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Time for food and football

February 06, 2005|by TONY MULIERI

Welcome to Super Bowl Sunday.

I can't believe there have been 38 of them. What I also can't believe is I think I've seen every one of them.

You know the National Football League thinks it's important when they assign each game its own Roman numeral. For the record, today's game is Super Bowl XXXIX - that's 39 for those who aren't Roman.

There have been some memorable games.

The ones I especially remember are those in which the Baltimore Colts played.

In 1969 B.C. (Before Colts moved to Indianapolis), the New York Jets upset the heavily favored Colts behind quarterback Joe Namath, who predicted the win and sent a dagger into all Colts fans.

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The franchise redeemed itself a bit by winning the title in 1971 with a 16-13 victory over Dallas on Jim O'Brien's game-winning field goal.

I also had some mild interest in the games when the Washington Redskins won three Super Bowl titles under head coach Joe Gibbs. Gibbs did it behind John Riggins, the Hogs and three different quarterbacks - Joe Theismann, Doug Williams and Mark Rypien.

I again had mixed feelings when the Baltimore Ravens won in 2001. They weren't the Colts, but they were representing Baltimore.

But mostly the game has evolved into a national event where the teams really are secondary. It's a chance for friends and family to get together on a winter day and enjoy each other's company - and food.

Plenty of food.

In the early days, when legendary coach Vince Lombardi was leading the Green Bay Packers to victories in the first two Super Bowls, the NFL didn't have replay challenges like it does today. The game has evolved.

For that matter, I don't even think we had a remote in our house. I guess when we wanted to change the channel during the commercials, we had to get up and walk over to the television. Life was tough then. Of course now, you don't want to miss a commercial. Some of the commercials are better than the game.

And did I mention the food?

The Super Bowl is nothing without the food that goes with it.

I remember one year, a local sub shop was offering a great Super Bowl deal. You could order a cold-cut sub by the foot. When you went to pick it up, they gave you the sandwich on a 2-by-6 board. I ordered a 6-footer that year. It barely fit in the car. You had to take the piece of wood back the following Monday.

Then, there was the year my wife, Linda, made her Super Soup. It was so loaded with stuff, it would have made the Hogs happy.

Today's game pits the Philadelphia Eagles against the New England Patriots, two teams I'm ambivalent about.

If I had to pick a winner, I'd say the defending champion Patriots will win. When they played the team with the best offense, the Indianapolis Colts, they held them to three points. When they played the team with one of the best defenses, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Patriots scored 41.

But I don't have to pick a winner.

Please pass the salsa.

Tony Mulieri is managing editor of The Daily Mail. He may be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 7647, or by e-mail at tonym@herald-mail.com.

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