Unencumbered by election campaign or public relations concerns as an elected official, former Philadelphia Mayor/Pennsylvania Governor and current sports commentator Ed Rendell (above) can sit back and ruminate on achievements during his political career and amongst his personal favorites is his role in facilitating WIPs 20th annual Wing Bowl at Philadelphias Wells Fargo Center. From Philadelphia Sportsweek:
Super Bowl vs. Wing Bowl – which is better? Which do I prefer? That’s easy to answer . . . Wing Bowl! Why? It’s simple because, as a Philadelphian, I have very little nexus with the Super Bowl and the experience I have with it . . . well, frankly, just sucks.
…I also choose the Wing Bowl over the Super Bowl because I had a role in making it what it is today. As many of you know, I’ve been a fairly regular caller into the morning show, starring the bombastic but great entertainer Angelo Cataldi, the caustic and wittily sardonic Al Morganti and the classy, smart Rhea Hughes (what’s she doing at Wing Bowl?).
One day, Angelo wanted me to come to Wing Bowl, which was then at the Electric Factory. I came with a small replica of the Liberty Bell to present to the winner (Eric “Gentleman E” Bell). When I got there, the Factory was bursting at the seams. So I suggested to Angelo that it should be moved to the Spectrum to accommodate all the fun. As part of the deal to build the CoreStates (now Wells Fargo) Center, the city was given the right to use it for 10 days. I believed that this caveat would be great for community groups, but none of them could pay the setup costs. WIP, of course, could and did, and that’s how Wing Bowl became super and eventually took place in front of 20,000 screaming lunatics.
The first year at the Spectrum, I appeared again wanting to see the fruits of my handiwork. I found, much to my surprise, that the Bowl had a new wrinkle – scantily clad, well-endowed Wingettes. They were delightful, but I still wanted to run for governor, so that was, alas, my last Wing Bowl in person, for fear of being photographed among the Wingettes. But my role in making Wing Bowl a special day for our city ranks as one of my proudest achievements…
As far as the actual eating competition, Takeru Kobayashi obliterated the Wing Bowl record by downing 337 wings in front of a hostile “USA…USA” chanting Wells Fargo Center mob. At one point Kobayashi came close to succumbing to the “If you heave, you leave” rule by gagging on one of his wings, but in the end he held it down and left the local competition far behind.