Super Bowl XXXIX
That's me outside Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida, prior to Super Bowl XXXIX between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jacksonville, FL (02.07.05)
If you were a grilling fanatic like me in search of a place where thousands of other fanatics gather for grilling, gridiron, and good times in February, where would you go? Where else? The Super Bowl! I recently packed my trusty tongs and several copies of Weber's Real Grilling™, and headed east from San Francisco to Jacksonville.
NFL superstars Michael Irvin, Ty Law, Correll Buckhalter, and Tim Brown warming up for a grilling competition in Jacksonville.
One of the highlights of my experience in Florida was a spirited grilling competition between big-time players from the NFL to determine which team could make the best hamburger. Representing the AFC was cornerback Ty Law of the New England Patriots, while running back Correll Buckhalter of the Philadelphia Eagles competed for the NFC. Ty Law was joined by nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback Warren Moon, who proved to know more than a little about grilling. Correll Buckhalter teamed up with Heisman Trophy winner and eight-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Tim Brown, also quite the culinary star. Let me tell you, these guys came to cook… and win.
Michael Irvin was the moderator of the Weber super grill-off, a battle between the NFC and AFC for the best burger.
The moderator of the fierce burger battle was the legendary Michael Irvin, the all-time leading wide receiver of the Dallas Cowboys and currently a commentator on ESPN. Weaving among the players in his snakeskin jacket and flashing his diamond-studded Super Bowl ring, Michael interviewed the players about their game plans.
Warren Moon and other competitors talk with Michael Irvin about their grilling techniques.
Warren Moon explained his approach to grilling this way: "Love. Lots of love. Ty and I have developed some love during the competition, and that love is being transferred to our burger. It's a burger of love." Well, thats a lesson they never taught me in cooking school, but I think Warren Moon has got it right. You gotta grill with love.
I had the honor of judging the final results. Ty Law and Warren Moon's burger was lightly glazed with barbecue sauce and topped with grilled onions, avocado, and tomato. The team of Buckhalter and Brown filled their burger with crisp, finely chopped bacon and cayenne pepper and topped it with fresh lettuce and tomato (an imaginative spin on the BLT). It was close to call, but I had to give burger braggin' rights to Ty Law and Warren Moon from the AFC.
Gene Hackman told me he can grill with the best of 'em. Here he is with me at a party sponsored by ESPN Magazine.
These NFL players weren't the only grillers at the Super Bowl. I also ran into one of my favorite actors of all time, the multi-talented Gene Hackman. Gene told me he loves to fire up the grill at home, so I gave him a copy of Weber's Real Grilling, hoping he'll add a few Purviance recipes to the Hackman repertoire.
Oakland Raider Roland Williams and I met at a tailgate party. Check out that Super Bowl ring!
I also spent some time with one of the premier tight ends in the NFL, Roland Williams. In 2000, Roland won a Super Bowl championship with the St. Louis Rams. In 2002, Roland joined the Oakland Raiders. He told me about an organization he has started, called the Youth Lifeline Foundation (www.youthlifeline.org) which provides at-risk youth with essential skills and tools to enable them to lead positive, productive, and fulfilling lives. I am hoping to join Roland this summer in Oakland for a grilling class where we will help kids prepare fantastic, healthy meals.
The big game on Sunday was excellent, and I had a blast before the game tailgating with the crowds that streamed into Jacksonville. The whole experience just proved to me that whether you are an NFL superstar or an Oscar-winning actor or someone who likes to play touch football in the backyard and watch a movie after dinner, grilling is part of the good life. Everyone gets a kick out of it.
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Super Bowl XXXIX (02.07.05)