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Tuesday, January 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Nation/World

Fans Blitz Pizza Shops Area Delivery Drivers Hit By Rush As Super Bowl Viewers Make A Play For Game’s Traditional Accompaniment

By Kim Barker Staff Staff writer

Scott Osburn stood outside a dormitory at Gonzaga University on Sunday afternoon, holding a turkey sandwich, a salad and a large pizza.

He made his deliveries. He waited for results. He hoped to score big.

“We do a lot of business over here, but they rarely tip,” said Osburn, a delivery driver for Pipeline Pizza.

Much like the San Diego Chargers, Osburn’s hopes were dashed early. In the nine deliveries Osburn made near Gonzaga at the beginning of the Super Bowl football game, he earned three tips totaling $3.34.

Super Bowl Sunday may not have been profitable for Osburn, but it is one of the busiest days of the year for pizza deliveries, said Sean Whalen, general manager of Pizza Pipeline, N1303 Washington.

The atmosphere at the store before the game was frenetic.

One worker - dubbed “Phone Man” - stood over the front counter with a phone glued to his ear as he took orders.

Drivers whipped through the kitchen, grabbed pizzas and headed for the road.

“It’s real busy today,” Osburn said. “We’re really laidback most of the time. Except when it gets really busy. Then everybody gets stressed.”

On one delivery, Osburn was tipped 20 cents by GU student Mark Steeves. Steeves was rooting for the Chargers because of the team’s running back.

“Natrone Means,” Steeves said. “Just gotta root for a team with a guy named Natrone.”

At another house, about seven students were watching the game. They tipped $2.32. John Nemeth, a Gonzaga basketball player, was rooting for the Chargers.

“I was just down in San Francisco today,” he said. “It was going crazy.”

Osburn said he would rather have been watching the game than delivering pizzas. He was rooting for the Chargers, but the team lost to the San Francisco 49ers, 49-26.

Marcus Townsend, a delivery driver for Domino’s Pizza, wanted the 49ers to win.

“I think we should get paid doubletime for working Super Bowl Sunday,” he said. “It’s almost like a national holiday.”

Townsend planned to spend Sunday night watching a videotape of the Super Bowl and drinking a beer. It’s tradition, he said, even if it’s several hours late.

This year, the pizzas weren’t flying as fast and furious as usual at halftime for Domino’s downtown location.

“It’s been a real blowout,” said manager Rick Alvarado. “It’s not very busy for a Super Bowl Sunday. When it’s a close game, it stays busy through halftime.”

Townsend grabbed an order and headed for a home in Peaceful Valley. He paused in front of the gate, which warned of a guard dog.

Inside, Kristine Christner and her brother, Josh, were watching the game downstairs with other residents. Kristine, 13, wanted the Chargers to win.

“They’re going to come back,” she said. “They always seem to come back in the end.”

Kristine had more than emotions riding on the game. She had a $1 bet with her brother. He had granted a 14-point spread.

At the Motel 6 on Sunset Hill, Rick Palmer said he wasn’t rooting for either team because he didn’t make any bets.

Townsend woke up Palmer with his pizza delivery. Palmer said he fell asleep during the first half of the game because it was so boring.

“I’m rooting for a close game,” Palmer said at halftime. “I haven’t given up yet. There’s lots of game left.”

Not for some people. Vickie Tracy opened her door to Townsend and an order of buffalo wings. Her TV set was on, but the Super Bowl wasn’t.

“I don’t really like football,” Tracy said.

Instead, she was watching a rerun of “Starsky and Hutch.”

For North Idaho pizza shops, Super Bowl Sunday is eclipsed only by the North Idaho Fair and a few Friday nights in the summer, said Pat Braden, lunch manager at Domino’s Pizza in Coeur d’Alene.

“Our sales total may not be the greatest, but the Super Bowl is the most intense, especially before and during the game,” Braden said. “After the game, it dies hard. We won’t sell hardly a thing.”

Little Caesars more than doubled its staff. Pizza Hut had workers on call.

Papa Aldo’s Take & Bake in Coeur d’Alene typically sells fewer than a dozen pizzas before noon, said pie maker Kari Taylor. But by 1 p.m. Sunday, she had had orders for 135.

MEMO: Changed from the Idaho edition.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Kim Barker Staff writer Staff writer Craig Welch contributed to this report.

Changed from the Idaho edition.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Kim Barker Staff writer Staff writer Craig Welch contributed to this report.

Wordcount: 746
Tags: football

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