Looking for a new Super Bowl tradition

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By Dan Johnson

For as long as I can remember, I’ve spent Super Bowl Sunday doing two things.

One, of course, is watching the game. And for the few anti-football types out there, you missed a heck of a game. Not as great as last year’s, but still, a really good game.

The second thing I’ve always done on Super Bowl Sunday is eat chicken wings.

Now, I don’t know how the tradition started in the Johnson household, but, I was certainly happy my father brought it into existence.

Since most years the New York Giants weren’t involved in the big game, the thought of munching down on a plate full of chicken wings was something I always looked forward to. I still contend that New York is home to the biggest and best chicken wings around — probably not a shock since the chicken wing got its start in Buffalo.

As I’ve grown older (I turn 30 in a couple of weeks, so rest assured I’ll be writing about that soon), the chicken wing has been there to not only help me enjoy the big game, but to help me think back and enjoy thoughts of home while I’m thousands of miles away.

Even last year, as my beloved Giants were making history, I was somehow able to scarf down some tasty wings — although, looking back, perhaps 2008 was a harbinger of things to come.

The chicken wing tradition almost died last year. My wife was good enough to call ahead a few days before the game and place an order, which was to be picked up about an hour before the game. As the clock inched closer to kickoff my wife, and the chicken wings, were nowhere in sight. Just as the National Anthem struck its final note, my wife entered the doorway, wings in hand.

Apparently, the place we ordered the wings from had “misplaced” her order and so she was unceremoniously sent to the back of the line while they cooked up our order.

Wouldn’t you know that something similar, at a different restaurant, happened this year?

Once again, we called in our order ahead of time. I was the one responsible for the pickup and when I arrived, I saw a long line of customers. Not unusual, as chicken wing consumption picks up annually this time of year.

Our order wasn’t lost, but it wasn’t on time, either. All told, I spent nearly an hour waiting for our wings and just like last year, made it home with only seconds to spare.

Funny, looking back, I never recall being stressed out waiting for wings at home. Of course, knowing my dad, he probably placed his order a week ahead of time and then planned on picking them up right when the business opened, instead of waiting until closer to kickoff. I can’t picture my dad dealing with that aggravation voluntarily.

So, while the chicken wings tasted great, I think it might be time to go in a new direction. The wing has seen me through good games and bad, but, seeing as how I’ve come tantalizingly close to missing actual game action the past two years while waiting for our order to arrive, I think I need to find something that won’t leave me sweating — unless the recipe calls for it.

Maybe next year I’ll grill out some burgers and hot dogs, foods that I know will be warm and on my plate, and served up without a side order of stress.