The Oregon football team is scheduled to participate in the Beef Bowl today at Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Beverly Hills, one day before its opponent in Thursday’s 101st Rose Bowl Game, Florida State.
The Beef Bowl began in 1956 and is older than all but the Rose, Orange, Cotton, Sugar and Sun bowls. It was called “the best tradition” of the college football bowl season by The Sporting News in 2005.
“The food was great,” Oregon’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota recalled about his team’s visit to Lawry’s before its 45-38 victory over Wisconsin in the 2012 Rose Bowl game. “It was an awesome time to be with the team.”
Ducks coach Mark Helfrich said he will tell his players to “enjoy the festivities.”
While Florida State will be playing in its first Rose Bowl Game, it will be participating in its second Beef Bowl event.
When the Seminoles were preparing for the final Bowl Championship Series National Championship Game in January, Lawry’s hosted a special championship Beef Bowl event for Florida State and Auburn in Newport Beach.
Lawry’s Beef Bowl “is not about what team eats the most,” said Richard R. Frank, president and chief executive officer of Lawry’s Restaurants Inc.
“The purpose of the event is to honor champion student-athletes for their achievement as a team of making it to the Rose Bowl Game,” Frank said. “The meal is a large part of the celebration because these are young men with enormous appetites, but it’s more about celebrating together away from the practice field in a legendary setting.”
From 1963-69, a publicity firm touted the Lawry’s Beef Bowl events like they were beef eating contests. Lawry’s changed the name of the event to “Lawry’s Beef Scrimmage” from 1970-72 in an attempt to dissuade the players from approaching the event like it was a prime rib eating competition.
The new name didn’t stick and in 1973 Lawry’s restored the original name of the event.
Beef Bowl attendees are allowed seconds “and that’s where we try to draw the line, though from time to time there are players who try to get around that rule,” Frank said.
The amount of beef consumed by each team is determined by multiplying the number of prime rib roasts consumed by the average weight of a roast, according to Todd Erickson, author of the 2005 book, “Road to the Rose Bowl,” which explores the Rose Bowl Game and the tradition of Lawry’s Beef Bowl through players’ and coaches’ recollections.