Super Bowl hype reached frenzied proportions yesterday when D.C. Mayor Marion Barry was given his own box of Wheaties -- with His Honor himself smiling out from the front and wearing a No. 19 Redskins jersey.
And, if Washington wins the Super Bowl on Sunday, there is a good chance the next box of Wheaties -- the "Breakfast of Champions" -- a Washingtonian buys will have Redskins pictured on it.
Representatives of General Mills Inc., the Minneapolis-based manufacturers of the cereal, met with Barry yesterday and presented him with a "one-of-a-kind" box of Wheaties. Denver Mayor Federico Pena got one just like it, except Pena was on the front and wearing a Broncos jersey.
A General Mills spokesman said the company hopes to honor the winning Super Bowl team by packaging Wheaties in commemorative boxes and then putting them on grocery shelves in the region that takes home the championship.
The company printed similar commemorative Wheaties boxes after the Minnesota Twins won the World Series.
Barry and Pena have a $100 charity bet riding on the the game. "I'll see him Sunday in San Diego, and I'll pick up his check," boasted Barry.
Whatever the outcome, football has already been very, very good to the mayor. Yesterday, he showed off the wild rice and smoked pheasant he recently received -- playoff payoff gifts from the mayor of Minneapolis.
"It pays to be with a champion," Barry said, grinning.