Super Bowl If You Don't Know Football from Meatball

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A short essay on the importance of Super Bowl, rating its Quarterbacks, and a successful pasta recipe

Submitted: February 02, 2014

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Submitted: February 02, 2014

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Sunday, the Third day of February 2014.  Super Bowl Sunday

For those of you who may not know the game of Football and cannot understand or tolerate the fact that the import of this single game is measured in the billions of dollars and fail to see why it captures the attention of hundreds of millions of people worldwide:

This is a special Sunday in America.  Super Bowl.  The XLVIII Super Bowl.  The 48th Super Bowl game. 2014

To be played outside in a stadium in New Jersey by and between the Denver Broncos team, owned by Mr. Patrick Bowlen, heavily aided by the taxpayers of the Denver Metropolitan area; and by the Seattle Seahawks, owned by Microsoft co-founder Mr. Paul Allen, whose $194 million investment made in 1997, abetted by the taxpayers of the Seattle area, now hovers over a billion dollars in worth, to go along with the fourteen or so billion dollars in assets Mr. Allen already owns.  Mr. Bowlen is significantly less wealthy, but his team sells out every game at home, and it, too, has risen greatly in value over the years.  

The teams make their homes in Denver, Colorado and Seattle, Washington, but they are playing in a place, the New York City Metropolitan area, specifically in New Jersey, where the audience is larger than at either team’s home. The audience may be, because so many will be watching the game on television, the largest ever to see any event in the history of the planet.  

The teams have each proven, over a long season of play, to have superior attributes.  This is a game between two extremely talented football teams, which may be very closely matched.  The betting spread is only 2 1/2 points in favor of the Denver team.  

The winter weather in New Jersey has dissipated and temperatures are expected to be mild and the day without significant wind.  The football should be easy to carry, to throw, and to catch, but for intervention of the opposing players and the referees.  A subtle but important distinction between the teams may be that no one on the Seattle Seahawks has ever played in a Super Bowl.  A number of Denver Broncos have.

The Denver Broncos team has shown the best offense in professional football by virtue of the yards gained in running and passing the ball.The Seattle Seahawks demonstrated the best defense by virtue of limiting their opposing team’s running and passing of the ball better than any other team playing in either of the two divisions of the National Football League during the 2013-2014 season.

The record of the Denver Broncos for offense would indicate that may be the best offensive team ever assembled. The Denver Broncos scored 606 points and Peyton Manning passed or ran for 56 touchdowns before this Super Bowl game, both NFL records.

The Broncos are led, on the field, by a player whose family is historically and presently prominent in American football.  Peyton Manning’s father, Archie Manning, became a professional football player after his youth in Louisiana, and Peyton’s younger brother, Eli, is also a professional football player, playing the same position for his team, the New York Giants, that his older brother, Peyton, plays for the Denver Broncos.  Peyton Manning’s passes for 56 touchdowns in this past season surpasses the performance of any other Quarterback in history by five touchdowns.

There is some controversy in America as to who might be the best Quarterback to have ever played the game of football.  Peyton Manning is generally viewed, before this game, among the top five or six Quarterbacks to have played the game.  He is one of two currently active Quarterbacks to be so touted, the other being Tom Brady, who plays for the New England Patriots.

The Denver Broncos have the distinct advantage of having, as their Vice President and Director of Football Operations, another of those who are regarded as the best of all Quarterbacks, John Elway, who played for the Denver Broncos for his entire seventeen year career, and whose father, Jack Elway, was the Head Coach of the Stanford University Cardinal football team during the time John Elway played football at Stanford University.

The other players mentioned with Peyton Manning and John Elway as being among the greatest to have played the position of Quarterback are all judged in large part by whether they have brought their teams to the Super Bowl and won. The first name among this group is usually Joe Montana, who did so, and won, four times.  John Elway played in five Super Bowls but his team only won three of those games.  Roger Staubaugh of the Dallas Cowboys also played in several Super Bowls. Dan Marino, frequently mentioned with the rest, never took his Miami Dolphins to the Super Bowl, and Terry Bradshaw and his Pittsburgh Steelers won four Super Bowls.

 Most analysts do not credit Terry Bradshaw with those wins and dismiss him as not being among the best Quarterbacks notwithstanding his record in the Super Bowl.  He is also willing to forego that accolade, and does so publicly, as he is still involved in football as a broadcaster. Bradshaw spends a good deal of time making fun of his own substantial prowess at the game, probably so as not to appear arrogant in the face of expert opinion.  

Bradshaw does, however, have four Super Bowl rings, the outward symbol of those who have won Super Bowl victory.  Bradshaw’s work as a Quarterback was very successful, but he is not considered to have the overall quality of Montana, Marino, Elway, Manning, Brett Favre, Steve Young, Johnny Unitas, or Roger Staubaugh. Montana won four of his four Super Bowls, Elway three of his five, and Dan Marino never got to play in one.  Players who figured out a recipe for winning football games when playing in the most intense competition at seasons’ end are generally regarded as the best.

The game does not start until late afternoon, so it is best to have something to occupy Super Bowl Sunday.  A useful diversion is pasta for six with a tomato sauce.  This can be done while watching the Sunday morning television talk shows.  

At seven a.m., warm one tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a medium sauce pan until fragrant but lower temperature before any smoke arises from the oil.  Olive Oil begins to smoke at about 120 degrees farenheit.  When the oil is warm, after approximately two minutes on medium gas heat, reduce the temperature to very low.  Add slowly enough tomato sauce of your choice to the saucepan to completely cover the bottom of the pan and let sit until the mixture simmers.

Add about one half cup of white wine, not all at once, and sprinkle the mixture with ground black pepper or your favorite pepper mixture, and sprinkle about one half teaspoon of Himalayan Sea Salt, or any other mild salt of your choice, over the entire mixture.  Add about two pints, approximately two pounds, of tomato sauce.  I find the choice of tomato sauce to be less important than one would otherwise be inclined to believe, but if you have a tomato sauce you think is superior, by all means use it.  What is trust of Quarterbacks also applies to tomato sauce.  Buy the best you can afford. The appendix to this recipe has some suggestions as to the composition and making of a superior tomato sauce.  

For our purposes, avoid, as usual, high fructose corn syrup, but use any other commercial tomato sauce, preferably, we suppose, organic, and feel free to mix brands and types.  I often add a bit of organic ketchup, some chile sauce and a bit of garlic tomato salsa.  Let the mixture continue to barely simmer over low heat, for fifteen minutes, about 7:45 a.m., and then adjust the heat even lower, to just below the level at which air bubbles form on the surface of the mixture.  

Add enough more tomato sauce of some kind to make up for what you have lost in tasting. Stir the mixture to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the saucepan, then leave it alone until 8:15 a.m.  

At 8:15, pour three or four quarts of water into a large pot and turn the heat to high.  Put a teaspoon of salt into the water after pouring about ten drops of olive oil into the pot.  Let that mixture come to a rolling boil and back the heat down a little bit.  

Set a timer at 12 minutes.  Find pasta of some sort.  I prefer Mini-Farfalle, the one that looks like a small bowtie.  The larger Farfalle is quite acceptable, but presents a large piece of pasta at each bite.  Linguinis and Spaghettis are fun, and their only drawback may be that they don’t hold the tomato sauce as well as do their more topographically interesting cousins.  The type of pasta is largely a matter of taste and aesthetic appeal.  There are myriad sorts of pasta.  Stir the pasta regularly, as pasta likes to stick to the bottom of the pot, and, to a reasonable extent, the more it is stirred, the more it sheds its outer starches.  

At about ten minutes into the cooking of the pasta, turn the heat up slightly on the tomato sauce, to a slow simmer, stirring it gently a few times along the way.  When eleven minutes arrives, put a colander into a nearby sink.  Put a large pat of butter into the colander.  Grab a salt shaker and a pepper mill and grind Parmesan Reggiano or bring near to the sink a jar of grated cheese or your choosing.  Parmesan or Romano are standard choices.  I believe the final minutes make the most difference.

At zero on the timer, lift the pot full of pasta and quickly, but carefully, dump its contents into the colander you have placed in the sink.  Lift the colander and make the pasta jump up and down to shed water from it.  Some like to rinse the pasta of its residual starches with some fresh water, then dry it by making it jump up and down.  Now season the pasta with some salt and pepper.  Not a lot, but not just on top.  Keep it bouncing.Grate cheese and liberally sprinkle it all over, still moving the pasta up and down.  Your sauce will be gently bubbling.  Stir it.  Find a soup bowl or a cereal bowl and place a serving of pasta sized to your taste in the bowl.  Gently place spoonsful of tomato sauce over the pasta, then grate or pour more grated cheese on top.  Find a fork and a spoon, a large napkin and a chair.  Eat, sharing with others if they are available. Your preparation for the game is now complete.

The Quarterbacks are the stars of a Super Bowl, usually, but the games is played by two aggressive aggregations of ever larger and wealthier people opposing each other on the football field and, on any given day, any one of those people could be the key to victory or defeat.  Seattle has a young Quarterback who is currently in high repute.  Their running back, Marshawn Lynch, known simply as “The Beast”, is also to be watched.  Denver has a player known as “Pot Roast”. Though he says he has only ordered pot roast once in his life, his teammates claim he looks like one.

The entire defense of the Seattle Seahawks functions superbly as a unit, as does the entire offense of the Denver Broncos.  This pasta dish is notable for its piquancy and consistent goodness.  In the last stages of cooking the sauce, I add several slices of mandarin orange and part of the peel after I feed most of the clementine to the bulldogs, who are avid Broncos fans.  

-30-
Feb. 2, 2014  9:25 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time
Boulder, Colorado
Petur S. Williams  

 

 


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