Wanna bet? Food, pride at stake for politicians in Super Bowl - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Wanna bet? Food, pride at stake for politicians in Super Bowl

The late Sen. Teddy Kennedy (D-MA) won the friendly wager he made with then-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA).(Source: Rick Santorum's office) The late Sen. Teddy Kennedy (D-MA) won the friendly wager he made with then-Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA).(Source: Rick Santorum's office)
Last year, the mayors of Boston and New York offered travel packages for citizens of the winning city.(Source: AP) Last year, the mayors of Boston and New York offered travel packages for citizens of the winning city.(Source: AP)

(RNN) - Mayors, senators and governors put pride - as well as food and other goods - on the line in the modern tradition of friendly Super Bowl wagers.

Though four Democratic senators have a lot in common when it comes to public policy, this year they differ when it comes to the big game.

"While the 49ers may come in red and gold, they'll be seeing nothing but purple when they leave!" proclaimed Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin of Maryland in a joint release addressed to Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer of California

The Maryland senators are betting "delicious Faidley's crab cakes, Berger cookies and a cold bottle of Heavy Seas beer to wash down the delicious taste of defeat. And so they won't look ruffled after the Ravens prevail, Senator Barb will even throw in a can of one of Baltimore's favorite hair sprays."

Feinstein and Boxer did not shy away from the challenge.

"We have full confidence that the San Francisco 49ers will strike gold - and the Baltimore Ravens will flutter away in defeat - as we claim our sixth Super Bowl title," they boasted in response.

They countered with an offer of "delicious Dungeness crab, Napa Valley wine, San Francisco's finest sourdough bread and a selection of Northern California cheeses."

To add a little more fuel to the fire, the California senators explained, "We feel that it is only fitting that crab is on the menu since you are likely to be feeling very crabby after a tough loss by your Ravens."

Across the aisle

Politicians making friendly wagers on sports events is a modern tradition that bridges party divisions via a short-lived, big-game rivalry.

Last year, U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) challenged U.S. Rep. Nan Haywork (R-NY), with the loser having to wear the winning jersey for a day on Capitol Hill, something Cicilline did when the New England Patriots fell to the New York Giants.

Although the two had no common ground when it came to the NFL, both congressmen are co-founders of the Common Ground Caucus, whose members attempt to build relationships across party lines.

The late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) made a similar bet in 2005 with his ideological opposite, the sweater vest aficionado, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA).

Santorum was as successful in his wager as he was in garnering the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Decked out in Patriots gear, he treated Kennedy and his staff to Geno's Philly cheesesteaks when the Philadelphia Eagles fell to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.

Dancing, shoveling and Tebowing

Politicians need not have their team reach the Super Bowl to experience the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat.

As a part of his bet with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said he'd perform linebacker Ray Lewis' pregame dance if the Broncos lost to the Ravens during the playoffs, according to the Denver Post.

He kept his side of the bargain and posted his dance on YouTube via his official YouTube channel.

As a result of the Green Bay Packers' win over the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl had to shovel snow while wearing a Green Bay Packers Super Bowl shirt to satisfy his bet with Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt.

Ravenstahl performed another humbling act last year, according to The Atlantic. He donned a Denver Broncos Tim Tebow jersey and was photographed Tebowing after Pittsburgh lost a playoff game.

Many winners

In wagers involving local food or fun, the businesses involved come out on top, whether their teams win or lose, because of the publicity.

Last year, when the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, a random New York family was treated to New England hospitality via a prize package offered by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. The swag included a stay at the Ritz Carlton, dinner at Legal Sea Foods and box seats to a Bruins or Celtics game.

Charities were winners as well. An assortment of New England goodies were delivered to a food bank in the Bronx, according to the New York Giants website, as NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo won his bet with Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

In a show of sportsmanship, New York companies involved in the wager donated their food items to food banks in both New York and Massachusetts.

Baltimore's homeless benefited from the Ravens' AFL Championship win against the New England Patriots, as an assortment of New England food, courtesy of Menino, was delivered to a Baltimore homeless shelter, including live lobsters, according to WBAL-TV.

Arts and parks

Art museums have also taken part in past friendly wagers. The Milwaukee Art Museum received a loan of an oil-on-canvas work by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, titled Bathers with Crab, from the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh when the Green Bay Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The Six Flags franchise is anteing up this year.

Presidents of Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, CA, and Six Flags America in Baltimore announced that the park president representing the losing team will have to wear the jersey and cap of the winning team all day.

The management of the losing park also must announce the defeat via a gigantic banner outside the park and social media, as well as provide the winning park with local goodies.


Perhaps the strangest Super Bowl bet occurred in 1983, when the Washington Redskins faced the Miami Dolphins.

In this fabled bet, Virginia Gov. Charles Robb offered a live pig, and Florida Gov. Bob Graham responded by betting 3,000 bees.

When the Dolphins lost, Virginia was buzzing.

Unfriendly wagers

While most find fun, or at least no harm, in friendly wagers, one politician has dissed the practice.

Last year, N.J. Gov. Chris Christie declined to place a friendly bet against the New England Patriots, calling the tradition "stupid" and merely the efforts of "politicians trying to get themselves in the paper," the Wall Street Journal stated.

The governor apparently has no problem with more traditional gambling, as he spearheads an effort to make sports gambling legal in his state. It's being fought by all major sports leagues, according to NPR.

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

  • WALB Online Poll

  • Who do you think will win Super Bowl XLVII?

  • Thank you for participating in our poll. Here are the results so far:

    42 votes
    50 votes

YOUTUBE: Denver Mayor Hancock does the Ray Lewis Dance

Powered by Frankly