Panther Tracks

NC, Denver zoos bet on Super Bowl, sweet tea and green chili

A cougar at the North Carolina Zoo pounds on a Denver Broncos papier-maché item.
A cougar at the North Carolina Zoo pounds on a Denver Broncos papier-maché item. Valerie Abbott

Add two zoos to the list of groups betting big on Super Bowl 50.

The North Carolina Zoo and Denver Zoo have made a friendly wager for their respective teams in Sunday’s game between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos. In a (possibly very intentionally worded) news release from the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, Denver Zoo CEO Shannon Block has agreed to wear a Panthers jersey while greeting zoo visitors in Colorado when the Panthers win the game.

And, “like a true Southerner,” she’ll have to eat biscuits and drink sweet tea.

If the Broncos win, Pat Simmons, N.C. zoo director, will have to wear a Broncos jersey while greeting guests at her zoo’s entrance. Simmons will also have to try to eat a green chili breakfast and granola bar.

The contest between the two zoos is getting fierce. The Denver Zoo last week posted a video announcing the wager. Block shows off Broncos jerseys she planned to mail to North Carolina and, “in the unlikely event that Denver comes up short,” agrees to wear a Cam Newton jersey. She also agrees to hold a “Congratulations Carolina” sign, although she does not appear too enthusiastic about that prospect.

The N.C. Zoo posted a rebuttal video on Facebook this week. It features Simmons grilling “Broncos burgers” and schooling Block on Carolina culture: “We prefer our tea sweet, not herbal,” she said.

Denver Zoo video

N.C. Zoo video

NC Zoo's Super Bowl 50 Wager with Denver Zoo

The North Carolina Zoo accepts the Denver Zoo's Super Bowl 50 friendly wager. We know y’all in Denver will enjoy the sweet tea and biscuits. Go Carolina Panthers! #KeepPounding #Panthers #SB50

Posted by North Carolina Zoo on Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Jonathan McFadden: 704-358-6045, @JmcfaddenObsGov