The New England Sports Network asked Marcus Mariota for his Super Bowl LII pick today, but what viewers in the six-state northeast primary viewing area got was …
A how-to course in building Mariota’s favorite Spam dish.
“Back home we call it a ‘Spam musubi,” Mariota told an NESN interviewer. “Basically, what you do is get a block of rice, you put Spam on top of it and you wrap it in seaweed. It is like a Spam sushi, almost. It is a quick bite, something good. ”
Of his Spam tie-in, the Tennessee Titans quarterback told NESN, “You know, it is actually funny. Spam has been part of Hawaii forever and Spam is actually based out of Minnesota, so it kinda worked out.”
Spam is a division or Hormel Foods Corp., whose headquarters and Spam Museum are in Austin, Minn., 99 miles south of U.S. Bank Stadium, the site of Sunday’s Super Bowl.
“Being based in Minnesota, we wanted the Spam brand to be a part of the events and activities leading up to the Big Game on Sunday. We wanted to team up with someone who loves the brand and has a natural tie to it,” said Brian Lillis, Spam brand manager. “As a Hawaii native, the Spam brand reminds Marcus of home, and brings back memories of his mom cooking some of his favorite dishes, like Spam musubi and Spam and eggs. Marcus was the right partner for us and we’re thrilled he was able to be involved in the fun.”
Hawaii residents have been credited with consuming more Spam per capita than any other state, about 5 million pounds a year. “Six cans for every man, woman and child,” National Geographic said.
Mariota, whose commercial endorsement portfolio includes Nissan, Subway, First Hawaiian Bank and Island Insurance, added Spam this week.
Perched next to a can of Spam, Mariota made the four-hour-plus rounds of the so-called “radio row” lineup of media outlets gathered in Minnesota’s Mall of America for the game. In between discussing the touchdown pass he threw to himself in the playoffs — “it just happened; it was instinct” — the new Titan coaching staff, and Super Bowl quarterbacks, Mariota pitched the versatility of Spam. “You can (use it) with a whole bunch of stuff,” Mariota said. “If you ever need a recipe, go to spam.com.”
The Saint Louis School alum donates some of the proceeds from his endorsements to his Motiv8 Foundation. Last season the foundation purchased 1,000 tickets for local youngsters to attend a UH football game at Aloha Stadium and also distributed backpacks and school supplies to Likelike Elementary School students during the summer.
As for his Super Bowl prediction, Mariota, who claimed friends on both rosters, diplomatically said he wasn’t “leaning to either team.”
Mariota said, “I think it should be a good game.”