Sixers fans didn't have a ton to cheer about last season, but at the end of every 100-point game was a pot of (American cheese) gold. The Big Mac has been a source of jubilation for a fanbase that otherwise has very little to cheer for in the immediate term.
At least it was, until Oct. 8, a day that will forever live in infamy.
BREAKING NEWS: Sixers discontinue free Big Macs promotion for games in which they score 100 points.— Christopher A. Vito (@ChrisVito) October 9, 2014
To say the Delaware Valley has embraced the potential of a free Big Mac would be an understatement; the 76ers fanbase has not only cheered for losses where the team creeped into triple digits, they booed when the team refused to reach the century mark.
Nothing sums up the Doug Collins era quite like this photograph:
Through dark times of mediocrity, the Big Mac was always there. Now, as Sam Hinkie attempts to go deeper into the abyss than any GM has ever dared, the Big Mac promotion has been snatched away.
Enter Papa John's, the new game-by-game sponsor who will provide 50 percent off on the days following Sixers wins. Given the state of the team, this seems like a bad deal for Sixers fans out of the gate. The Sixers scored 100 points in 35 of their 82 games last season, reaching the century mark in 18 home games. When you consider that the team only won 19 games total in 2013-14, and the team figures to be worse in the short term, this has all the makings of a raw deal.
Reaction was apprehensive, to say the least:
Actually they traded it for a future 2nd RT"@ChrisVito: BREAKING: Sixers end free Big Macs promotion for games in which they score 100 pts."— Shane McNichol (@OnTheShaneTrain) October 9, 2014
This is the wrong way to approach the situation. Papa John's isn't the Cadillac of pizza joints, but a slice of pizza from anywhere wipes the floor with McDonald's any day of the week. Granted, the founder/CEO's face is super punchable, and yes, I'm as sick of the ads for the chain as anyone else. If I was ranking places to order from while hungover or too lazy to cook, Papa John's would fall well below competitors like Domino's and alongside grease-dealers like Pizza Hut.
(ed. note: this is all the wrong opinion - Domino's is trash and Pizza Hut is replacement-level. Papa John's falls in between the two.)
However, the important thing to remember is that it's still pizza. Just by virtue of meeting the minimum requirements to be considered pizza, it is already greater than anything McDonald's makes, Shamrock Shakes excluded. The biggest argument in favor of Papa John's is in consistency. If I ordered a pizza in Philadelphia, PA or Philadelphia, MS, I could reasonably expect something with the same basic elements to arrive on my doorstep. It may not be Fogo de Chao, but you get a pepperoncini in every box, which is close enough.
The same could not be said for a Big Mac -- I could build a life-sized Joel Embiid replica out of all the pickles I didn't ask for. The toughness of McDonald's thin patties vacillates between shoe leather and Dri-Fit depending on the day. You can burn, maim or disfigure a pizza beyond all recognition and still do better than fast food burgers.
Anybody complaining that they no longer get free Big Macs in favor of pizza is either A) pretending they like shitty food or B) worthy of throwing in the loony bin. Sure, the Papa John's might not flow as freely as said burgers, but there's no competition between the two. Bring on the pizza.