IV years, we'll
get to watch Super Bowl L. That's going to pose a real challenge to
the poor graphic-weenies whose task it is to make "L" look exciting
and dramatic. Good luck with that.
How it became Super
The first Super Bowl wasn't even called the Super Bowl at all. It
was called… wait for it… THE AFL-NFL CHAMPIONSHIP! (Crickets
chirping) Yeah, that's what everyone else thought, too,
Rumor has it that one of the team owners was watching his kid play
with a Super Ball when the light of inspiration shone upon him.
What's a Super Ball? It's a very elastic synthetic rubber compound
that - oh, forget it; you're too young to remember. Anyway, it's
far more likely that this tale was a fabrication to make a younger
audience think all those septuagenarian owners were really hep
cats. What's a hep cat? Exactly.
It was probably some sports reporter who'd covered a hundred
college "Bowl" games, and concluded that the final game of the
season should logically be called "super," and thus, the Super Bowl
was born. Whatever.
After a shaky start, the much-ballyhooed "Big Game" was saved from
oblivion by the antics of the New York Jets' quarterback, "Broadway
Joe" Namath, and the Super Bowl was well on it's way to becoming an
event akin to the Second Coming.
THIS YEAR'S REMATCH
If you've been living under a rock in Lower Slobbovia, the
contestants this year are the New England Patriots, led by Tom
Brady, versus the New York Giants led by Eli Manning. The two teams
will wear the same colors they wore in their previous meeting.
Players and fans alike are a superstitious lot, and many believe
that road whites have been magically fortuitous for Eli Manning
& Company, so that's the fashion statement you can expect from
the New Jack City boys. The Pats are still smarting from the loss
they suffered at the hands of the Giants, but rumors that they
might wear uniforms the color of Giant's blood are greatly
exaggerated. I think.
New England, which lost to New York 24-20 in early November,
opened as a 3-point favorite for the Feb. 5 game. With 10 straight
wins the Patriots, seem to have momentum. But their last loss was
to the Giants.
It's the Patriots' first appearance since Manning and the Giants
upset New England's pursuit of perfection in 2008. Back then, New
England was a 12-point favorite, but New York's defense battered
Brady, and Manning connected with Plaxico Burress on a late
touchdown to win the Giants' third Super Bowl in franchize
The Patriots are playing in the Super Bowl for the fifth time in
11 years. Their most recent championship being in 2005.
Tickets to the first Super Bowl in 1966 cost a whopping $12, and
most of them went unsold. Now a ticket for a seat behind a steel
girder in the nose-bleed section costs a year's salary, if you can
find one at all. Most Super Bowl tickets are reserved years in
advance by people who make more money in a minute than most make in
a year. Their tailgate parties are catered by celebrity chefs whose
engraved menus feature hors d'oeuvres made of endangered species,
like fois gras from the liver of the last rhinoceros in Africa.
(Maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea.)
So even if you can't afford the price of a parking space at
Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium, you can still have one hell of a
tailgate party, and have a better view of the game than most of the
people actually in the stadium. It takes a little advance planning,
but that's half the fun, right? And you can take it as far as you
like, festooning your living room with Super Bowl-themed
decorations. A friend of mine has his living room painted in the
team colors of his favorite NFL franchise. They played the Patriots
in the Super Bowl a while back, and got their tail feathers handed
Now you're not going to have to contend with the cold fingers and
wet feet that come with the foul weather, which is pretty much a
given February in Indiana. But beware of headaches. A little
forethought in preparing snacks and finger food will save you from
major clean up efforts after the festivities. And if your party
includes the consumption of vast quantities of beer, planning ahead
is essential. Here's a hint from an old pro: Take three Advil (or
whatever brand you prefer) before you go to bed. And, most
importantly, make sure there are designated drivers to get
everybody home in one piece.
Back to the party. All agree that the most important part of a
Super Bowl party is the football game. In the best of all possible
worlds, you'd have a lavishly appointed man-cave featuring a
10-foot hi-def stereo home theater Jumbo-Tron with plush recliners
for every guest, endless kegs of beer, and all the fatty, high
cholesterol foods your wife won't let you eat-A man can
Food and beverage:
Here are three of my top suggestions:
1) By local! There are Vermont micro-breweries that produce
2) Use paper plates and line your baking sheets with foil.
3) Offer the least sloppy food possible. Folks want to watch the
game while they're eating, not watch what they're eating while
they're missing the game so as not to spill on the furniture or
rugs. The worst offender are Buffalo wings, which presents a major
problem as they are a staple at tallgates and your party will not
be complete without them.
Here are a few quick and easy recipes for crispy, non-drippy
(expect for the dips) tallgate foods:
Pre-heat oven to 400º. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking
spray or foil (use as many sheets as you can cram into your oven if
you are feeding a mob. With multiple sheets increase the
temperature to 425º.)
Make sure wings are defrosted and dry. The recipe calls for
skinless wings, but it's the Super Bowl, so you can throw caution
to the winds and leave the skin on, if you must.
Fill a 1-gallon Zip-lock bag half way with about 12-16 oz. of
chicken wings (Gotta leave room for them to move). Add a packet of
taco seasoning, and shake those babies! Repeat as often as
necessary to accommodate the number of guests you have. Remember:
Too many is better than too few! (That only goes for supply, not
consumption! Yeah. Right.)
Transfer wings to baking sheet. Bake until cooked through, about
18 to 20 minutes.
Serve with low-fat bleu cheese dressing as a dip, and baby carrot
sticks and celery on the side.
Pre-heat oven to 450º
Peel a sweet potato. Cut length-wise into nice hefty, but not too
In a large bowl, mix 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4
tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. ground cumin, 1 tsp. smoked paprika. (Double
quantities for two potatoes, or as needed.)
Mix in potato strips until they're well-covered.
Transfer to cooking-sprayed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
These are great alone, but pretty good with a bleu cheese dip,
Pre-heat oven to 450º. Spray two large baking sheets with
Cut 2 large sweet Vidalia onions into rings about 1/2" wide.
Put 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour in a Zip-lock bag. Whisk 1 cup
low-fat buttermilk, salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl. Combine 1/2
cup plain bread crumbs with 1/2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning in a large
Add a few onion rings at a time in flour and shake to coat. Dip
rings in buttermilk mixture, then coat with bread crumbs. Transfer
coated rings to baking sheets. Bake until golden crispy, about 20
Peel, pit, and chop two avocados into 1/2" chunks, them mash them
coarsely in a medium-sized bowl. Add 1/3 of a cup of fat-free
salsa; mild, medium, or hot, according to your taste, 3 tablespoons
of chopped fresh cilantro, 2 teaspoons of lime juice, 1/8 tsp. of
cumin, and 1/8 tsp. of salt.
If you're not going to serve it right away, press plastic wrap
directly onto the surface of the guacamole to keep it from turning
brown. You can refrigerate it for up to 4 hours. You can double,
triple, or fourple these recipes, depending the number of fans you
have to fill.
Those are the gotta-have-'em essentials for a Super Bowl party,
and guess what? They're all WeightWatchers®-approved recipes! They
taste great, and they won't clog your arteries (as fast.) It's a
win-win! Enjoy this "win" during the game, because once it's over,
one team will walking off the field heads down and fans cursing
while the other is crowned XLVI Super Bowl Champion.