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Why Do Americans Eat Chicken Wings on Super Bowl Sunday?

Jett Barnett

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If your favorite team didn't make it to Super Bowl LVII, don't worry. You can always use the day as an excuse to overindulge.

According to SportMediaWatch, over 100 million Americans watch the Super Bowl every year on TV.

This year won't be different either, as millions of fans will be glued to their TV sets to watch the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Kansas City Chiefs.

But one important thing to note is the staggering amount of food consumed on Super Bowl Sunday.

On average, Americans consume about 12.5 million pizzas, 325 million gallons of beer, and hundreds of millions of pounds of avocado (mainly in the form of guacamole) on Super Bowl weekend alone.

Among the most iconic of modern football foods is undoubtedly the chicken wing.

In 2022, The National Chicken Council estimated that Americans consumed 1.42 billion wings while watching Super Bowl LVI.

As much as the halftime show or celebrity product endorsements, chicken wings are an important part of football.

But that hasn't always been the case.

So, how did it all come about?

Well, the connection between football and chicken wings goes back to the late 70s with the advent of satellite television and sports bars.

The first sports bar called Legends opened in Long Beach, California, in 1979. It took advantage of TV broadcasting and encouraged patrons to park themselves in front of the television and watch live footage of whatever game was playing that night.

Sports fans were watching hours of football in the evenings and were often hungry. They needed something that was substantial enough to replace a meal, but that could easily be shared with friends.

Ribs were too expensive for sports bars and pizza — well, pizza tends to lose its charm if it sits on a table for too long.

Chicken wings, meanwhile, ticked every box.

Back then, in the 80s, Americans preferred chicken breast and thighs. The wings and legs were generally undesirable, making them very cheap. So, bar owners bought the wings, tossed them in a spicy and salty sauce, and sold them to fans who ate them while drinking beer.

Soon, wings became very popular among football fans not only in sports bars but also at home. The business was successful, and soon similar establishments began popping up across the country.

In an interesting twist, football's connection with wings has helped increase not just its popularity but also bumped its price over the years.

Chicken wings have gone from being the least desirable parts of chicken to one of the most expensive bone-in cuts of chicken per pound.

Every year, the demand for wings spikes in early February during Super Bowl week, why?

Well, because you just cannot have a Super Bowl party without chicken wings.




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