On October 30th, The King’s Men, Inc. was not sure whether there was a bit of mischief in the news that the Wing Bowl was coming to an end. We have heard the rumors before that the Wing Bowl was ending only to have the Philadelphia sports talk radio personalities foil such rumors. But this time, it was no trick that was being played on us, but a tremendous treat that was as sweet as any candy this writer has ever had on Halloween.
Victory was finally here! I recall on that very cold first Friday in February 2014, when TKM rallied for our first ever outreach at the Wells Fargo Center at 4 AM, how much ruckus our outreach caused among family, friends and TKM brothers. It was the first time that the Wing Bowl had received any negative publicity in the 20+ years since this event began. On the Monday following our presence at the Wells Fargo Center, the morning sports talk radio hosts dismissed our presence as meaningless, however, our presence was noted and acknowledged on the airwaves that first year.
It was definitely a scary prospect taking on such a huge event with 20,000 people who believed in the value of the debauched so-called wing eating contest. TKM had never taken on such a huge cultural phenomenon and event as the Wing Bowl. I remember that there were quite a few people who were uncertain that TKM should take on such a revenue maker for the city of Philadelphia. The pornographic wing eating contest had evolved into what was the largest selling day for beer in the city. With thousands of men taking off work, hundreds of teenagers skipping school and the after hour parties at the local sexually oriented businesses generating over a million dollars in sales for the local porn industry, it was truly a David versus Goliath type of battle we were waging. One TKM brother cautioned us in our decision to take on this battle given the heavy drug and alcohol consumption that day. Even TKM staff were not completely supportive of the idea given the negative behavior taking place at such an early time in the morning. Despite the uncertainty, TKM galvanized over 20 men for our inaugural outreach.
TKM would continue to apply the pressure each year and more negative press began to follow. During our outreach in 2015, TKM even organized a Pre- and Post-Wing Bowl rally at the Stadium Holiday Inn. In year’s 2016 and 2017, myself and Pro-Life Humanitarian, Pastor Bill Devlin, entered the Wells Fargo parking lot to extend a personal invitation to reject the Wing Bowl and invite conversation on marriage and fidelity. While many were appreciative of our efforts and spoke respectfully to us, most men just put their head’s down in shame. All knew that the Wing Bowl was bad and not good for our community.
Usher in the 2018 Philadelphia Eagles on the doorstep of their third Super Bowl try. This time, I was in sunny Florida giving a presentation on the issue of pornography of all topics. Faithful friend and local TKM brother Chas DeFeo led the charge for TKM’s 5th Wing Bowl outreach. Again, Pastor Bill reached out to the patrons standing in line for the doors to all things lewd, gluttonous, shameful and pornographic.
The Eagles win their first ever Super Bowl! The thought came: is the Wing Bowl even necessary now? Having started as a result of the Eagles ineptitude towards achieving professional football’s highest honor, perhaps the need for the Wing Bowl was over. Not so, the morning sports talk radio stooges said in early 2018 that the 2019 Wing Bowl was on. It was apparent that the money maker, which the Wing Bowl had become, was too much to pass on even after an Eagles Super Bowl victory.
So, why the decision to end the Wing Bowl? Why now? Did TKM’s efforts and all the negative press over the past 5 years finally convict the organizers of their shameful program? Perhaps it did. It would be hard to say with absolute certainty that TKM’s outreach is the primary reason for this great news, but it is also hard to dismiss TKM’s significant role in ushering in this sweet victory for the men and women in the city of Philadelphia. TKM bravely and effectively shined the light on the darkness of the Wing Bowl and, as a result, the Wing Bowl has ended its run as the worst event in so called sports entertainment (paraphrase of ESPN’s commentary on the event).
A big thank you to all of the men, priests and supporters of this outreach over the years. Much gratitude is due to the Philadelphia Police Department’s Civil Affairs Unit who effectively protected our first amendment rights 4 out of 5 years at the Wells Fargo. I want to also extend a personal thank you to Father DiOrio, pastor at Stella Maris parish in South Philadelphia, who graciously allowed TKM activists to park in the parish parking lot during the early hours of our outreach over the years.
The defeat of the Wing Bowl marks the 21st sexually oriented business or program that TKM has effectively been a part of the closing since we began fighting the multi-billion dollar porn industry in 2004.