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foodspring's Super Bowl Food-Off

This year's teams compete to be our first-ever Food-Off Champions.
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Food-Off Results

It's nearly game time, and while we at foodspring anticipate the 45th annual Super Bowl game between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers, we're hosting our own Super Bowl Food-Off between the rival teams. Because everyone knows the biggest highlight of Super Bowl Sunday—right after the game—is the all-day food fest that goes with it.

And what better way for us to put these teams head to head than by testing their respective hometowns' food allegiances? Read on as Pittsburgh and Green Bay face off to see who reigns in the first official foodspring Super Bowl Food-Off.

Green Bay Packers

First Quarter: What's in a Name?

We start by taking a look at the teams themselves. Where does food come into play? The Packers were named for a meatpacking company that sponsored the team when it was co-founded by an employee, Earl "Curly" Lambeau. The Pittsburgh Steelers lack this epicurean pedigree, but make up for it with their home camp, Heinz Field, named for the famous Pittsburgh-based ketchup maker. But the Packers' fanbase pushes its team in the lead with the title of Cheeseheads, an ode to Wisconsin's claim to food fame.

Winner: Green Bay Packers

Pittsburgh Steelers

Second Quarter: State Scrimmage

State pride plays a major role in a team's success (at least in this game), so now we look at what foods scream "Wisconsin" or "Pennsylvania." Wisconsin stands strong thanks to its artisan cheesemakers, producing nearly every variety of cow, goat and sheep's milk cheese, from smoky Goudas to pungent blues; its bratwurst market gives it a few extra yards. But Pennsylvania blindsides America's Dairyland as the unofficial snack capital of the U.S., generating $5.1 billion annually from snack food sales, with more than 2,000 food manufacturers producing more pretzels and potato chips than any other state. And who could forget the deliciously artery-clogging Pittsburgh Sandwich, a heaping pile of pastrami, french fries and cole slaw stuffed between two slices of Italian bread, served in the comfort of the Heinz Stadium. When it comes to Super Bowl party grub, this one's a no-brainer.

Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers

Green Bay Packers

Third Quarter: Brewery Breakdown 

Both cities are home to an array of beers and microbrews. Pittsburgh boasts the historic Iron City Brewing Co. (founded in 1861), as well as East End Brewing Co. and Church Brew Works. Still, the Brewers Association awarded Green Bay's Titletown Brewing Co. the Gold for its Pilsner at the 2010 Great American Beer Fest. Then there's Pizza Beer: Yes, that's pizza and beer, in one delectable gulp. As both are essential food groups for any Super Bowl fiesta, we thought the brew's availability a major factor in this Food-Off. The Packers again destroy the Steelers here, with 50+ locations to a measly one.

Winner: Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers

Fourth Quarter: The Blitzkrieg

We'd be remiss to exclude a good old-fashioned food fight. Here's how the competing cities stacked up.

Web Savvy: Googling the city's name plus “food” brought up 7.55 million results for Pittsburgh, but a whopping 17.3 million for Green Bay; yet the same search on Flickr returned 1,131 images of Pittsburgh foods and a surprisingly small 181 for Green Bay.

Locavore Appeal: According to USDA data, Pittsburgh offers 12 farmers markets to Green Bay's five.

Product Placement: As celebrities, athletes often scoop up some marketing deals with major brands, and some of these players have turned up in a variety of ways. Former Steeler "Mean" Joe Greene appeared in a classic Coke commercial, which first aired in 1979, and the current team's Troy Polamalu appeared in a modern remake of the ad for Coke Zero in 2009. On the Packers side, Green Bay boasts an entire restaurant commemorating former Packer Brett Favre (located on an eponymous street); wide receiver Greg Jennings appeared in A&W Restaurants' Perfect Pair campaign, in which the restaurant would offer 85-cent burgers if Jennings scored a touchdown (he didn't); and running back Rashard Mendenhall is acting spokesperson for the NFL's Play 60 movement, campaigning to fight childhood obesity—bonus points for countering all the consumption surrounding this big day.

Winner: Green Bay Packers

AND THE WINNER IS: GREEN BAY PACKERS

 
A close call, but coming out on top in 3 of the 4 quarters makes the Green Bay Packers our first foodspring Super Bowl Food-Off Champions! Consider this our very scientific prediction for game day.—Eva Meszaros


Eva Meszaros is the associate editor of foodspring.com
 and author of foodspring’s
food for thought blog.

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