Wednesday, February 14, 2024

The Super Bowl in Las Vegas and an easy dish ...

My husband and I visited Las Vegas in the late 1960s or early 1970s. Then, it was not the popular city it is now. I remember that it was a city in the center of the Nevada Mohave Desert where there were some casinos and motels. In my memory the city is pictured as in the two top photos of the vintage postcards below.
A few years ago we stopped several hours at the Las Vegas airport on our way to Los Angeles. This airport had greatly been updated. There were slot machines everywhere: in the concourses, the gates, and more. Later I read an airport article stating that the Las Vegas Airport slot machines had generated one billion dollars in all-time revenue.
I even bought a postcard for my cousin in France showing the Las Vegas Eiffel Tower replica (50% of the Paris tower.)
Now, Las Vegas is famous for its large luxurious casinos with top international entertainers. In 2019 2.9 million visitors came to its five-star resort hotels, gourmet restaurants, the various shopping malls, high-end stores and 24/7 entertainment. It is the largest city in Nevada. The new Allegiant Stadium, a domed multi-purpose stadium, was opened in 2020. At 1.9 million dollars it is the second most expensive stadium in the world, after Los Angeles 5.5 billion stadium. Allegiant Stadium claims that it is the first NFL (National Football League) stadium powered by 100% renewable energy. On February 11, 2024, Las Vegas hosted its first Super Bowl there, a highly publicized football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers.
For my overseas blogging friends I'd like to mention that sports are very important in the USA. Football is the #1 sport, American football that is, played here and in about 30 other countries, compared to the other football, the one called "soccer" here but played in 211 countries around the world. Many children in the US start playing football at about 12 years of age. It is played in high schools, colleges and universities, plus professionally. Nearly 1.04 million high-school athletes (with 16,000 teams) and 81,000 college athletes (with 858 teams) play football in the US. Football has a huge impact on a college, on its culture and campus life. Colleges and universities make more money from sports, and are more interested in sports than academics, education, travel, arts, etc. A winning team will boost a university enrollment. Enormous amounts of fans will crowd college football stadiums to cheer their school team. My late husband did not watch much sport on television, unless it was a big game between Ohio State University's Buckeys team and another university. He was an Ohio State University alumnus. My youngest daughter is a fan of the "Dawgs," the University of Georgia's Bulldogs team where she graduated, and my son-in-law is a fan of the rival GA team, the Yellow Jackets, from Georgia Tech University where he graduated. But since both took their medical residencies at Ohio State University, they are fans of the Buckeyes, too. Fans like to wear their university team's tee-shirt and buy team merchandise.
The National Football League (NFL) has the highest average attendance of any professional sports leagues. The Super Bowl, its championship game, ranks among the most-watched sporting events here with the highest average attendance. The league in 2023 had an annual revenue of around 18.6 billion dollars. In 2023, sports generated $520 billion in revenue to the U.S. economy. It can be understood this way: a million seconds is 12 days, a billion seconds is 31 years and a trillion seconds is 31,688 years. Top professional football athletes can obtain salaries of more than 55 million dollars a year. I mention all this because money is what drives the USA. With such a huge audience, companies paid up to $7 million for a rare 30-second advertisement slot on television. By November 2023, all commercial slots had been purchased for the Super Bowl of February 11, 2024. Companies try to come up with unusual, innovative or funny commercials; they also use well-known celebrities for their ads to stand out. The commercials are watched attentively, and rated. In the commercials below pop-star Beyoncé is on the left, actor Ben Affleck on the left of the center photo and actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is on the left in the right picture.
Some people who are not avid football fans still watch the Super Bowl Halftime shows. Most colleges feature marching bands and drill teams during their shows; the Super Bowl did too when it started in 1967. But in 1993 the Super Bowl featured Michael Jackson. That year more fans watched him than the game. Since then the Super Bowl Halftime shows have been headlined by some of the most popular contemporary musicians. Some of the past entertainers have been: The Rolling Stones, The Who, Sting, Paul McCartney, Bruno Mars, U2,Bruce Springsteen, The Temptations, Tony Bennett, Jennifer Lopez and Shakira, Lady Gaga, Janet Jackson, Diana Ross, Britney Spears, Madonna, Prince, etc.
This year the Super Bowl generated more media frenzy because there was the added attraction of the relationship between Taylor Swift the pop culture superstar and the Kansas City Chief tight end Travis Kelce. Taylor's fans all over the world, called the Swifties, are obsessed with the relationship. They were agonizing because Taylor Swift, on her worldwide Eras Tour, was performing in Tokyo Saturday night February 10th, the eve of the Super Bowl, and might not show up in time. To illustrate what a big deal the Swift-Kelce romance is, the Embassy of Japan in the U.S.A. issued a statement to reassure the fans.
But no fear, Swift quickly flew on her private jet and covered the 5,500 mile journey to Las Vegas in time. Another 882 private planes landed for the game in the Las Vegas airports as well. Well-known celebrities from entertainers to politicians and sports stars were seen at the Super Bowl, such as Jay-Ze,Beyoncé, Paul McCartney, Canadian singer-songwriter Justin Bieber, Elon Musk, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Lady Gaga, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton, Leonardo DiCaprio, Sheryl Crow, Shaquille O Neal, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, and many more. The romance has generated an intense amount of attention and provided millions in revenue to the KC Chiefs and other marketing companies. I have not watched a Super Bowl in a long time but decided to turn my kitchen TV on the game and watch it while cooking. I also took some photos from the television.
Since I did not want to spend much time cooking I decided to cook something in one pot only. I had two egg yolks leftover from baking some meringue cookies earlier and came up with a type of spaghetti carbonara, but without the spaghetti. I called it Super Bowl Carbonara, It was fast and easy in my cast iron frying pan. I wouldn't say it was a 5-star recipe but something simple and stil pretty good. You may wish to give it a try. The recipe is below.
Super Bowl Carbonara: 2 packages of Ramen noodle soup, any flavor because only noodles are used, spice packs are omitted. 2 egg yolks. 1/3 green pepper, chopped, and 2 green onions, sliced, white parts separated from green parts. 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling when done. 2 cups warm water, plus another 1/2 cup for egg mixture. 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon each of thyme and oregano, salt and pepper to taste. 1 tsp olive oil. Fry bacon in cast iron frying pan or other pan, remove to paper towel. Remove bacon fat but leave 2 tablespoons in pan and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Fry green pepper and the white parts of the green onions in the pan, remove. Add 2 cups warm water to pan and add the Ramen noodles. Bring to a boil while flipping the noodles and separating them with two forks. Sprinkle salt, pepper and seasoning. Turn heat to medium-low. When noodles have softened (about 2 or 3 minutes or so) turn heat off. While noodles were cooking add 1/2 cup warm water to egg yolks in a small bowl (or if too much water left in noodles, use that.) Whisk Parmesan cheese in eggs. Toss egg mixture into noodles, turn heat on low, and keep tossing a minute or two until creamy. Add crumbled bacon, the green parts of the onions, and the cooked green pepper and white parts of green onions. Serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese. Voila.
As an aside, one of the players for the Kansas City Chiefs at the Super Bowl, Lucas Niang, is French and has dual citizenship. His parents moved to the US from France. His father is French and his mother from the Ivory Coast, or Côte d’Ivoire in West Africa. Lucas speaks fluent French. Here he is below.
After the meal I went to watch the game on my large TV in the den. It looked like the San Francisco 49ers were ahead but then the game turned to the Kansas City Chiefs. We had some glimpses of Taylor Swift in her suite cheering with her friends. She was wearing her gold necklace with the number 87 - that is her boyfriend Travis Kelce's tee-shirt number.
The game became gripping during the overtime. The end escaladed quickly to a thrilling victory for the Kansas City Chiefs, their third Super Bowl victory in the last five years. They defeated the San Francisco 49ers 25-22 and declared champions.
Travis Kelce hoisted the Lombardi Trophy on the podium and then descended onto the field. He joined Taylor, saying "Come here, baby girl." They hugged and embraced.
This game gathered the highest ratings since the Apollo II 1969 moon landing. A staggering 123.4 million viewed the game and 202 million watched at least part of the game across all TV networks and via streaming. The insane amount of attention being paid to the Taylor-Travis romance helped with teenage girls watching the Super Bowl for the first time. The reason for this fascination is because this is the classic American romance in a way: the cheerleader or most popular girl falls for the handsome football star. Or in this case, Taylor Swift (voted woman of the Year 2023 by Time Magazine,) the pop culture megastar is dating the popular and talented Kansas City handsome tight end = two famous people making their fan base swoon. Dr. Helen Fisher, an anthropologist and a senior research fellow at the Kinsey Institute who has studied the chemistry of romantic love said: "It was charming, so real, so human, so unrehearsed and so dramatic." She explained that the phenomenon behind the interest in this romance is called "emotional contagion." She added it is the same as why we tear up when our friends cry or get hungry when those around us are eating. This is the type of fantasy love story the American public loves.
Everyone needs a little romance in their life!


Marie Smith said...

I saw the end of the game. Exciting! Isn’t it wonderful how sports can unite people?

DJan said...

I watched some of the game, but mostly just left the TV on and watched the chyron at the bottom of the screen, until overtime that is. It was a thrilling game but I was sad the 49ers lost to KC. But somebody had to win, and someone had to lose, right? Thanks for the (as always) complete saga of the Super Bowl and the romance.

Cloudia said...

This was the most watched thing on TV ever. I believe! The first half was a snooze. Not too many great commercials, but the second half turned into a Great football game! I'm happy with the result and happy for Travis and Taylor

Nadezda said...

This game was not shown or maybe on the channel that I do not watch Vagabonde. Therefore, I was interested to know your reaction to the game and a wonderful recipe, when I do not want to cook. In such cases, I boil potatoes and season it with stewed canned meat.

Jeanie said...

Well, the Super Bowl is no big deal in my world -- I just don't get the hype. But the carbonara looks great!

Mae Travels said...

I'm catching up on posts after a busy month in February! I also semi-watched the Superbowl without paying too much attention. Full disclosure: the half-time music put me to sleep. Disappointing.

Please do post your photos from Africa!!

best, mae at

Nadezda said...

Dear Vagabonde, I could not imagine that the game of football is so popular and has such great importance for universities. Great photos! Of course you want to have free time to watch football on big TV. The pasta carbonara probably turned out delicious.

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