So let's analyze the rooting options for Sunday.
We'll start with Seattle. Playing the villain in this year's Grande Coppa proceedings is Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, whom you may have heard was just a smidge boastful immediately following the most exciting moment of his life. He's now alternately viewed as either a football firebrand lobbing truth grenades -- a Patrick Henry for the CTE set -- or the worst thing to happen to American discourse since someone stuck a mic in front of Ann Coulter's yapper.
Then, there's the Seahawks fans. You may recall them as the ones who only discovered they had a football team some time around late January 2006 yet won't stop whining about allegedly getting jobbed by the refs in Super Bowl XL (rather than admit their team's inability to tackle Willie Parker or defend Hines Ward). And, the franchise brazenly ripped off the 12th man thing from Texas A&M. Plus, Pete Carroll. Yuck.
Of course you'll remember that Denver's Demaryius Thomas trampled all over the Steelers defense sending them to an abrupt death in their last postseason appearance, and thereby setting off this recent era of 8-8 mediocrity (although a Pittsburgh defense that allowed Tim Tebow's one shining NFL moment deserved to lose). Peyton Manning is a convenient hero, but, fair warning: If you hate his terrible Papa John's ads now just wait until he's a two-time "BIG GAME" MVP. However, John Fox got his NFL coaching start under the Emperor Chaz Noll, and that's good enough for us.
Denver it is, then.
Now, where to watch? More importantly, where and what to consume and quaff?
Here's a touchdown (plus an extra point) worth of suggestions as carefully scripted as the first 20 Denver offensive plays, minus any gratuitous shouting of OMAHA!
All of these places have Sunday hours.
You could build your own chicken wing fantasy team here with 26 -- 26! -- flavors to indulge in ranging from classic to honey garlic habañero to Thai spicy peanut, and you can order up to 50 at a time, so if the game is boring you can have a Cool Hand Luke style eat off with your pals. If wings aren't your thing, try the house sandwich, the appropriately punned Bigham, which features no less than six types of pork products. And a bonus -- the Bigham is having a Groundhog Day party on Sunday, too, so if you head there you might just go ahead and call off of work Monday now.
321 Bigham St., Mount Washington; 412-431-9313; www.bighamtavern.com.
Possibly the only more seamless connection than Peyton Manning to Julius Thomas is pizza with craft beer and to that end Caliente in Bloomfield offers some very respectable pies and more often than not a stellar draft list that's not the biggest around but often includes California rarities (in these parts, anyway) like Port Brewing, The Bruery and Firestone Walker.
4624 Liberty Ave., Bloomfield; 412-682-1414; www.pizzadrafthouse.com.
The Smiling Moose
Not unlike the sideways glances given to people who picked the Bengals or Texans to win it all this year (and plenty of alleged NFL pundits actually did) a bar with a metal and punk pedigree might raise a brow as a curious choice of venue to take in the most mainstream of American sporting spectacles, but that wouldn't do justice to the massive 185-inch projection screen downstairs at the Moose, nor the surprisingly borderline gourmet menu (to wit: roasted red pepper and peach bisque or a crisp paneer sandwich with grilled pineapple and and a toasted peanut and sweet chili sauce) and a reliably top notch beer list.
1306 E. Carson St., South Side; 412-431-4668; www.smiling-moose.com.
Blue Line Grille
Like your Super Bowl with a side of hockey memorabilia? Head to the brand new Blue Line Grille, in Uptown, right across from the Consol center. With above-average bar fare (wings and burgers, of course, but also wraps, mussels, crab cakes, fish tacos, lobster rolls, chops and a build-your-own-pizza menu) and a nice tap list, this newcomer fits the bill for Super Sunday.
1014 Fifth Ave., Uptown; 412-281-2583; www.bluelinegrille.com.
If the game is over by halftime, you'll have plenty of other options if you happen to be watching at Latitude 40, a 65,000-square-foot dining, drinking and entertainment establishment. They've got an over-21 club, a comedy club, a restaurant, a live music stage, a cinema, a cigar bar and, oh by the way, an enormous sports bar.
200 Quinn Drive, North Fayette; 412-693-5555; www.latitude40pitt.com.
The Beer Market
Can't decide what to eat? You want a pizza while the lady is insisting on sushi? Head to The Beer Market, across from PNC Park on Federal Street. They have four or five dozen beers on tap and 500 more in bottles, but they don't serve food -- instead, you are welcome and encouraged to order whatever you want from neighboring restaurants, and have it delivered to the market, or bring your own, or partake of the complimentary spread they'll offer on Sunday.
110 Federal St., North Side; 412-322-2337; www.the-beer-market.com.
Then again, if you prefer your football quiet and alone because you don't want to get stuck at the bar next to some gasbag droning on in perpetual cliche about how the Steelers really need to draft for depth, or if you're hosting and don't want to cook, then get a takeout feast from any (or all) of the following Munch favorites:
• Pierogies and Polish delicacies from S&D Polish Deli in the Strip.
• Pulled pork, ribs & brisket from Yinzburgh BBQ in Shadyside.
• Fried chicken from Frisch's in Castle Shannon.
• Tacos from Smoke in Homestead.
• Hoagies from the Carson St. Deli, South Side.
• Fish and chips and meat pies from the Pub Chip Shop, South Side.
Now wash it all down with a growler of delicious, fresh and local ale from Roundabout Brewing in Lawrenceville, Fat Head's Saloon on the South Side or East End Brewing in Larimer (to name just a few).
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