A Column on Wing Bowl’s Successful Run and Collision Course with the #MeToo Movement

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RIP Wing Bowl.

It was a wildly successful 26-year run for Philadelphia’s gluttonous wing-eating competition, an event that began in a hotel lobby and ballooned into a nationally recognized showcase that had to be moved to a capacity 19,000 basketball and ice hockey arena. It ballooned like Molly Schuyler’s stomach after devouring 75 chicken wings.

My fondest memories of Wing Bowl include the after party at Cheerleaders a few years ago, where I had the experience of seeing Coolio perform “Fantastic Voyage” surrounded by strippers at 9:00 in the morning. I also once spotted my former boss putting women’s underwear on his head and there was that one time I shared a limo with a Haitian guy named “Vladimir” that took us from Delilah’s to Tony Luke’s in the middle of a light February snow shower. And there was that other time that a former Philadelphia media mogul fell asleep in a VIP booth at one of the aforementioned strip clubs.

Ask anybody who went to Wing Bowl even once over the past quarter century and they probably have similar stories of ridiculousness to share. That’s what Wing Bowl was. It was ridiculous. Maybe it was also douchey and lecherous, but that’s what made it popular during the heyday of the event. The Eagles weren’t a Super Bowl contender, so the Wing Bowl was the best thing that the 25 to 54 white male sports fan demographic had going for it in Philadelphia.

To those points, I see a lot of stuff floating around on social media, suggestions that WIP was wary of continuing Wing Bowl during a time when the #metoo movement is prominent in American culture. Angelo Cataldi is getting set to retire, so maybe that also has something to do with it. I don’t know the full or exact reason for pulling the plug. Maybe it’s a combination of those two things, and also the fact that the event was just sort of running its course. It’s always exciting to see your favorite band for the first time, but it’s not the same when you see them for the fifth time, unless you’re a Bruce Springsteen fan, in which case show #57 is just as good as show #4.

Still, I’d point out that that no woman was ever forced to become a “wingette” or stand on the arena floor and subject themselves to cat calls and incessant shouts of “show us your tits” from drunk suburbanites on a Friday morning. If Wing Bowl “objectified women,” as the protesters outside the arena used to say, then a lot of the objectification could have been prevented by, you know, not participating. You can’t blame the victim when the victim willingly signed up to become the victim.

This morning, Ava Graham shared a photo from 11 years ago, when she herself participated in Wing Bowl:

The tweet was deleted, I think because she was getting a bunch of bullshit from people, and replaced with this:

It was her choice to participate, and she enjoyed it, yet people still have a problem with it.

That’s not to say that some of the crowd behavior was justified, because it wasn’t. I don’t think anybody condones acting like an asshole at this kind of event, and if you grab someone’s ass or grope them in section 125, then you should probably be out the door in handcuffs and explaining your behavior to a judge. That’s the distinction between illegal and loathsome debauchery and someone like porn star Nicole Aniston deciding to wear a two-piece on the arena floor, because she knows exactly what she’s getting herself into.

All of that is why I feel like the Wing Bowl criticism is somewhat off-base, because you’ve got left wingers and feminists ragging on women who are making their own decisions as responsible and grown adults. Then you’ve got idiots on the other side who don’t see anything wrong with being womanizing douchers, proving for the one-millionth time that this country needs to move back to the middle where it belongs.

Ultimately, when you consider the political and cultural climate in 2018 America, I think the smart decision is to just avoid the muck altogether. Wing Bowl probably isn’t worth the risk, and if you’re an organizer, you’re thinking to yourself, “you know what, we’re just asking for trouble by reprising this environment for the 27th straight year, so why don’t we just pull the plug and move on?” 

Wing Bowl was the brain child of Al Morganti, who thought that Philadelphia needed something to look forward to in February since the Eagles definitely weren’t winning the Super Bowl. Now that they finally have that first ring, you really don’t need Wing Bowl anymore, do you?

So you can say what you want about the cultural side of Wing Bowl, but you can’t deny that it was a BRILLIANT radio promotion. Cataldi and Morganti and company grew this thing from a small local event to a behemoth money maker, one that brought in $750,000 to one million dollars annually, according to an insider who would know these things. You have to give credit to Angelo and WIP for turning this thing into a piece of Philadelphia lore that drew national attention and snowballed into one of the most successful media promotions in the entire country.

Maybe Wing Bowl’s legacy beyond that is the thing that nobody ever talks about, which is the numerous charitable donations made to various organizations across the region. As an example, WIP has donated thousands of dollars to the Philadelphia FOP Survivor’s Fund, which helps families of police officers who are injured or killed in the line of duty.

Here’s an event that started as nothing and evolved into a cultural phenomenon. No, it wasn’t a shining beacon of altruism, but if you want a lasting image of Wing Bowl, forget about the wings and breasts and use this one instead:



46 Responses

  1. I am old enough to remember when CrossingBroad use to blog about the comings and goings of Philadephia sports in a comedic way. Now they do not produce any good material just generic recaps and political talk. It is just sad that it ruins the blog that loved it so much.

    1. I’d say a nationally recognized Philly event “going” after 26 years qualifies as a legit story regardless of what you thought of the event or think of its reasons for ending. (Oops, sorry, is my comment not comedic enough for ya, chief?)

  2. What is Bill “Cocaine Dealer – El Wingador” Simmons going to do now?!

  3. I never went. Never wanted to. Getting drunk in the morning with a bunch of d-bags just never appealed to me. Hooting at 5’s that think they are 10’s needs a lot of alcohol. Dealing with drunks looking for a fight….etc…

    All that said – I appreciated having it in Philly. It was unique. It was Philly. It was fun. It was stupid. It was funny and sad at the same time.

    It was a loser fest. But they were our losers.

    1. you my friend sound like a loser, a bitch and a soft ass clown. wingbowl was awesome. i’ll never forget the time someone launched a full can of beer from the nosebleeds down into the pit and smoked a stripper on top of her head. she went down in a matter of seconds..i wonder if she’s alive. anyway, it was awesome!

          1. I never went either, but I’m on Cheesedick’s side on this one.

        1. Meh. One morning of debauchery with friends never hurt anybody after working Monday-Thursday.

    1. my favorite memory is when Mac and Mac were supposed to broadcast live from Finnegan’s Wake after one of the Wing Bowls. They had technical difficulties and had to move the show back to the station. Macnow sounded like he was going to cry when they finally got it straightened out and threw it back to him and Jody now back at the station. I can still him whining “Hi guys,” sounding like Snuffaluffagus

  4. I’ve heard rumors that Entercom is a lot more tight-assed than CBS so that may play into it.

      1. No charge for that one, Kevin. 🙂

        I’m a regular listener of Mike Valenti on 97.1 in Detroit, also an Entercom property- and he’s made reference to them being cheap and also uninterested in doing anything interesting.

        1. I just love that the author of the column is interacting with a guy named “You Got AIDS”

  5. Good fucking riddance to this completely obscene and inhumane bird slaughter fest that celebrated nothing but the very vile and gluttonous impulses of humanity. And just because women ‘signed up for it ‘, doesn’t make any of the rampant misogyny okay. The whole event was nothing but an embarrassing and abhorrent stain on the city of Philadelphia.

    1. This.

      Cisgender white male Kinker isn’t 4 for 4 and will never be. Typical “let’s meet in the middle” false equivocating knee jerk liberals who get offended about everything (annoying but harmless) to Gab users who “take matters into their own hands.”

      1. Next time just write what you are trying to say. Gibberish never really helps when you are stretching to make some ridiculous point.

        Somehow the article was political for you. Pull your head out. You may be able to see better.

      2. This is the douche that reads everything Kinkead writes and then whines about it. Such a loser

  6. Loved seeing the wt yell at the coked up strippers like they are 10’s

  7. My Best wing bowl moment –
    Watching mike miss attack his producer post wing bowl at
    Finnegans Wake. Think it was 2006. Wish there were smart phones back then

  8. The closest I came was driving past around 6 AM on the way to the airport for the 05 Super Bowl. Ironically the airline was Hooters Air – and brother was that false advertising as it’s finest.

  9. It was a gross scene. But it was what it was. I dont know what anyone expected when they went. It was a bunch of fat people eating as much as possible, while a bunch of girls walked around in risque attire. It’s not that complicated. I am glad it’s gone because it seemed like it was stale. But the fact that they gave to numerous charities is awesome. Good on them. At least they donated some of their proceeds. 97.5 makes up fan giveaways at their rip off event. For weeks they talked about giving away 50k to someone waiting in line. After the event, they never mentioned it. The day of no mention on their site. People asking where it was. Total con job.

  10. I’ll never forget Coatesy pretty much passed out at Club Risque at a table with Morganti and Keith Jones at like noon. I wonder who got to carry him home. With his bad knees, I can’t see it being Jones.

  11. Kevin – completely agree with your assessments on the feminists. I am a liberal myself ftr. However, I believe people have every right to make their own choices. The women who participated made their own. It was an affirmative choice. It certainly wasn’t for money. They wanted to have a good time. I am anti-trump to the core but many people on the left need to get a life.

  12. What reasons did WIP provide for ending it? Might be helpful information to include in an article about Wingbowl ending.

      1. Inaccurate. Their official story is that it had run its course and is “no longer necessary” since the Eagles finally won the Super Bowl. *Obviously* more to it than that, but that’s the story that they all agreed to tell on-air this morning.

  13. How will Dirty Grandpa Angelo find his supply of strippers now?? Eva Gudonis Graham is one nasty looking woman. Looks like Big Daddy with bugger boobs! What is Angelo’s second wife going to do with herself now that Wing Bowl has ended. Prepping the strippers was her gig. Sleeping with Angelo………..she went for the dirty money!!

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