Friday, Jan. 31
Today 39°, winds 8 mph, chance of rain 20%
Super Bowl 6:20 p.m. Sunday: 50°, winds 7 mph, chance of rain 10%
About Last Night
NEW YORK — In the basement of Liquid Cellar, on West 25th Street in Manhattan, The MMQB boss is hanging with legends.
For a few hours Thursday night, Peter King and four Super Bowl heroes—Lynn Swann, Joe Namath, Joe Montana and Marcus Allen—sat in black leather chairs on a stage in front of a standing room-only crowd to relive some Super memories.
Montana shared his version of the infamous John Candy anecdote while Allen described how he stayed focused before the big game.
“Well,” Allen quipped, “we didn’t have social media.”
Namath was asked: How did you survive the spotlight of New York?
“I got lucky,” Broadway Joe said, flashing a grin.
In the end, of course, they all emerged as winners.
“That’s why we’re all sitting up here,” Montana said, “because we’re not satisfied with mediocrity.”
Say Hey, Willie
Two stories high at the Renaissance Hotel, with large glass windows overlooking Super Bowl Boulevard, is Forty Ate, an NFL-themed pop-up restaurant.
From the hostesses’ attire (ref uniforms) to the decor (busts of NFL greats like Troy Aikman and Terry Bradshaw line the windows), it’s distinctly a football atmosphere.
The Snaffler staff arrived for lunch on Thursday to review. One reporter ordered the “Gridiron Burger,” the other a turkey sandwich. Both were delicious. The real treat of Forty Ate is the setting, which offers a special “you are there” feel to being in New York City for Super Bowl week.
The total NFL experience was capped off by, of course, an athlete sighting: Ex-Patriot-turned-NFL-Network-analyst Willie McGinest.
When McGinest found out we were Sports Illustrated employees, he smiled, recalling the week after the Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI and he appeared on the cover of SI sacking Kurt Warner.
“That was a great picture,“ McGinest told the Snaffler. “So good, you could even see the spit coming out of my mouth.”
The One-Question Interview
The rapper/actor Kid Cudi, a big Cleveland Browns fan, arrived in New York to catch the Super Bowl spirit. For his Sunday prediction, Kid Cudi picked Denver and “a hard fought game.” Although don’t expect him to find too much musical inspiration on the field.
THE SNAFFLER: If you could collaborate on a song with one player in the NFL, who would it be’?
KID CUDI: Oh man, that’s tough. NFL players are hard. I don’t know if any of them really come to mind, you know? In fact, the only person I can think of is Shaq. Can we make it any athlete? I’d love to do a song with Shaq. He’s the man.
Things Are Starting To Get Weird
Dispatches from Times Square, where Super Bowl Boulevard cuts through the epicenter of pop culture and the even more absurd…
A quick-hit interview with Raymond Lobell, 65, a Brooklynite who can have all his problems solved by moving to either Seattle or Denver.
THE SNAFFLER: So, you like marijuana?
LOBELL: Yo man, we want to legalize it. Everywhere, so we can smoke legal and not go to jail.
THE SNAFFLER: When was the last time you smoked?
LOBELL: This morning. It’s out! I’m not high no more.
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An open question to the brilliant minds that produced the worst bit of advertising we found along the neon-lit Super Bowl Boulevard, and we’re talking about your storefront, Aeropostale.
Just so we’re on the same page: To celebrate America’s most-watched, most-hyped, most-beloved sporting event—you know, the crown jewel of all championships that will be disseminated to 198 countries and territories in 25 languages—you somehow thought it a good idea to take that game’s most fundamental, recognizable piece of equipment—nay, perhaps the most uniquely shaped ball in all of sports this side of the badminton birdie—and label it with the eponymous words American Football as a way to attract Super Bowl tourists into your store? Edgy! Ah, come on. Don’t even pretend you were going for the whole Hipster vibe, man, with a matching shirt and a matching thong made of actual pigskin. (We’d only appreciate a little bit of that contrived irony if it were made in, say, North Korea.) Bill Belichick shows more creativity and puts more effort into his press conferences. Wait, our bad. Sorry for going high-brow right there on you. Bill Belichick is the American Football coach of the American Football team the New England Patriots, who play American Football in the National Football League in the American Football Conference. Some call it a national pastime. Anyway, have fun talking about the latest Downton Abbey episode around the water cooler on Monday morning. What’s that? Sure! Of course! Yes, we will pass along your good luck wishes to Bill Belichick to score a goal in Sunday night’s American Football game. Do you think we could get him one of those pigskin thongs that say American Football? It would go great with his hoodie!
* * *
The cold weather has already done terrible things to Sunday’s starting quarterbacks, according to Ripley’s Believe It or Not.
By The Numbers
Maybe Sunday’s game isn’t really about X’s and O’s. Maybe the final result is already written in the stars.
Numerologist Yogi Akal is an expert on personal forecasting. The Snaffler asked Yogi to look at birth dates for key members of the Broncos and Seahawks to determine how Super Sunday might shake out. He doesn’t normally follow sports, so his predictions are completely objective.
“It’s going to be a toss up, as sports are all 50-50,” he said. “But looking at the spirits of the Seattle Seahawks, that is a very strong group.”
Here’s what he had to say about a few key players:
Peyton Manning … He has very strong physical attributes. But he has a lot of things going on in his personal life, a lot of things to figure out. (Danny Trevathan and Eric Decker, Yogi says, have off-field issues to sort out too.)
John Elway … He’s a strong person, a solider. It’s all about winning with him, and why not? He’s also a charitable person, too.
Damariyus Thomas … He’s one of the key’s to the game, as well as Knowshon Moreno.
Pete Carroll … Family is key. A forgiving soul with great service.
Richard Sherman … A good heart, a big man, a teaching figure.
Russell Wilson … A person with a good soul. A good person deep down inside.
Earl Thomas … He’s all or nothing.
Here are five NFL stories you’ll be taking about today:
1. The Super Bowl of Sports Gambling (By James Vlhaos, New York Times)
Sports economists say it’s impossible to know how much money is spent on illegal gambling; the National Gambling Impact Study Commission cited an estimate of somewhere between $80 billion and $380 billion annually.
2. The Official Super Bowl Preview (By Bill Barnwell, Grantland)
The writer offers a longform look at Super Bowl 48.
3. Already Inspired to Be the N.F.L.’s Next Deaf Player (By Juliet Macur, New York Times)
Gallaudet’s Adham Talaat is hoping to follow the path set by Seattle’s Derrick Coleman.
4. Jahvid Best suing NFL, helmet maker (By Michael Rothstein, ESPN.com)
The former Lions running back is suing the NFL, helmet maker Riddell and Easton-Bell Sports over concussions.
5. From Muppets To Puppies, Super Bowl Ads Get Cute (By The Associated Press)
Super Bowl ads will be more family-friendly this year.