Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell bet the Detroit Lions would go to the Super Bowl. Now she’s paying up.

Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell bet the Detroit Lions would go to the Super Bowl. Now she’s paying up.

Official headshot of US House Rep. Debbie Dingell. Image of Sanders' Candy via Facebook.

By Bonnie Fuller

February 7, 2024

The Michigan lawmaker told The ’Gander that she’s working on putting together a gift basket full of Sanders candy to send to California.

Like many of her fellow Michiganders, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell is heartbroken that the state’s beloved Detroit Lions won’t be in Super Bowl LVIII on Feb. 11. But when it comes to a friendly wager, she is not a sore loser.

The US Representative for the 6th District, which includes some Detroit suburbs, is in the process of honoring a bet she made with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The colleagues in the US House publicly wagered over who would win the NFC Championship game between their hometown teams, the Lions versus the San Francisco 49ers.

In January, the pair of football fans agreed that if the Lions won, Pelosi, whose district includes San Francisco, would send an enticing array of local California Ghirardelli chocolates and See’s Candies to her fellow lawmaker and friend in Michigan. However, if the 49ers were victorious, Dingell would ship Michigan’s iconic Sanders sweets to Pelosi.

Clearly we’re talking a high-stakes bet.

Sadly for Michigan, the 49ers triumphed in a tight 31 – 34 game.

Now, the congresswoman is working on paying up. “I’m making a basket,” Dingell told The ’Gander in an exclusive interview. “I’m waiting for everything to come in because Nancy is a chocoholic gourmet expert and I want her to taste Sanders’ best.”

Sanders, as many Michiganders know, is the treasured chocolate brand started by Fred Sanders Schmidt in 1875 when he opened his first chocolate shop in Detroit. Dingell has called Sanders “the best chocolate in the country.”

The Congresswoman told us that she’s including salted caramels in the basket for Pelosi. “I’m [also] getting her the milk chocolate hot fudge, the bittersweet fudge, the dark chocolate hot fudge, an assortment of different candies, Sanders’ bumpy cake. So, it’s not all here yet, but soon.”

“Bumpy cake,” for those Michiganders who (somehow) don’t know, is a chocolate devil’s food buttercream cake topped by “bumpy” ribbons of vanilla buttercream and poured fudge icing.

Dingell’s gift basket is sure to satiate Pelosi’s chocolate addiction, and it’s an addiction that the Michigan congresswoman seems to share.

“When I’m really tired,” Dingell confessed, “I’ll make myself a hot fudge sundae with either milk or bittersweet chocolate.”

But a hot fudge sundae may not be enough of a consolation for Dingell after the much-loved Lions lost out on the chance to finally make it into their first Super Bowl.

“I’m still mourning over the Lions,” Dingell admitted.

While Pelosi will be cheering on her San Francisco 49ers in the big game, the Michigan lawmaker will be at home watching with friends and family.

Dingell said she hasn’t yet decided who she’ll root for. “Quite frankly, I’m torn between who I’m supporting…I’m a Midwest, I’m a Heartland girl, so I may be cheering for the Heartland.”

But unlike millions of others, she also noted that neither Travis Kelce nor Taylor Swift would be a consideration in her final Super Bowl football team decision.

RELATED: That One Time in Michigan…When the Detroit Lions Were Champs



  • Bonnie Fuller

    Bonnie Fuller is the former CEO & Editor-in-Chief of, and the former Editor-in-Chief of Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, USWeekly and YM. She now writes about politics and reproductive rights. She can be followed on her Substack at: BonnieFuller1 ‘Your Body, Your Choice.

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