Originally Published: January 25, 2016 6 a.m.
Football. Once again it is that time of year when we Americans obsess over who will make it to the Super Bowl. By the time you read this column, the fate of our beloved Cardinals will have been decided. Either we got smashed by the Panthers or survived to fight another day. And that Super Day is not just a sports event. It is a cultural phenomenon that sweeps the country. Starting out in our kitchens!
We will have consumed about 100 billion chicken wings just watching the playoffs. But on Super Bowl Sunday we Americans will eat over 125 billion wings! That would be enough chicken wings to fill up 1,083,333 football fields! Oh yea, but we won't stop there. Domino's Pizza will deliver 11 million slices of pizza on that one afternoon! And to wash it all down? How about 325 million gallons of beer?
Football is not a game. It is a sensation! We will not be derailed by current events or nightly news. ISIS attacks? We'll worry later! Donald Trump has said something? Don't really care! The stock market is tanking? Oh well! We have more important things to think about! There is rushing, passing, unnecessary roughness, tackling, kicking and touchdowns to consider. And if we are lucky, our team will win.
We don't even need to have a home team in the Final to still pick a favorite. Super Bowl Sunday is not just a game, it is a spectacle, a show, a never-ending food fest. It is the second largest American food consumption day of the year, right behind Thanksgiving. We will eat all manner of unhealthy, fattening, tasty things that we rarely bother with the rest of the year. Which is a very good thing, because we'd all blow up like blimps if we kept it up. Fortunately, Super Bowl Sunday only comes once a year.
I might get some Velveeta and make one of those delicious cheese dips. My daughter says Velveeta is made by the devil and is nothing more than yellow chemicals. My girlfriend says the thought of Velveeta makes her ill and it should be banned as a food product. My grandson says Velveeta is not even cheese! My nurse friend says that Velveeta could clog our arteries faster than you can scream, "Touchdown!" I say, "Foul!" Dice up the yellow log of God knows what, add a little salsa and microwave for a minute. Heaven waits. Are tortilla chips fattening? Oh why ask.
This Big Game has certainly evolved from the early days of football. Derived from English rugby, American football was started in 1879 with rules instituted by Walter Camp, a player and coach at Yale University. Actually, football has its roots in soccer, which was played 200 years B.C. when Chinese players kicked pig bladders or skulls (hope not human) back and forth. In fact, entire villages got involved and one game lasted three days with 900 players! Now that would have been fun to watch! From pig bladders to pigskins ... we have come a long way.
Okay, so we Americans have taken the Super Bowl to new gastronomical levels. Maybe we stuff ourselves because our team didn't make it. Or maybe one Big Day of nonstop eating without having to baste a turkey, make the pies and get out the good china is what we really like. But if we are lucky, we will have the chance to witness greatness. A quarterback will throw the long bomb 75 yards and it will be caught on the fly in a "how did they do that" moment. Or we might see Larry Fitzgerald run like a robot through a field of giant-sized men who cannot block, grab or stop him. And if all goes well, we will see the two best teams in the NFL thrash it out with no bad referee calls and no injuries.
So the playoffs are over. One game left. One blissful day or tragic heartbreak depending on which jersey you are wearing. For my friends and family who are healthy, I will make a tray of carrots and celery sticks. For the rest of us, I will have as much artery-clogging snacks as possible. Dear Readers, I hope your favorite team makes the cut and goes on to win. It would be quite the party if the Cardinals make it past the Panthers! If not, we can drown out our blues with 325 million gallons of beer. One glass at a time. Game on!
Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a story of a comment? Email Judy at email@example.com.