Jason: Eating dad’s chili, ignoring the game mark revival of Offut Super Bowl tradition

By Jason Offutt

There’s a tradition in the Offutt household that stretches back to the year I was born. On Super Bowl Sunday, Dad made chili and the family sat down to watch the game.
Yeah, I know. This is the same tradition that’s been played out in households across America since 1965. Just let me have this. My family doesn’t have many traditions apart from the Super Bowl, drinking beer and yelling at neighbors.
For me Super Bowl Sunday was special, it was the one day I ever saw my father cook anything that wasn’t outside over a fire. It was like seeing a lumberjack cuddle a lamb.
After I grew up and had my own house and my own family, I too began to cook chili every Super Bowl Sunday and enjoy it heartily. Unfortunately, this stoic Offutt tradition never meant anything to anyone but me.
Until now.
This was the first year in my house the entire family actually wanted to sit and watch the Super Bowl with me.
It turned out to be a tale of four Super Bowls:

Super Bowl XLVIII: Diary of Mom
5:23 p.m.: When’s the game going to start? (5:25.)
5:26: (Sits back and begins reading a book.)
6:30: (Eats chili.)
6:40: (Starts reading book again.)

Super Bowl XLVIII: Diary of a 7-Year-Old Girl
5:24 p.m.: When’s this stupid game going to start?
5:30: I’m hungry. When’s supper?
5:40: Which teams are playing?
5:44: I don’t like the replays. They’re stupid.
5:48: (Time out.) Where’s the football game? I don’t like these people talking. (Apparently expert game analysis is not her cup of tea.)
5:54: Talk, talk, talk. Blah, blah, blah. (Neither is color commentary.)
5:59: Which color are the Seagulls again?
6:04: What’s for dinner. Don’t you remember I’m hungry?
6:11: The Broncos are losing. They must be sad.
6:15: What’s for dinner again? Chili? I don’t like chili.
6:20: (Denver return man Trindon Holliday is buried by Seahawks during a kickoff return.) Oh, the players are raining down on him.
6:22: What if someone accidentally kissed during the game?
6:25: I’ve been in girls’ soccer before (after a 91-yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch).
6:28: (Asleep on the couch.)

Super Bowl XLVIII: Diary of a 9-Year-Old Boy
5:22 p.m.: Dad, who are you rooting for? (Broncos). OK. Me, too.
5:28: Oh, man.
5:36: No way.
5:52: Seahawks touchdown (jumping up and throwing hand in the air).
6:30: This chili’s good.
6:44: (Calls grandparents.) Hey, Grandpa, if you’re watching the game, I changed my favorite team to the Seahawks.
7:01: Denver’s going to lose, aren’t they, Dad?
7:02: I’m going to go play now.
7:30: Tell me who wins in the morning.

Super Bowl XLVIII: Diary of Dad
5:25 p.m.: Why is everyone still talking? Don’t they know there’s a game on?

Jason Offutt’s latest book, “Across a Corn-Swept Land: An epic beer run through the Upper Midwest,” is available at

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