Before the sun rose on the morning of Jan. 31, while most were still in bed or perhaps preparing for work, 22,000 inebriated Philadelphia fans covered the parking lot of the Wells Fargo Center, tailgating and beginning to enter the stadium for the main event.
When the Eagles don’t make the Super Bowl, Philadelphia gets its entertainment on Super Bowl weekend in a different form.
For the unfamiliar, Wing Bowl is a chicken wing eating contest put on by radio station WIP where competitors eat as many wings as they can, as fast as they can, in two 14-minute rounds followed by one two-minute round.
In addition to the professional competitors was a special competition for 14 minutes between the Big 5 schools. A brave competitor from La Salle, St. Joseph’s, Temple, Villanova and our very own Quakers duked it out for bragging rights and a Chrysler 200.
Penn football’s Sebastian “The Polish Punisher” Jaskowski downed 78 wings in those 840 seconds.
The senior defensive back can now add to his two Ivy League titles, 2012 first-team All-Ivy and academic accolades with a Big 5 Wing Bowl championship.
While the average commuter got into their car to go to work, these competitors paraded around the home of the 76ers, accompanied by scantily dressed women. While the wing eating is part of the spectacle, it is certainly not everything.
The women are just as big of an attraction, and it’s not just those on the floor of the event. In commercial breaks the camera pans around the audience selecting a female to zoom in on, and the expectation is for her to flash the camera (which results in cheers), but if she doesn’t, the audience boos her.
This was the scene at a sold-out Wells Fargo Center this past Friday morning.
But by 10 a.m., the contest was over and Wing Bowl newbie and mother of four Molly Schuyler had eaten 363 wings in a span of 30 minutes.
This 5-foot-7, 125-pound contender was the only female entered in the competition and the second in its 22-year history to take home the crown. She also set a new record, surpassing Takeru Kobayashi’s 337 wings in 2012.
Last year’s champion, James “The Bear” McDonald was competing to defend his title but could not keep his wings down long enough to stay in the competition.
Extravagant, bold and boisterous, the Wing Bowl gives off an in-your-face vibe that could scare off those with weaker sensibilities — or stomachs.
But for others, the event is as much engrained into Philly culture as cheese steaks and the Eagles that such questions don’t even enter their minds.
Either way, Wing Bowl XX came and went, satisfying Philly fans for another year, until they get to do it all over again.
The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Schuyler was the first female to win the competition. She is the second. The DP regrets this error.