No, it wasn't a visit to the kitchen at Miami's iconic Joe's Stone Crabs that converted Richman - although he is intrigued by the prospect of setting up a food challenge at the iconic Miami Beach establishment. One man by the name of Dan Marino succeeded in making Richman bleed aqua and orange instead of the green and white of the New York Jets. Richman has a history in South Florida. He was in town in February 2010 for a Super Bowl weekend special two-hour live telecast of his show. Richman visited Shula's Steakhouse in the Alexander Hotel on Miami Beach to eat their trademark 48-ounce porterhouse steak in less than 20 minutes. Normally there is no time limit set and it is just that one needs to eat the huge steak. Richman set a record by eating the 48ounce porterhouse steak with 3 minutes and 23 seconds left. It is reported that around 80,000 people have so far taken up the challenge, and less than half of them could win. Richman has successfully created his own food legacy in the mold of his sports hero, Marino.
How exactly does a kid from Brooklyn end up rooting for the Miami Dolphins?
Richman: Great question. My older cousin Keith is the closest thing I have to a big brother, and he was an amazing athlete all through his life and he dug the Dolphins. That was part of it. But ultimately the reason I’m a Miami Dolphins fan is because of Dan Marino. I remember my late father, who was the biggest football fan I have ever known, used to stress when I was younger that win or lose, you always have to compete with honor. And I remember at a young age really being struck by Marino. I always remember that if the Dolphins lost, he took it on himself. If someone else struggled, if (Mark) Clayton or (Mark) Duper didn’t have it that week, or his O-line caved in and they were hitting him with blitzes like when (Mark) Gastineau was playing, he never threw anyone under the bus. And when there were moments when he absolutely was the catalyst for victory, when he would make a pass between a cornerback and a receiver that was like the size of an apartment mailbox, he always gave credit to the receivers and his line. He was always the model of dignity. Marino is also very involved with autism because of his first-hand experience with his son. Since the good Lord has given me the opportunity to give back, I’m also very involved with autism charities. To know that Dan, a guy who played arguably the most brutal sport on the planet, has dedicated his life to knowing what autism means and help to minimize its effects, that’s football spirit.
Aside from Dan, who are some of your other favorite players?
Richman: I also loved Ricky Williams, and I wish he had come along a decade earlier. Imagine Marino with a running game! I also met Drew Brees, and he's a real football player both on and off the field. My good friend Bobby McCray used to play for the Saints, and I met Brees and you'd think he was the Maytag repairman. He was warm, kind, and gave everyone equal treatment. He even sent me a message on Twitter! There are very few players that I think hold that standard, in terms of first meeting them.
Being a football fan for most of your life, what are some of your most memorable NFL moments?
Richman: It's the little moments for me, like when Herschel Walker made that run without his shoe in Minnesota. It's Drew Brees kissing his son after winning the Super Bowl. It was Marino breaking the yardage and touchdown records, or Jason Witten making that run after the catch without his helmet. I also remember Eli Manning's escape against the Patriots (in Super Bowl XLII). I was at a party with a friend of mine, and I remember looking around the room at a bunch of strangers and we were all like clinging to each other and jumping up and down in disbelief. Then all of the sudden there's that (David) Tyree catch against his helmet. It was like, did Cirque De Soleil draw up this play?