If you’re like me, February means only one thing — the Super Bowl has arrived.
This year, Super Bowl LVI will feature a team of destiny, the Cincinnati Bengals, against the hometown heroes, the Los Angeles Rams. In a surprising twist, the game will be played on the second Sunday in February on the 13th, in Inglewood, CA.
But this story isn’t about the teams or even the Super Bowl betting market. For this, we ventured to the South Side of Chicago to ask our favorite White Sox zealots — @fromthe108 — about their yearly traditions on the second Sunday of February.
White Castle burgers and Super Bowl food no-no’s
Part of the Super Bowl party appeal is the opportunity to gather around a television, share a meal, have some drinks, watch commercials and enjoy the halftime show.
Participating in sports betting, especially during the Super Bowl, can work up a hunger. Although there is no shortage of foods one could present during the big game, according to Pat and Chris, growing up, it was all about White Castle.
“We have many of the same shared super bowl experiences,” Chris said in an interview with PlayUSA. “Our dad’s cousin would have a big party every year. And the one thing I remember, it didn’t matter what people were drinking or what food they were eating, an absolute must was White Castle.”
For those uninitiated, White Castle is the famous Midwest burger chain made popular by such films as Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.
“White Castle and tavern-style pizza, those are staples,” Chris said. “But if I walk into a place, and I see fried chicken — I’m like, yes!”
Patrick agreed but also added a good Super Bowl food involves multitasking.
“Around Bridgeport, we have great sandwich shops. So a good half-sandwich is great. You can have a sandwich in one hand and beer in the other,” Patrick said.
In the south side neighborhood of Bridgeport, local favorites include Ricobene’s on 26th & South Princeton Ave. and Punky’s Pizza & Pasta on 26th & South Wallace St.
Super Bowl food fails
Obviously, some foods should never make an appearance at a Super Bowl party. As the 108ers explained it, anything messy has to go.
“No doubt, there will be 4-5 extra people at your party and you do not want that person on the floor eating something messy,” Chris said. “You want that person on the floor eating a chicken leg.”
On the other hand, a no-no party food for Patrick is anything he has to dip.
“When I’m not at home, I stay away from anything I have to dip.” Patrick said. “I’m not trusting dipping sauces I’m not familiar with because I don’t want to get into a one bathroom situation.”
In simplistic terms, the 108ers said, you can open up the playbook a bit more if it’s a home game. But if you’re on the road, you play conservative. In other words, don’t trust the barbecue chicken dip.
Obscure small bets
Food plays a significant role in Super Bowl traditions around the US. Still, another favorite tradition of the Ramos brothers is placing hundreds of crazy prop bets.
“Some of our favorites were these cross-sports bets,” Patrick said. “One’s likes — the kicker had to score the same amount of points as an NBA player does rebounds.”
Another fun story told during the one-hour interview involved the 2007 Super Bowl in which the Chicago Bears faced off against the Indianapolis Colts.
“As we got older, we would have these small one-dollar side bets,” Chris said. “I’ll never forget, before the opening kickoff, I looked at Pat and said what odds would you give me on [Devin] Hester returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown?”
Chris said his brother gave him 20-1 odds, so he took the bet.
For those who might not remember, Super Bowl XLI began with the Bears taking the lead only a couple of seconds into the game.
Rookie return man, Devin Hester, ran back the opening kickoff 92-yards for a touchdown, becoming the first and only player in NFL history to do so.
Chris said the whole house erupted in a violent cheer, and he turned and looked at his brother and said,
“Give me my twenty dollars.”
“He was collecting before he even entered the endzone,” Patrick laughed. “It was bet’s like that and the obscure cross-sports bet’s that we enjoyed.”
Why these Super Bowl traditions exist
Traditions are what make sports fun. The Bears versus the Packers, Florida State versus Florida, the Yankees versus the Red Sox.
There is no bigger event than the Super Bowl, capable of bringing people together in this writer’s opinion. This is why these kinds of traditions exist.
So if you learned anything from the 108ers, perhaps it’s to laugh with friends, bring some White Castle, or maybe it’s never, ever, trust the chicken dip.