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Sunday is a pinnacle event, the most-watched, most-discussed, most-wagered-on single game in American sports.

Heck, it's so big that lots of organizations even call their biggest event the "Super Bowl." There's the Super Bowl of Motorcross, the Super Bowl of NASCAR and dare I say it, some think the Masters is the Super Bowl of golf. (I prefer to think the Super Bowl is the Masters of football, but hey, there you go.)

This Sunday's matchup between the Chiefs and the Buccaneers is the Super Bowl of TV, the Super Bowl of marketing and the Super Bowl for sports bars.

Well, it was when bar and tavern operators worried more about having enough Corona than keeping everyone socially distanced to prevent corona.

"Overall, I'm optimistic," said John McClellan, owner of Mike's Hole in the Wall in North Chattanooga. "I don't expect a wait [list], and I think we will be as full as we can be."

McClellan, a co-founder of Mike's in 2008, said Super Sunday normally does 40% to 50% more business than any other Sunday, but this will hardly be any other Sunday. Mike's is operating right at half its normal capacity to make sure patrons are spaced apart in accordance with government guidelines.

In fact, the instructions at Mike's door leave little to the imagination: You must have a mask; masks are required to be on your face when not seated; quit complaining. The order is optional.

Certainly it's not ideal, but what is these days? And while Sunday's a super reason to celebrate, no one wants the Super Bowl to be a Super spreader.

"I think we'll be about as full as we can be," said Shiquita Clark, a bartender at the Buffalo Wild Wings off 153 in Hixson. "You have these two great quarterbacks."

Clark has worked the last 19 Super Bowls, just a smidge more than Bucs QB Tom Brady, and lower capacity will mean smaller crowds.

But probably not small workloads.

"[The Super Bowl] is always crazy for take-out," she said. "Last year, they had to cut off the online orders because we couldn't keep up."

The amounts of food and drink are staggering for Super Bowl Sunday, which ranks second in food consumption behind only Thanksgiving in this country and the busiest for pizza deliveries.

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend on average of $74.55 on Sunday (that's an estimated $13.9 billion, with a 'B') and more than 75% of that will be on food and drink. Last year, Americans spent more than $88 a person.

The NRF survey also showed great reductions from last year on viewing plans. For Sunday's game, 13% said they are hosting a Super Bowl party, 12% are attending a Super Bowl party and 3% plan to watch at a sports bar/restaurant, with 72% saying they have no social plans. Last year those responses to a similar NRF.com survey were 19% to host, 27% to attend a party, 5% to watch at a sports bar and 49% with no plans.

"I try to be done every year before 6," Clark said of Super Sunday, which normally has a kickoff around 6:30, "so I can get to my Super Bowl party."

Like most of us, Clark's spirit for Sunday may be willing, but it seems far-fetched that we'll match last year's numbers when America consumed 139 million pounds of avocado, 12.5 million pounds of bacon, 10 million pounds of ribs and 88 million pounds of cheese — and just think if the Packers had made it to Sunday.

"And of course we'll have wings," Clark said.

She may want to go ahead and get that order in.

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Jay Greeson
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