January 21, 2020
Throughout the season, we'll be posting press box food spread rankings for each of the Philadelphia Eagles' road games. This is probably of no interest to you if you're a sane human being, and, well, I don't care. I'm doing this anyway.
If you're fake-appalled by a sportswriter playfully complaining about free food, shut up.
Please note that we'll have the most recent press box reviews at the top.
By popular request, we're carrying the food spread ratings over into the offseason, and the first event on the NFL offseason tour, as always, is the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.
What'd they have? The Senior Bowl provided food for the media at two times. Well, sort of. The first was at the Tuesday morning weigh-in, which is the most disturbing event of the calendar year, in which 100-plus prospects get measured on a stage in a convention hall in front of a few hundred scouts, front office personnel, and media, who critique their bodies.
They had water and some assorted candy for sale. My 8 oz. water was $3. After the weigh-in, they had coffee, Krispy Kreme donuts, and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups back at the main hotel lobby.
The next food offering was later that morning, at the "Player Media Day" event. They had glasses with banana pudding, chocolate, blueberries, yogurt, and crumbled-up Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
And then for lunch... Uh oh... the dreaded pre-packed box of food. That never turns out good. I debated with a couple other reporters (I didn't know them) what was inside, and we unanimously hoped for some kind of fried chicken. Nope. It was red beans and rice, cole slaw, and bread.
Most didn't even bother.
What'd I have? I considered resisting the Krispy Kreme, as it's unnecessary to report how good they are, since we all already know, but I did not have to will power. It was delicious, obviously. I tried the banana pudding jawn. That looked better than it was.
Grade: Because the Eagles went to the Super Bowl in 2017 and the divisional round in 2018, I haven't been to the Senior Bowl in three years. The player media event used to be at night, and they served a dinner that was catered by a local restaurant. And it was good! This... This was not good. Skip the Senior Bowl for a couple years and it all falls apart.
The Senior Bowl people are great, and super hospitable, just generally speaking, so I feel bad giving them a bad grade here, but, D.
The Eagles' season is now over, so I have no more road trips left this season. And so, let's hand out the hardware to the 2019 Press Box Food Spread All-Star Team. These are ranked, in order of what I liked best.
Cowboys mac and cheese (MVP): May be the best mac and cheese I've ever eaten.
Cowboys smoked chipotle and black garlic strip loin: These were at a carving station, and I remember that the one that I got had been sitting in the juices for a while, and had kind of soaked into the meat.
Bills Beef on Weck: In case you're unfamiliar, this is Beef on Weck. I ate it so fast I almost forgot to take a picture of it.
Cowboys salted pretzel bites stuffed with sausage: There were also a slew of dipping options for this, of which I chose melted yellow cheese and beer mustard.
Packers cheese curds: I chatted up a Packers press box employee, who told me they "weren't proper Wisconsin cheese curds," but whatever, they were great.
Eagles soft pretzels: They're a holdover from the once-great Eagles press box spread. I wonder how many of these things I've had in my life. I'd ballpark it at around 100.
Falcons jerk chicken: The Falcons got a little bit hosed on the All-Star selections. They'd have at least five additional All-Stars if we went to 20. Their jerk chicken was the best thing they had, in my opinion.
Vikings ice cream bar: They narrowly edged out the Falcons' ice cream bar.
Giants cheese ravioli with pesto sauce and meatballs: The meatballs were especially tasty.
Vikings tequeño: An odd choice for Minnesota, but they were good!
Note: I didn't necessarily try all of these, because I didn't need to in order to know that they were going to be awful.
Eagles vs. Giants, Week 17
What'd they have? Pregame, the Giants usually have both breakfast and lunch, but because it was a late afternoon start time, there was no breakfast, which made me sad. Here's what they did have:
At halftime, they had boneless wings, in two varieties: Hot, and garlic Parmesan. They also had waffle fries, and various Good Humor ice cream bar options.
What'd I have? I had alllllll the pasta, and it was all good, but the clear winners were the meatballs and the cheese ravioli with pesto sauce, shown here:
The Giants lost major points, however, for their woefully lightly stocked cookies. After I ate my pasta, I looked to wash it down with some sugar, and there were no cookies to be found. Other media folks had cookies, and they looked good, but the Giants ran out, somehow, more than an hour and a half before kickoff!
Note the basically untouched rice pudding.
I hung out by the cookies for, oh, I'd say around 40 minutes, pretending to be interested in the Dolphins-Patri*ts game that was on a nearby TV, but really I was just hoping someone would bring out more cookies. Nope.
Eventually, I asked someone if cookie reinforcements were on the way. They replied, "Yes, at halftime."
Wait, what?!? There are cookies somewhere in the building, and you're saving them? That makes about as much sense as hiring Pat Shurmur to be the head coach.
At the two minute warning in the first half, I went back out to see if the cookies were being served yet, and they were. They were still wrapped up, so I asked if I could unwrap them and take one. Of course, it was the same person I asked a few hours earlier if there would be more cookies. She must have thought I was a psychopath. She said, in the same way you might tell a 4-year old they can do something just so they stop bothering you, "Yes, go ahead." I picked out my cookie and was on my way.
And after all of that, my cookie was cold from wherever they were storing them. Terrible.
At halftime, I sampled each of the boneless wing varieties, obviously. They weren't good.
The waffle fries were good, though, and I'm a sucker for ice cream. They had an ice cream freezer with like 6-8 different kinds of ice cream. I believe they were all Good Humor brands like Chocolate Eclairs, Strawberry Shortcake, Toasted Almond Bar, and King Cone, to name a few. I had two Chocolate Eclairs, lol.
Grade: It's funny how franchises differ in subtle ways like press box food spreads. The Giants and Jets share the same building, and while the Giants spread was kinda "meh," they still put a lot more effort into it than the Jets (scroll way down below), who had fries (and that's it) at halftime.
That said, for the huge market team they are, and the "classy" organization that they like to think they are, it's a pretty underwhelming spread. B-.
Eagles vs. Washington, Week 15
What'd they have? Pregame, they broke out their breakfast and lunch stuff all at once. They had scrambled eggs, potatoes, sausage links, chicken, bacon, biscuits, and sausage gravy. They also had some cookies, brownies, muffins, snack mix, chips, popcorn, bottled OJ, and for anyone fighting off a urinary tract infection, which is probably necessary due to the conditions of the press box bathroom at FedEx Field, bottled cranberry juice.
Washington's sausage gravy, the Jaguars' nacho cheese, and the Jaguars' chili are the finalists least visually appealing press box food item of the year.
I'm a sausage gravy guy, and I wouldn't wouldn't eat a spoonful of that for less than $100.
Personally, I think the Jaguars' chili looks the grossest. My girlfriend Kristin agreed.
"The chili looks like someone ate the other two, and got sick," she said.
At halftime, they had hot dogs, Italian sausages, and cookie cake with ice cream.
What'd I have? Here was my pregame plate:
I cut the biscuit open and had a sausage biscuit sandwich. That was fine, I guess. The bacon was gross.
When I cut into the chicken, my plastic fork was met with stiff resistance. I wasn't sure if it was just a weak plastic fork, or super hard chicken. Turns out it was the latter. This was a little bit after 10:00 a.m., mind you.
"If you had company sleep over and you served up chicken for breakfast, people would think you're crazy," said Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94.1 WIP. I agree with that take. In fairness, the cookies and brownie were OK.
At halftime, I'll give credit where it's due. The hot dog was OK, as was the Italian sausage, and the cookie cake with ice cream might be the most effort the Washington team has ever given.
Grade: Back in the day, Washington used to issue you a ticket when you checked in, that you would later redeem to gain access to the food spread at halftime. You handed your ticket in, got your food, and vacated the area. If you wanted a second boiled hot dog, you were shit out of luck. They have since done away with that comical set up, but they still have work to do in terms of presentation. There were three separate lines for the hot dogs, Italian sausage, and ice cream at halftime. Three!
At one long table they had the hot dogs, and ice cream, which looked a little like this:
On the other side of the press box, they had the Italian sausage. Why did they have three separate lines? No idea. It was one of more baffling things I've seen all year. This would have been the correct layout:
The cookie cake with ice cream bumped up Washington's grade a full letter grade from a D to a C, but I had to knock them down to a C- for making me wait in three separate lines at halftime. Still, kudos to the Washington team for earning that C- this year, as they actually exceeded expectations.
Eagles vs. Dolphins, Week 13
What'd they have? Here were the Dolphins' offerings, which I'll just show via their spelling and grammar error-riddled menu:
Rosated sallots! Ha.
Most teams will offer breakfast for a 1:00 p.m. game. The Dolphins only had lunch, and they didn't make it available until 11:00 a.m. Not noted on the above menu was a key lime pie display.
Also not noted was a carving station, which was some kind of pork. Oddly, they didn't serve that at the same time as the rest of the pregame spread. That came out at around noon.
They also had chicken wings at halftime, and little individual pizzas after the game was over.
What'd I have? Pregame, I had the chicken (that was ok), and the scalloped potatoes gratin (good). I also had the carving station pork, but instead of having a thick piece, I asked if they would just give me the shavings that had sort of fallen off while cutting other pieces. The shavings just sit there and soak up the juice, and in my view, are the prize of the carving station setup. In fact, a Dolphins reporter behind me in line stole my idea. Poser. Here was my pork plate, with bread:
I did not try the meatloaf or the key lime pie. Bo Wulf of The Athletic said he only had two bites of the meatloaf before calling it quits.
"It had a weird crunch to it when there shouldn't have been a crunch," Wulf said. "The key lime pie was good, though."
Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94.1 WIP thought the meatloaf was good, even though it had "a plastic-like texture." Shorr-Parks accused Wulf of being "a meatloaf snob."
At halftime, I had the wings, which generally speaking, are a terrible idea for a work environment, unless that's your "thing," like they are in Buffalo. That said, they were really good! The pizza at the end of the game was not.
Grade: Before we get to the grade, let me quickly note that the setup is bad, like the Jaguars' was earlier this season. It sort of snakes around, and into the seating area. Here's a panoramic shot, with the guy on the right glaring at me, again, just like in the panoramic shot I took at the Jags game! (See way below.)
Overall, the Dolphins didn't have many options, and not having any breakfast foods hurts them. They were hit and miss on the things they did serve. I went in with low expectations based on some advance scouting that said their spread wasn't great, but was pleasantly surprised. I considered giving the Dolphins a C+ at one point, and even a B-, but beating low expectations shouldn't be the reason why. Let's go C+.
Eagles vs. Bills, Week 8
What'd they have? The Bills made it easy on me, printing out their full press box food spread offering, which I just had to re-type here. These are their words, not mine. Pregame, they had:
The waffles were "make your own." You've probably seen these in hotel lobbies at some point in your travels.
Evidently, Mike Quick never has, and he had no idea whatsoever how to use this thing. In fairness, it's not exactly self-explanatory. You pour the batter into a cup, dump it onto the griddle, close the griddle, then flip the whole thing upside-down with the handle, at which point a countdown from 2:30 automatically begins. I helped Mike with that part, but did not wait around for the 2:30 to count down to help him retrieve his waffle when it was done.
When his waffles were ready and the timer went off, I'm told that Quick tried to lift the griddle without turning it right side up once again, and had to be helped by Sal Paolantonio. For those of us in the hotel lobby self-serve waffle-making community, we've all been there, Mike.
Paolantonio declined comment.
At halftime, they had:
They also had a snack table throughout the day, which included:
Some legitimate effort went into the presentation of the snack area, with a fall theme.
And then of course, the beverages:
What set the Bills apart from the rest of the crowd here was the iced coffee, which is an interesting add-on, given that Buffalo is one of the coldest cities in the NFL. If the Miami Dolphins' food service team reads this before our trip down there next month, take note.
What'd I have? For breakfast, I had a waffle, sausage links, and bacon. Bo Wulf of The Athletic and Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94.1 WIP felt that the breakfast spread was very hotel-like. I would agree, seeing as they had the waffle machine, cereal, and some of the more basic breakfast foods. The waffle was exactly like any hotel waffle-maker-made version you've ever had, as were the sausage links and bacon. Wulf was not a fan of the bacon.
I also had a giant pretzel for breakfast. That was good, but I'll make one observation of giant pretzels, just generally speaking. I think the perceived appeal of them is that they're huge. However, in my view, being a big pretzel is less important than being a good pretzel. Anyone can go back for seconds, so my preference would be to have a normal-sized pretzel, and if I really want to eat like I'm in a shame spiral, I can go back for more.
Conversely, I applaud the Bills' inclusion of Dunkin Donuts Munchkins. Dunkin Donuts is a sponsor of a number of teams, including the Eagles. As such, the Eagles have Dunkin Donuts as part of their spread, except they don't have Munchkins. With Munchkins, you don't have to commit to eating a full donut. You can have a glazed Munchkin, maybe throw in chocolate glazed, or a even a powdered Munchkin, and even if you eat all three, it still isn't as much donut as a full donut. You can better regulate your donut intake, leaving room for some of the other offerings.
The Bills waited until halftime to serve lunch, which is slightly unorthodox. Normally, teams will serve lunch before the game, seeing as they start at 1:00 p.m., and then the halftime spread is more of smaller offering. Halftime in Buffalo is the main event. Opinions on that approach varied. Personally, I was fine with it.
I had some wings (duh), potatoes, and the Beef on Weck. My plate:
That doesn't look special, but the Beef on Weck was so good that I almost housed it before I remembered that I had to take a picture of my plate. The Beef on Weck will 100 percent be making the 2019 Jimmy Food Spread All Star team.
The wings were OK. My personal preference is for my wings to be slathered in hot and honey sauce, but I realize that the Bills can't realistically offer a number of different sauces. For non-sauced wings, they were very good. Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com named a number of different wing places he went to during his trip up to Buffalo (apparently he goes wing-hopping, lol), and he thought the Bills' wings were the best.
Grade: The Bills are a small-market team, and as such, expectations aren't going to be as high as they would be in, say, Dallas, Chicago, New York, or even Philly. Their effort was excellent, and the halftime spread was legitimately very good. I felt that the Bills' spread overall was comparable to the Packers', and had them earmarked for a solid B when the game was over, as long as they kept the coffee machines on after the game.
BUT THEN... unexpectedly, after the game, there was beer! And I had some. B+.
Eagles vs. Cowboys, Week 7
What'd they have? I arrived at the press box three and a half hours before kickoff, and my expectation was that the Cowboys would have a few things out, like popcorn, and their candy display, and maybe some cupcakes or cookies or something. Nope. Dinner was already being served! And as always, they did it up, and then some.
Here's the roast beef balsamic bread jawns:
Oh, and uh, ALL OF THE ABOVE FOOD WAS JUST WHAT THEY HAD PRE-GAME!!! At halftime, they brought out a whole new smaller food spread that would kick most regular food spread's asses.
Oh, and they brought out a whole new round of desserts, lol.
What'd I have? My dinner plate included the steak, the chicken thighs in the beer cheese sauce, the roast beef balsamic bread jawns, and the mac and cheese (duh). Everything was outstanding, but the steak was especially good because the carving station lady had already carved my two slices, and they had been sitting there on the cutting board soaking up the juices for an undetermined amount of time. Outstanding. Here's my plate. You can see the juice soaked into the steak:
I also had a chocolate crumble shooter, a cream puff, and some worms.
At halftime, I had the soft pretzel sausage sandwich, which was awesome, a chocolate-coated pretzel stick with sprinkles, and some dark churro thingy.
If I had to dig hard for one gripe, it's that in the past on games close to Halloween, they had spooky cupcakes (cupcakes with Halloween designs on them). For example, from 2016:
I figured that because the Cowboys don't play again until after Halloween, this would be the week they had spooky cupcakes, but (sad face), there were no spooky cupcakes.
Grade: I'll let the lack of spooky cupcakes slide, I guess. A++.
Eagles vs. Vikings, Week 6
What'd they have? The Vikings served breakfast, which isn't a given for early start games, at least in the eastern time zone, though I guess when it's a noon start in the central time zone, you kind of have to. Their breakfast was pretty good:
Personally speaking, eggs offend all five of my senses, so the omelette bar does nothing for me. That said, I understand I'm very much in the minority on that, and the omelette bar is a nice touch. The Eagles used to have an omelette bar that everyone raved about, but they did away with that after they stopped caring.
At halftime, the Vikings had cheeseburger and pulled pork sliders, some additional cold sliders, like caprices (attn: Sheil Kapadia), and "Queso Blanco Tequeños." I can't speak for the rest of you, but when I think Minnesota, I think "I gotta get me some tequeños, son." They also had ice cream, with an impressive assortment of fixins, just like the Falcons did, as well as cookies and mini cupcakes.
What'd I have? Croissants, and sausages at the breakfast spread? Obviously, that means improvisational sausage sandwich time. That was good, as was the bacon. The hash browns could use some work. I also grabbed a Planters "Nuts & Chocolate" trail mix, until I realized it was polluted with raisins. Like, on the packaging, it says in big letters, "NUTS & CHOCOLATE." If Planters thought raisins were appealing, the raisins would have made the marquee as well. But they're not appealing, and yet, Planters included them anyway, and put them in the fine print. Come on, Planters.
The Vikings should consider just putting out a gigantic bowl of Planters Cheez Balls, which are the undisputed king of orange-finger-coloring snacks, even ahead of Doritos. Yeah I said it.
At halftime, I grabbed a cheeseburger slider, a pulled pork slider, a tequeño, a sugar cookie (the most underrated of the cookie family), a mini red velvet cupcake, and a cup of vanilla ice cream with Hershey's chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, and rainbow sprinkles. Boom.
"The tequeño made my poor wittle tum tum hurwt," said Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94.1 WIP. For the record, the tequeño did not make my tum tum hurt, because I'm a tough, rugged man. I was pleasantly surprised by the tequeño, personally. I've now mentioned tequeños seven times, and should probably stop.
Grade: The Vikings showed effort, which is really the most important thing, even if their food selections weren't exactly my preferences. Extra points for the ice cream bar, and for keeping the coffee on, post-game. A-.
On the whole, it's been a solid showing so far for Eagles' regular season opponents, and I'm itching to blast someone once again.
Eagles vs. Packers: Week 4
What'd they have? The Packers rolled out a nice pre-game spread, with plenty of options:
• Carving station, with braised short ribs
• Brats and hot dogs, with like four different varieties of mustard
• A robust salad station, with the fixings organized neatly
• Grilled chicken
• Roasted red potatoes, and corn
At halftime, they rolled out the star of the show, cheese curds with marinara.
What'd I have? My pre-game plate consisted of the carved short rib, potatoes, a brat on a hot dog bun with mustard, chicken, a sugar cookie, and a mini red velvet cupcake with vanilla cream. Behold the gluttony:
The brat was the best thing on that plate. "I thought the chicken was dry," Mike Kaye of NJ.com said. "Also, I peed the bed last night." I'm not sure why Mike added that last part in, but I wish him the best in overcoming that issue.
Solid plate, nothing special.
At halftime, I had the cheese curds. They would absolutely make an all-star team of the best NFL press box offerings, even though the Packers employee I chatted up while in line was clear to mention that they aren't "proper Wisconsin cheese curds." Whatever they were, they were delicious.
Grade: Packers games are extremely difficult to get to. You can fly into Green Bay or Appleton, but you're going to have to take a connecting flight to get there. The other option is to fly direct into Milwaukee, which is a 1:45 drive to Green Bay. I always fly direct to Milwaukee and do the drive.
The drive to the stadium is fine. It's the drive home that is brutal, especially after a night game. I didn't get back to my hotel until roughly 3:30 a.m. (4:30 a.m. EST) last night.
Because of the absurdly late drive after a long day of work, it is absolutely crucial (like, more so than anywhere else in the NFL) that they LEAVE THE COFFEE ON AFTER THE GAME! And they did. And I'm thankful for still being alive this morning.
Anyway, I'll give the Packers a solid B.
Eagles vs. Falcons: Week 2
What'd they have? The Falcons brought it. Pre-game, they had all kinds of good stuff:
• A carving station with beef brisket, as well as a mustard sauce, and a bacon aioli sauce. This was Joe. That's not an action shot. Joe actually posed for this picture, lol. Nice guy.
• Jerk chicken
• Chicken fried steak with gravy
• Three-cheese mac and cheese
• Tangy Jamaican cole slaw
• Potato salad
• Yuka fries
• Red beans and rice with coconut curry milk
• Salad bar
• A dessert table, with cupcakes, cookies, and brownies
• An ice cream bar (they had vanilla and chocolate, with add-ons such as sprinkles (yeah, I say sprinkles), cherries, chopped M&Ms, and various sauces (caramel, chocolate, etc.)
At halftime they had these mini chicken sandwiches, with sauce and pickles that were absolutely delicious.
What'd I have? I came in hungry, and I ate a lot. First, I had a cheeseburger, mac and cheese, jerk chicken, and a piece of chicken fried steak.
All of that was very good, and I was full before I finished the above plate. But because I'm a journalist for the people, I continued to sample the offerings, and went back for some brisket, with the mustard sauce and the bacon aioli.
I don't know if it was because I already had 3 pounds of food sitting in my stomach, but that was just OK. In an upset, the mustard sauce was better than the bacon aioli.
And then even after all of that, again, because journalism, I had some ice cream, with crushed M&Ms, rainbow sprinkles, and caramel.
The ice cream with crushed M&Ms, rainbow sprinkles, and caramel sauce, was, you know, ice cream with crushed M&Ms, rainbow sprinkles, and caramel sauce. It's pretty hard to mess that up.
At halftime, still full from all the food pregame, I had a mini chicken sandwich, which again, was very, very good. I skipped the empty vitamins in the salad bar.
Also, to note, the potato salad was a fan favorite. I'm not a big potato salad guy, but Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94.1 WIP said that it was "f****** bangin."
Grade: The gold standard for NFL press boxes is Dallas, and while Atlanta gave them a run for their money, I would still have Dallas comfortably ahead. The Cowboys, for example, have maybe the best mac and cheese I've ever eaten. It's that good. Maybe it's unfair to pit the Falcons' mac and cheese against the Cowboys' mac and cheese, but the difference in quality is notable.
That said, as noted above, the Falcons bring it. They had a ton of options, and everything was very good. The only gripe I have, and this is a big one if you know my feelings on the topic, is that they take the coffee away post-game. THAT'S WHEN WE NEED IT THE MOST. Come on, Arthur Blank.
Still, the coffee snafu wasn't enough for me to downgrade them, given their superb effort across the board otherwise. We have a new leader in the clubhouse in 2019. A.
Eagles vs. Washington: Week 1
What'd they have? Pregame, because it was a 1:00 p.m. start, they had a mix of breakfast and lunch:
• Breakfast stuff: Bacon, mini sausage links, scrambled eggs, and potatoes.
• Lunch: Salad, fruit, hoagies, and chopped smoked beef brisket on tiny dinner rolls.
They also had a junk food table that included soft pretzels, popcorn, donuts, tiramisu squares, devil's food cake, and assorted Frito-Lay brand chips.
At halftime, they always have their customary (and questionable) chicken fingers.
Post-game, they always have the worst pizza ever.
What'd I have? I had a sausage sandwich (like, literally just three mini sausage links on a dinner roll, a staple of the @JimmyKempski diet), smoked beef brisket on a dinner roll, a soft pretzel, and a piece of devil's food cake. That was all fine. I almost never have any of the awful post-game food. You know how some people say there's no such thing as bad pizza? Well, they've never had the Eagles' post-game press box pizza.
I've also had the chicken fingers at many an Eagles home game. They aren't good, and other reporters have said they have gotten sick from them in the past (I haven't experienced that, personally). But they're there, and I usually have a few of them, with regret.
Grade: To begin, the Eagles' press box used to be among the best in the NFL. They had an omelet bar, a carving station, and ice cream (including greats such as the Choco Taco, etc.). More recently, the Philly press box spread has become average, at best.
Anyway, let's review the pros and cons of the current spread:
• The soft pretzels are legitimately excellent, and have been a staple of the Eagles' press box spread for years. In the old days, the soft pretzels could just be great, without having to carry the rest of the team. Nowadays, they're sort of like that aging star player who can still play, but no longer has quality talent around it/him/whatever, and they're being asked to do too much to make up for mediocrity surrounding them. Ultimately, because they've been around so long, you become bored by them. They're kind of like the Aaron Rodgers of the NFL's press box foods.
• The other junk food is good as well, which is fine, except if you eat too much of that crap pre-game, the sugar rush you experience as a result will be gone by halftime, and then you crash. Still, in the moment, they're tasty. The devil's food cake, for example, was very good.
• They keep the coffee on post-game, which, as we've noted in these reviews repeatedly, is crucial.
• No bottled water! That is, of course, part of the Eagles' "green" initiative. Of course, the Snapple that they serve is in plastic bottles, and they have all the lights on in the stadium for a sunny 1:00 p.m. game, but the environment!
Instead, if you want water, you're filling it up at the water fountain like some kind of animal.
• While the junk food table is dazzling to the eye, the actual meal options typically just aren't very good (the brisket today was OK). All flash, no substance.
The Eagles care enough to provide some tasty food, but it's inconsistent. They certainly put out a much better spread than the Jaguars, Jets, Rams, and WASTEAMs of the world, but they are also pretty far from the elite spread they used to be. C+.
Update (12-1-19): This was probably the best of the food spreads the Eagles put out all year. They've been flat-out bad since. I'm knocking them down to a C.
Eagles vs. Jets: Week 4, preseason
What'd they have? Pregame, they had Chicken Francaise (does that get capitalized?), rolls, roasted potatoes, salad, steamed vegetables, fruit, and some pre-made sandwiches (turkey, Italian, vegetarian, and tuna).
At halftime, they had steak fries with chili and cheese, the second road game in a row in which chili and cheese were offered as complementary pieces to some kind of super-cheap food. Personally, I'm a cheese dipper, as I prefer to regulate exactly how much cheese I want with each bite, and can't understand why anyone would pour the cheese directly on top:
Post-game, they had ruebens, Cubans, and grilled cheese on rolls. They smelled a little weird to me, so I passed. One reporter who spoke to PhillyVoice on the condition of anonymity tried the grilled cheese, and had this to say:
"I had the grilled cheese as I walked out because I had successfully managed to avoid all the previous food and, hell, how can you F that up? It was halfway decent but a poor midnight snack choice."
At least they didn't take the coffee away, which is especially important for this annual fourth preseason horror show, as most visiting reporters have to drive an hour and a half home, typically well past midnight.
What'd I have? I had some Chicken Francaise, a couple dinner rolls, and some salad. That was all fine. I also had the fries at halftime, which were fine as well.
Oddly, despite sharing the same stadium, the Giants' food spread is way better than the Jets'. The Giants came in second in our food spread ratings a year ago, and even earned an A-. Personally, if I were a billionaire owner of an NFL franchise and I shared a stadium with another team, I'd be embarrassed if the other team had way better amenities, but whatever.
In fairness, I will note that in comparison to the Jaguars' spread a couple weeks ago, the Jets' spread was on par with the brunch buffet at the Wynn Las Vegas.
Grade: The stuff they had was perfectly edible, but was definitely of the "we're offering food because we feel like we have to, but don't expect any sort of real effort here" variety. I'll give the Jets a little bit of a break, seeing as it was the most meaningless of the already super-meaningless preseason games, and they passed the most important test, which is simply to continue serving coffee after the game is over. If this were the regular season, however, I would not be as kind. C-.
Eagles vs. Jaguars: Week 2, preseason
What'd they have? Pregame, they had burgers, salad, potato salad, corn on the cob, baked beans, and apple cobbler. It's nice to have Ross Tucker around calling Eagles games, because he always takes video of the press box food, which he did here.
At halftime, they had bad tortilla chips with even worse chili and cheese. Seriously, this is gross:
And this is grosser:
After the game, they had nothing, and they took the coffee away, a huge press box no-no, as that is when coffee is needed the most.
What'd I have? I didn't want to, but I tried the burger for journalistic purposes. It wasn't good. I even tried the chips and cheese. Awful.
I'll also note two other things about the spread:
Grade: Before we get to the food, let's first note that the Jaguars have the worst press box setup in the league, of the stadiums I have been to. From the press box, you have to walk down a flight of stairs to get to the food area, which is fine, except the line has nowhere to go except up the stairs. A visual:
Why is that problematic? Several reasons:
It's just the preseason, and mayyybe that's too early to give out overly harsh grades, but holy hell, Jaguars, have some pride. F.
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