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james laube's wine flights

And the Winner of the Super Bowl Is?

Photo by: Greg Gorman

Posted: Jan 31, 2007 4:16pm ET

I’ve been reading Johnny U: The Life and Times of John Unitas the past few days as a sort of mental preparation for Sunday’s Super Bowl. It’s a great read about one of the game’s all-time greats—and a must for any football fan.

I’m torn about which team to root for, though I'm leaning toward the Bears. I’m a Chicago native, but I was once drafted by the Colts when they were in Baltimore. I use the word “drafted” because it sounds more authentic. But the truth is, it was more of an invitation to try out for the Colts, and I was not an official draft pick.

Don’t ask me why this happened. In the days before the two leagues merged, the NFL held what amounted to a supplemental futures draft. The idea, as best as I can recall, was to scout college athletes as prospects for down the line. They wanted to time us in the 40-yard dash and see how high we could jump and if we could catch a football.

One area of emphasis was on recruiting basketball players—mostly tall guards—because they could jump, had good hands, were good at back-pedaling and seeing passing lanes. When I got my invite, I was a 6'-2," 180-pound guard playing for Chapman College.

Of course I never entertained any thoughts of playing pro football—intramural flag football was more my speed. But I did get some mileage out of the story at parties (and my dad loved it), and I would occasionally tease my friends that, hey, in a couple of years, I could have the locker next to Johnny U.

I wish the best of luck to Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy, and I’m hoping Rex Grossman plays at least well enough to keep the Bears in the game.

I made a bet with Marvin about which team will win, and I dropped the bombshell that I was once drafted by the Colts. (We got a good laugh out of that.) He thinks the game will be over by halftime and predicts the Colts will win handily, 35-10. I also think the Colts will win, but I'm betting the score will be 27-17—and I’m rooting for the Bears.

So here’s your chance to go on record. Tell me who you think will win and what the final score will be.

John Kmiecik
Chicago, IL —  January 31, 2007 5:26pm ET
Da Bears....27-24
John C Winkelmann
Cincinnai —  January 31, 2007 5:26pm ET
Like you, I don't have a dog in this fight. I am praying for a good game, but feel the Colts will win decisively.I haven't chosen wine(s) to drink on Super Sunday. What will you be sipping?Cheers, John
Arnaud Tronche
Chicago —  January 31, 2007 7:01pm ET
What about drinking a De Lisio Quarterback ?!
James Laube
Napa, CA —  January 31, 2007 7:17pm ET
Nice call, Arnaud. Should be perfect...for either team.
Tim Sylvester
Santa Monica, CA —  January 31, 2007 7:22pm ET
Heh Jim, what was your 40 time?? No favorites on this end, though I wouldn't mind seeing Peyton get his ring so we can move past that drama. With chips, salsa and quacamole what wines would you recommend?? Cheers, Tim
James Laube
Napa, CA —  January 31, 2007 7:31pm ET
Not very good, Tim. QB's would have loved to have me in the secondary. Sounds like spicy wines - Zinfandel? Rhone? I'll open several bottles with friends and hope it's a game.
Andrew J Walter
Sacramento,CA —  January 31, 2007 7:48pm ET
Lets hope people will be drinking beer...a nice cold Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, or Fat Tire or Black and Tan....in reality anything but the watered down, mass produced C*** that the big boys pass off as beer! I mean, who drinks wine and watches football??? Thats just un-American! In reality, of course, I support any beverage choice (well..except Bud) and hope for a great game. (maybe if we are luckly, like the BSU-OK game, although fat chance of that). Cheers!
John Gavin
CA —  January 31, 2007 9:14pm ET
As a former Baltimoron whose first paycheck in high school came from my work as a dishwasher at Johnny Unitas' Golden Arm restaurant (owned by Johnny but managed by Colt's DB Bobby Boyd), I strongly believe that the Colt's and the Irsay family will be punished by the fates for Robert Irsay's midnight escape from Baltimore. The curse of the Colts will last a good bit longer. Go Bears!
Colin Haggerty
La Jolla, California —  January 31, 2007 10:34pm ET
I live in La Jolla...Once the Chargers lost, I realized that I will be able to re-focus on the guacamole at the Super Bowl party. :-)
Kris Bigelow
Fishers, In —  January 31, 2007 11:13pm ET
The Colts--by a lot!! Look for me in Miami.
Barrett Miller
Indianapolis, IN —  February 1, 2007 12:14am ET
It seems as if this city has more spirit in it right now, than Christmas just a month past! So, no question here, James. The Colts will be winning the Super Bowl. And when they do, it should be a terrific time to pop the cork on my Bruno Paillard :) Best of luck to both teams...
Michael Green
San Diego, CA —  February 1, 2007 12:20am ET
Like Colin I too lost a bit of interest when the Chargers lost, but I'm over here in Iraq so I still may wake up at 2:30 a.m. and drink St. Pauli Girl NA just for the hell of it! Cheers, Mike
James Laube
Napa, CA —  February 1, 2007 12:47am ET
Ok, Michael, thanks for writing...be safe...
Victor James Sandoval
Riverside, CA —  February 1, 2007 3:04am ET
Football and Wine are the only two topics that I have ever blogged. I could never write about wine on football messageboards, but reading the WS this week has proven the versatility of the oenophile.

My take: The way Peyton Manning is able to audible at the line of scrimmage is an distinct advantage for the Colts. Double coverage against Reggie Wayne and single coverage on Marvin Harrison will stretch the Bears defense. Brian Urlacher will certainly make plays, but the Bear secondary must play mistake free in order for them to have a chance.

Colts win 28-14.

Go Chapman Panthers!!!

J E Shuey
Dallas, TX —  February 1, 2007 10:11am ET
All the folks predicting a big win for the Colts might want to look back a few weeks -- to the game that the "experts" said Florida didn't even deserve to play in. Just maybe the invincible Colts will end up in the same boat as the invincible Buckeyes.
Troy Peterson
Burbank, CA —  February 1, 2007 10:57am ET
What's great is that I don't follow football all year but greatly anticipate rooting for the underdog at the SB. I have also had a fondness for The Bears since their William "The Refrigerator" Perry days. Now I can root for a team I like, eat my nachos and gulp my champagne all at once! Bears by 6!
Jason Fernandez
Boston, MA —  February 1, 2007 11:19am ET
Personally, I think the Bears' secondary will eat Manning up. Hester is also the game-breaker the Bears will need to break it open. I think 31-17 Bears, with Hester returning a punt for TD and the Bears scoring 2 defensive TDs.To drink? Most likely beer (Sam Smith?) but maybe some Falesco Vittiano and Pillar Box Red... I'd hate to risk opening a nicer bottle with my homemade wings (I'm from Buffalo, we don't call them "Buffalo-style" - they're just hot), taco dip, and pizza.
James Peterson
San Antonio, Texas —  February 1, 2007 11:30am ET
I'm hoping the Colts will win, but I'm not a huge fan of either. In the end, I think Grossman will do the Bears in. I live in Europe, so like Michael I'll be watching in the wee hours of the morning. Luckily, we have Monday off so at least I have the option of drinking--maybe one of my Burgundies I have on hand. Nothing too big though... - Jim
William Newell
Buffalo, NY —  February 1, 2007 12:17pm ET
The Colts, since the AFC team has won 7 of the last 10 Super Bowls.
Harvey Steiman
San Francisco, CA —  February 1, 2007 1:08pm ET
I expect the Colts to start slow, give up field position and points to the swarming Bears defense, but pull it together to eke out a narrow win in the fourth quarter. If I were a betting man, I'd take the Bears and the points.
Tim Fish
Santa Rosa, CA —  February 1, 2007 2:30pm ET
As a Hoosier born and raised, I'd be dipped, battered and chicken-fried by my Indiana kin if I didn't pick the Colts.
Maryann Worobiec
Napa, CA —  February 1, 2007 5:20pm ET
Bears 36, Colts 17. Of course, as an alumn of The Ohio State University, my football season ended quite some time ago.
Adam Lee
Santa Rosa, CA —  February 1, 2007 6:14pm ET
Harvey,I'm with you - Indy wins 21-17 but the Bears cover.Adam LeeSiduri Wines
Joseph Karpowicz
Stony Brook, NY —  February 1, 2007 7:52pm ET
Its finally Mannings turn, hes going to get the big game jinx, that he's had since college, off his back ...and wouldn't it be fitting to do it against the former Gator QB. the pick...Colts 27-6
Jared Myers
Lincoln, Nebraska —  February 1, 2007 11:05pm ET
Daaaaaaa Bears 87-2
Richard Hirth
Michigan —  February 2, 2007 8:39am ET
Da Bears! I must have missed it when the AFC's #3 seed suddenly morphed into a combo of the 1972 Dolphins, the 1985 Bears, and the Joe Montana-led 49ers. Chicago deserves a little more respect than they're getting.
John W Graham Iii
Richmond VA —  February 2, 2007 10:16am ET
I hope that Payton can go ahead and get this title so we can start to focus on getting the Redskins back to glory ;-)As for what I am drinking, not sure yet, but something dynomite to go with my buddy Joey's baby back ribs!! 1999 Mondavi Reserve seems to be in lead!
James Laube
Napa, CA —  February 2, 2007 11:47am ET
Richard, I haven't spent this much time thinking about a football game in years (not since the 49ers heyday) but I'm starting to think you're right. Bears not getting enough respect. Today's Wall Street Journal article is by far the strongest endorsement for the Monsters of the Midway. Check it out.
Harvey Posert Jr
napa valley —  February 2, 2007 12:48pm ET
i don't understand why you all are so concerned about the scores. don't you simply want the game described and let us make our own decision as to whether we liked it or not?
Flavio Leoni Siqueira
new york —  February 2, 2007 1:17pm ET
DA BEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Fred Weil
Redding CA —  February 2, 2007 4:30pm ET
Jim, what years did you attend Chapman?
James Laube
Napa, CA —  February 2, 2007 4:59pm ET
Just one year...1969-70...
Michael Richmond
Traverse City MI —  February 2, 2007 7:49pm ET
Since the Lions are not in the game and their inthe same division as the Bears I hopping for the colts and the over.
Doug Jeffirs
February 2, 2007 8:14pm ET
colts 37- bears 24
Scott Nelsen
Menomonee Falls, WI —  February 4, 2007 1:44pm ET
I think that any NFC football fan has to cheer (yes even in Packerland) for the Bears. They play football the way it was meant to be played. Defense wins championships. They stress special teams, though Hester is a bet scary at times... even for those of us rooting for him. Warm chile and a nice Aussie Shiraz make the currrent -4 degrees "Bear"able.
William J Beitz Jr
Brighton, MI USA —  February 5, 2007 10:01am ET
Well, the winner certainly was NOT my 2001 Hundred Acre that has been in my Eurocave since release. We were anticipating a great bottle of wine during the game, but what a dissapointment. One of several very astute wine drinkers described it as "skunky". We didn't even finish the bottle. I recorked it and am going to send it back to Woodbridge. If anyone has his mailing address, let me know. All he has on his website is a PO Box and a picture of the 2005 label. Is he releasing this already? Nice job on the 2003, 89 points and still $225 per bottle. What a joke!

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