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Updated: Feb 12

So NOW What?? Here are some random thoughts.

I'm sitting in the Burlington (MA) Wegmans with a full cart of fancy ingredients beside me as I type this. AndyS. will pick me up at 11 and bring me to his condo, where I'll immediately start cooking our annual Super Bowl feast. (See menu below.)

Super Bowl Sunday is America's biggest unofficial holiday. Over 100 million viewers will tune in to the CBS broadcast. Most of them will not just be watching a game; they will be partying with football-specific food and drink. (HERE is my essay on that topic.) Morning rush-hour traffic is usually rather light on the Monday after the big game.

This Super Bowl is a rematch, kind of... the 49ers faced the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV (54.) The Chiefs overcame a 20-10 4th-quarter deficit to win that game 31-20. Truth be told, a lot has changed in the intervening four years, and only nine of that year's 49ers and eight Chiefs remain on their current rosters.

It is noteworthy that the Super Bowl is being played in Las Vegas, a city notorious for what have long been considered societal ills-- all-night partying, prostitution, and especially gambling. For the entirety of its existence until very recently, the NFL has tried to maintain a firewall between itself and gambling. Indeed, the mere whiff of any association between NFL players and shady underworld figures was, by definition, potentially harmful to the league's credibility. In 1969, Joe Namath was famously forced to sell his financial interest in a nightclub (see The Bachelors III Affair) that was frequented by mobsters. Prior to that, two NFL superstars (Detroit's Alex Karras and Green Bay's Paul Hornung) were suspended for the entire 1963 NFL season for betting on games.

But sports gambling has gone mainstream and is now legal (or about to be) in most states. Here is a helpful map from the American Gaming Association:

The fact that a legitimate entity called "The American Gaming Association" now exists illustrates how far we've come from the bad old days when organized crime had that market to themselves.

(This is an old map, BTW.)

So here we are in 2024; the week-long buildup to the Super Bowl in every rotating host city has long been notable for... all-night partying, prostitution, and gambling. Accordingly, I predict that Las Vegas will overtake Miami and New Orleans as everyone's favorite Super Bowl city.

Today's matchup has been analyzed ad infinitum-- yards after catch per play, 3rd-down conversion rates, zone blitz, zone read, blitz read, zone read... blah, blah, blah. (HERE is but a sample of such coverage.) For those uninterested in pigskin minutiae and arcana (dare I say "zoned out?") the Super Bowl ads often take on considerable importance. This year's 30-second commercial spots cost advertisers $7 million. With so much money at stake and such a large audience, advertisers put a lot of effort into making memorable ads. Most of them will be up on Youtube for a while; some are already there.

And finally,here is the menu I'm preparing today:

French Onion Toast

Scorched Shrimp with Ginger-Pepper Glaze

Roasted Red Potatoes w/ Montreal Seasoning

Roasted Brussels Sprouts w/ Bacon

Red Wine Braised Grass-Fed Beef Pot Roast

Sweet Potato Pie w/ Vanilla Ice Cream

And a generous amount of good red wine.

Danny's Table wishes everyone a fun, happy, and delicious Super Bowl Sunday!

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