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Are Tampa Bay Bucs fans sexy? Whatever, I’m getting dip.
Super Bowl season is upon us, and no one looks good. That’s the point.
 
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield, center, celebrates after he gains big yards against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Jan. 15.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield, center, celebrates after he gains big yards against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Jan. 15. [ JEFFEREE WOO | Times ]
Published Jan. 31

Super Bowl season in America is a profoundly special time, not necessarily for the sport of it all. No offense to the football! Please visit our football section for discussions of the football.

Rather, this bloated corporate rumble represents a time when many Americans cast differences aside for a brief detente to focus on unifying matters: specifically, the preparation and consumption of delicious dips.

Dips with buffalo sauce, dips with ranch powder, dips with unholy gobs of mayonnaise blended into cream cheese, dips topped with melty shreds of cheddar and buttery, crunchy cracker crusts. Dips with sad, lonely vegetables gasping from the depths of dairy. Dips, I say to you! Dips to unite the country! Is this bacchanal of dips healthy? In an empirical sense? I am no doctor. Is a national dip holiday healthy in a holistic, spiritual sense? As an ordained reverend of dips, I bless it.

Point being, the Super Bowl is highly unsexy. It’s our holy day of jocks, but only onscreen. For the rest of us, the Big Game offers an opportunity for molecular pop-culture gazing. For nerdy mapping on a whiteboard, Tostitos Scoop in hand, detailing how Taylor Swift can get from her concert in Tokyo to her boyfriend’s game in Las Vegas. The attire: sweatpants and glasses that say, “Time travel is real.” The attitude: obnoxious, ungainly, salt-forward. The early February weather: chilly and depressing.

The last thing anyone should be thinking about on their fourth beer is snapping cute shots for Instagram. The seven-layer dip diversion is freeing for Floridians, who are literally and metaphorically hot year-round. We do not need someone to assess our physical magnetism in midwinter.

Imagine, then, the audacity of a certain public relations email that came across my desk. As a person who knows better, I should have deleted it upon arrival. Sadly, I was pulled toward it like Icarus to the sun-dried tomato and basil dip. It was a ridiculous survey from a gambling website called BonusFinder.

“Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans are the seventh sexiest fans in the country,” it said.

Seventh! OK, maybe true, but ouch. How rude to get an unsolicited email declaring the people of Tampa Bay a seven. We were minding our own business, awash in acceptance after being eliminated from the playoffs, focused on finding the perfect ratios for Velveeta and Rotel spicy sausage dip, when:

“I guess I just have a different type? You have a great personality. I don’t want to jeopardize our friendship.”

I would explain the methodology, but why? Bucs fans, according to this email that should have been filtered into spam, tied for seventh with fans of the Super Bowl-bound San Francisco 49ers, the Atlanta Falcons and the New York Giants. The hottest fans, according to this missive eating up my cloud storage, root for the Dallas Cowboys, followed by the Chicago Bears. Chicago! Where the high is 37! Where one must wear a horse blanket simply to crack the door for “Larry” from UberEats!

Passive-aggressively berating fan appearance is apparently a trend at the moment; another gaming site called FlashPicks spammed my inbox with photos of revelers imagined by artificial intelligence. Their fictional Bucs fan sported an open shirt, full-body tats, a beard and Dog the Bounty Hunter hair.

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A Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan as imagined by artificial intelligence from a PR email from gaming site FlashPicks.
A Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan as imagined by artificial intelligence from a PR email from gaming site FlashPicks. [ FlashPicks ]

Perhaps a little on the nose, but fine. Geez. We get it. We are brawny, screamy and hirsute. We look like an eccentric billionaire who has been shut into his private hunting compound for months. We are Vikings draped in beads and party store hats with an unquenchable taste for blood and pimento cheese dip. You do not have to be so loud about it. Go play your little game, make your little sports bets. We are comfortable with who we are. Can I get ranch on the side?

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