Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Voices from a Stranger...

Hey readers, here is another rant from an other source besides us three geniuses. If you don't remember this feature is a guest writer's opinion on whatever they like. If you feel you’d like to do this just email the address and let us know. You can email that address to see if we already have one in line for that week or email your post for us to review. Also, if it’s not good it’s not going up. We are honest SOB’s that will say...hell no!

Without further ado, this week’s entry comes from one of our long time cronies that we met back in St. Paul in the hall that is Brady. Three contests that you will lose against him: 1) A drinking contest, 2) An Arizona Basketball trivia contest and 3) anything Chipotle contest. This all-star takes a look at the playoffs that are upon us. Part one here takes a look at the NFC and the AFC will be up tomorrow. Enjoy.

Burrito Bol 2008 – NFC Playoffs Preview

This column is devoted to two of my favorite things in the world; Chipotle burritos and the NFL playoffs. Putting my Sauer twist on the upcoming NFL playoffs, I have decided to compare each playoff team to an ingredient from a Chipotle burrito.

We’ll start first with our NFC Preview, since nobody seems to think the NFC has a shot this year (or 6 of the past 7 years for that matter), I will showcase these teams first. Be sure to stay tuned for the AFC preview, which will be available tomorrow. Teams are ordered by their conference seed.

1) Fajita Burrito = Dallas Cowboys

I don’t really care much about the Cowboys this year, and I think they are a bit overrated. So for this preview I consulted my roommate Ty, who despite being a lifelong MN resident, is somehow a Dallas Cowboys fanboy du jour. I don’t know how he could be more loyal to the team from the town that Debbie did than the hometown Vikes, but I think it has something to do with his dad’s inexplicable love of the Yankees. Sports bigamy is a tell tale sign of bad parenting.

When I asked Ty to compare his beloved Cowboys to something at Chipotle, he said “that’s easy, they are the fajita burrito, because they have something for everyone”. I thought he was crazy, but when pro bowl nominations came out, and Dallas had an astonishing 11 pro bowl players (11!!), I realized that they really do have something for everyone.

As I mentioned previously, I don’t really care about the Cowboys, so I’m not going to talk about all 11 players and how they fit into this analogy individually. Instead, I am going to talk about the sexual tension/jealousy between TO and Tony Romo over Jessica Simpson. Actually, I’m not going to talk about that either, because it has already been covered by thousands of other sports bloggers. No, I am going to pose a question that should have been asked years ago:

Is Terrell Owens a virgin?

Seriously, is this guy the AC Green of the NFL or what? I don’t really have any evidence supporting my virgin theory, except for one thing; the man sleeps every night in a hyperbaric chamber. How can he make sexy time when he is always zipped up in a cocoon? What woman would put up with that type of relationship? I think that this is the reason why TO is so upset with Romo for banging celebrity hotties; he’s carrying his v-card and the sexual tension is killing him.

2) Chicken = Green Bay Packers

When I’m ordering a burrito, I find myself consistently choosing Chicken because it’s healthy, consistent, and has great flavor. While I’m sad to admit it, the consistency resembles the career of Brett Favre. Much like the Chicken, Favre has a great competitive spirit, is not very flashy, and is always consistent (minus the 2005-2006 seasons where he had the equivalent of the Avian flu). We have been watching Brett Favre throw footballs for as many years (16) as Don Majkowski’s mullet has been out of style.

This guy is a class act on the field who has been plugging away for years, and has set (or is on the verge of setting) nearly every career record for a quarterback. Compare this to the Chicken at Chipotle, and you will find that Chicken is easily the most ordered meat item on the menu, and has shattered every known career and single season record for meat in a burrito. Given my loyalty to the Vikings, it pains me each day to see how successful Brett Favre’s career has been over the past two decades. This guy was their QB while I first started growing pubes, and he was the QB the first time I kissed a girl when I turned 26. Now my pubes are grey, much like Brett’s hair, and the Packers are a front runner to return to the Super Bowl.

Random side note: I was watching There’s Something about Mary the other night and thought two things: 1) This movie is still solid, and holds up very well even though it’s like 10 years old and 2) How could Brett Favre have been in love with Mary when he has a wife and kids? Also, why would he wait around for Mary after getting dumped by her years earlier? He’s an NFL star, and he’s crying over lost poon? What is wrong with this guy? Then I remembered something; Painkillers.

3) Mild Salsa = Seattle Seahawks

I put mild salsa on 90+% of my burritos, and I’m proud of it! It is consistent, it is good, and it enhances my overall burrito experience. It is not overwhelming in any way, and is a good compliment to nearly any burrito configuration. This consistency and ability to blend in with their surroundings reminds me of the Seattle Seahawks, who have amazingly been in the playoffs for 6 consecutive seasons! This is a pretty surprising stat, considering that Seattle was a joke of a football team for decades before their current streak. You’ve gotta respect this team for being able to stay consistently decent when NFL teams fluctuate so freely from year to year.

Mild salsa accomplishes the same thing, by always being there for me, no matter what type of mood I am feeling at Chipotle. While my choice of meat, fixings and tortilla/bol may change on a daily basis, mild salsa is consistently part of my Chipotle order. This reminds me of pretty much everything Seattle does this year. They aren’t as flashy as they used to be, don’t put up good stats, and they really are one of the worst 10-6 teams I can think of in recent memory (Look at their schedule. They would have an RPI of like 120 if they were a college basketball team.)

Even their endorsement contracts are mild in comparison to other NFL players. I can only remember Shaun Alexander being in one commercial this year, and that was with the Fat one from N Sync. Hasselbeck is even worse, only being in a Qwest commercial if my memory serves correctly… and to add insult to injury, his brother gets to bone that hot girl from Survivor. You can have your NFC Championship, Matt, I’ll take Elizabeth in a heartbeat. I have no idea what that has to do with the playoffs or Chipotle.

4) Black Beans = Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I haven’t seen them play at all this year, but somehow the Bucs are 9-7 and earned themselves a 4 seed. That’s pretty darn good for a team that nobody talks about (well, other than Dogg, who has a man crush on Jeff Garcia). Their ability to lurk in the shadows of media attention reminds me most of the Black Beans at Chipotle. Chipotle’s Black Beans taste pretty good, and make a solid contribution to the burrito experience. However, they really don’t stand out as a killer ingredient and for the most part I can take them or leave them. Never in my life have I ever gone to Chipotle and claimed an absolute need to consume Black Beans.

With that said, even though I never crave Black Beans, perhaps it’s something I should be ingesting more frequently. Did you know that Chipotle’s Black Beans only have 130 calories, 1 gram of fat (none saturated) and 9 grams of protein? Those are all pro numbers for a burrito ingredient! On the other hand, this year’s Tampa Bay squad had exactly 0 All Pro selections!

While the Bucs don’t have any all pros, they work well together as a team, and just find a way to win games. This is reminds me of the two months in 2005 when I would eat a can of black beans as my entire dinner, and I never felt healthier. They are filling enough to keep you from having cravings later in the night, they taste decent, and they are nutritious. Simply put, they got it done for me. In fact, if it weren’t for the violent spats of ass perfume attributed to the beans, they would have become my staple. Since Tampa is my February home, I wish I could say the same for the Buccaneers. With Black Beans, you’re going to experience some serious gas. With the Bucs, I think their playoff hopes will run out of gas in Round 1.

5) Salad = New York Giants

For the girliest possible thing you can eat at Chipotle, I nominate the girliest player in the NFL, Eli Manning. I have had a vendetta out for this guy ever since the 2004 Draft when he pouted at the podium while holding up his San Diego Chargers jersey. Cry me a river you fucking baby. Go eat a salad, you fucking tossers. In fact, go eat 10. It’ll just prove that you and the Giants are a bunch of lightweights who don’t deserve 1/10 of the attention you receive.

If the Giants weren’t in New York, nobody would care about them. They are the team that I hate the most in the NFL (even more than the Packers). Ever since they stole our signals and beat us 41-0 in the 2000 NFC championship, I have been openly rooting for them to fail in every way possible.

For example, I hope that Tiki Barber fails at announcing because people kept complaining that his teeth were too white for their HD television set. I also hope that it comes out that Najeh Davenport actually pooped in Jeremy Shockey’s clothes hamper when they were teammates at Miami. FNY.

6) Tomatillo Green Chile Salsa (Medium Hot) - Washington Redskins

The second hottest salsa available at Chipotle is much like the second hottest team in the NFL; the Washington Redskins. Ever since the tragic death of Sean Taylor, this team has been on fire. If not for the Patriots, this team could easily be considered the hottest team in the NFL right now, and for good reason. They are doing what they need to do to win games against playoff bound teams (although the Dallas game should have an * attached).

I don’t think they will go very far in the playoffs, since they don’t really carry their weight when compared to the other playoff teams, and I’m not really sure how far they can go playing purely on emotion (Todd Collins on the road at Qwest Field? I don’t think so). This is a lot like how I feel about the medium-hot salsa at Chipotle. Sure, it’s pretty good, and there are times where I really get fired up about it, but there are so many other options to put into the burrito, that the medium-hot rarely sees the light of day.

When I’m in line at Chipotle, and I have my choice of salsa and other ingredients, medium-hot doesn’t stand a chance. Neither do the Redskins in this years playoffs. They are the feel good story of the second half of the season, but unfortunately, that will most likely lead to an early exit from the playoffs; not unlike the “early exit” some of us experience shortly after consuming the tomatillo green chile salsa.

Bonus/Honrorable Mention

Barbacoa and Carnitas = Minnesota Vikings

*Note, I wrote this after the Vikings win in week 15 made them 8-6 and the playoffs seemed like a sure thing. Boy was I wrong! Feel free to laugh at my analysis in retrospect!

The Barbacoa and Carnitas at Chipotle are among the most unknown, yet most fulfilling items on the Chipotle menu. While one is made of beef (Barbacoa) and the other is pork (Carnitas), both are cooked slowly and marinated in spices until they are ready for the prime time. Once the flavors start to join together, the Barbacoa and Carnitas begin make up some of the tastiest ingredients in a Chipotle burrito. This reminds me of my beloved Vikings, who are a team that over the past two seasons have added several positive ingredients to help rebuild their team. This has helped them clean up their act, and now they are doing their best to build a team for the future.

I’ll be the first to admit that the Vikings have had some troubles over the past few years (a sex boat, lots of player arrests, a certified mentally retarded coach, a fat Billionaire owner from Texas, players not playing hard, QB’s getting their “roll on” after every pedestrian TD, an All Pro OT’s premature death, an All Pro Center’s season ending hernia, stairwell lovin’, bad play calling, starting untested QB’s, and Fred Smoot sucking ass). However, since Zygi Wilf took over, this team has completely changed their course starting with the 2006 season. Watching these guys 16 games a year, I keep on forgetting that it hasn’t even been 2 seasons since we started rebuilding.

It is the rebuilding of the Vikes that I feel most resembles the Barbacoa and Carnitas from Chipotle. With the Barbacoa, you start fresh with a beef roast and braise it with Chipotle Adobo, cumin, cloves, garlic and oregano. Similarly, the Carnitas involve searing naturally raised pork, and then braising it for hours in the finest seasonings available. The Vikings started fresh with a base of a few solid (and morally sound) players, and then drafted players and signed free agents to fill their holes. The Vikings who remained after the 2005 season were the beef/pork, and the players we drafted and free agents we signed are the spices that make everything taste great.

Throw the meat and the spices together, and braise it for a LONG period of time and the final product begins to take form. At Chipotle, this is a daily process of flavors blending together, and the recipe always yields perfection. With the Vikings, it is a little different. Unfortunately, things aren’t as cut and dry in the National Football League as they are in the restaurant business. You can add all of the proper elements, but timing is always the most important factor. For an NFL team, it often takes years for the ingredients to meld together and produce positive results. Unfortunately, during this time, it’s almost impossible to be a fan of your team while they are “rebuilding”. Even if you realize that there is a formula for the success of your favorite football team, it’s nearly impossible to watch them on a weekly basis. At the 9 week point of this season, I had given up hope on the Vikings being competitive this season. They were 3-6 and had just been blown out by the Packers.

Then something happened. The Vikings stopped sucking. Purple Jesus became the subject of our collective football wet dreams, the Williams sisters played their best tennis since Wimbledon, T Jax actually resembled a capable NFL QB, Troy Williamson was benched, EJ Henderson was like “Napoleon who?”, Darren Sharper reinvigorated himself, and Antoine Winfield decided to place the name “Fragile” on his jersey (he must be Italian). All of the sudden, the Vikings were no longer “rebuilding”, but instead they were living in the NOW.

Call it an easy schedule, call it a fluke… but don’t call me late for a Barbacoa bol with Guacamole and chips. The Vikings may not win a game in this years playoffs, but we are already beginning to see some major positive effects since my man Zygi took over 2 years ago. Go Vikes!


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