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May 19, 2022

Updated 2021-2022 NFL press box food spread ratings

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010422FedEx3 Jimmy/for PhillyVoice


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, nerd. Please note that we'll have the most recent press box reviews at the top. But first a year-to-date ranking:

Cowboys A++ 
Raiders B- 
Eagles C+ 
Broncos C+ 
Lions C- 
Giants D+ 

We're a little late in naming our 2021 Press Box Food Spread All-Star team, but let's go ahead and hand out the hardware.


MVP: Cowboys Mac and Cheese: The Cowboys' mac and cheese is so good that a local TV station did a feature on it. I contributed:

Cowboys apricot brandy encrusted pork tenderloin with agave and chipotle glaze: It was as good as it sounds.

Cowboys boneless wings: I mean, really, I could just close my eyes and point at any of the Cowboys' food offerings and it could make this list, but these boneless wings were maybe better than any boneless wing I've ever had.

Cowboys beer: They had Miller Lite and Revolver Brewing Blood and Honey. They could have warm 30 packs of Milwaukee's Best for all I care, and I'd appreciate it.

Cowboys ribeye: It had green peppercorns, garlic, and crusted rosemary, with a brandy and mustard demi-glaze.

Buccaneers' Bananas Foster: Probably the most decadent of all the NFL's press box offerings.

Falcons soft serve ice cream: The Panthers had good soft serve ice cream, too, but the Falcons had more accompanying fixins, and they get bonus points for serving it in the morning.

Falcons hot dog: The hot dog itself was good, but I also appreciated the extra effort of the sesame seed bun.

The five worst

(I didn't try all of these, notably the mystery meat.)

  1. Washington's mystery meat
  2. Lions Texas Toast
  3. Raiders hot dogs covered with cheesesteak meat, mixed with peppers and onions
  4. Broncos pizza
  5. Giants rubber chicken fingers

The reviews


Eagles at Buccaneers, wild card round

For breakfast, the Bucs served waffles, scrambled eggs, potatoes, and sausage. Meh. It was all pretty underwhelming, but I do give them credit for serving both breakfast and lunch. For lunch, the Bucs upped their game. They had:

  1. Beer braised chicken with roasted garlic and kale
  2. Mahi mahi with roasted red pepper coulis, kalamata olives, and feta cheese
  3. Smoked pork loin carving station
  4. Cuban sandwiches
  5. Turkey sandwiches
  6. Mashed potatoes
  7. Haricot verts (thin French green beans)
  8. Hot dogs
  9. Giant soft pretzels
  10. Popcorn
  11. Bananas Foster

I feel like the easiest way to make a good impression with these press box food spreads is to have a carving station.


Even if the food isn't that great, people will talk themselves into thinking it was, just because someone cut them a few slices right in front of their eyes. There's something about it that makes you think there's something wrong with you if you don't like freshly carved meat.

I had the carved pork loin, and to be clear, it was very good, but I liked the beer braised chicken even more. I also sampled a Cuban sandwich:


Normally, I would have had a soft pretzel, but they were simply too big, and I'd have felt bad throwing out half a soft pretzel. Chris Franklin of housed his. 

"Nothing will replace a Philly soft pretzel, but it was very good," Franklin said. "Not stale. Hard and soft, and melted."

They did look good, with a robust, thick "soft pretzel filet" area. What's a "pretzel filet," you ask? Well, my mom refers to the middle, soft part of a soft pretzel as the pretzel filet.


But I digress. The real treat of the Bucs' press box food spread is the Bananas Foster, which is a regular staple there. What is Bananas Foster? Per Wikipedia:

Bananas Foster is a dessert made from bananas and vanilla ice cream, with a sauce made from butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, dark rum, and banana liqueur. The butter, sugar and bananas are cooked, and then alcohol is added and ignited. The bananas and sauce are then served over the ice cream.


"Impressive dessert," said Zach Berman of The Athletic. "I applaud the effort and the quality. Quite decadent for a halftime of a football game, but certainly a treat."

It is indeed quite a decadent dessert for a football game, especially if you pair it with, say, a hot dog.


As a reporter who might cover a game in Tampa every two to three years, having Bananas Foster is an appropriately rare, fun experience. I'm also sure that NFC South reporters covering the Panthers, Saints, and Falcons enjoy their once/year Bananas Foster. But it's hilarious to me that Bucs reporters will have their twelfth(!) opportunity to have Bananas Foster in a span of five months on Sunday, which I feel like is more than a lifetime's worth of Bananas Foster.

"Like you say, if you can have it every other week, it becomes less amazing," said Greg Auman, who covers the Bucs for The Athletic. "I can’t bring myself to wait in line for it, but if I get a sec with like five minutes left before second half, I’ll totally go over and get some. We’re really fortunate in that it’s a really good spread here, as you know."

Yep, I'll give the Bucs a solid B.

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Eagles at Washington, Week 17

Eagles radio voice Merrill Reese made some headlines this week when he and broadcast partner Mike Quick called the Eagles-Washington game from Lincoln Financial Field instead of FedEx Field, as noted by Rob Tornoe of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Eagles traveled to Washington on Sunday, but once again this season, the team’s longtime radio broadcasters didn’t go with them.

Instead, Merrill Reese and Mike Quick called the game on 94.1 WIP remotely off monitors a couple hours north at Lincoln Financial Field. Joining them at the Linc were Eagles’ Spanish language announcers Rickie Ricardo and Oscar Budejen.

Unlike most of this season, the decision to call Sunday’s game remotely had nothing to do with COVID-19 — the broadcasters just hate FedEx Field that much. In addition to the stadium’s crumbling infrastructure (water was leaking into the press box on Sunday), the visiting broadcast booth is behind the end zone, a terrible vantage point to call games.

“Merrill didn’t want to go to FedEx Field, which is a dump,” Ricardo said on WIP Saturday afternoon. “You’re in the corner of the end zone under the overhang, and you can’t tell what’s going on because you’re so low, you can’t see the yard lines. It’s impossible.”

It sure is a dump. By now you've seen video of the railing collapse that somehow didn't result in any serious injuries (including to the Eagles' starting quarterback!). 

And I'm sure you've seen footage of the time sewage leaked out of pipes onto their fans.

Anyway, in addition to Merrill, Mike, Rickie, and Oscar (a great quartet of boy band names, by the way), I also did not travel to FedEx Field for this game. Why? Because of recent COVID spikes, postgame press conferences are virtual only. It was a tough decision, so I weighed the pros and cons of missing out:


• I could actually watch the game on TV from my living room, as opposed to guessing what happened from the absolutely atrocious vantage point FedEx's press box affords, as noted by Ricardo above. For example, a past vantage point of mine:


• I'd have use of my own bathroom, as opposed to FedEx's prison-like press box bathroom, which has one stall, and one urinal that is super awkwardly right next to the sink.

Update: I'm told that the bathrooms have since been upgraded. It now has three urinals, with separators. My informant tells me, "It still smells like piss and there was no soap in the dispenser, but certainly an upgrade."

MORE: Week 18 NFL odds: Point spread, total and advice for every game, including Eagles vs. Cowboys | Eagles power ranking roundup: Week 18 | NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 18

• I had actually planned on bringing my own food anyway for this particular trip, as my gimmicky way of making light of the recent trend of away teams bringing their own benches instead of using Washington's shitty benches. So, (a) I didn't miss anything in terms of updating this food spread, and (b) I didn't have to pack a lunch.

• I avoided a two-hour drive each way.


• Uh, I didn't get to be one of a dozen other reporters tweeting that a guy just went to blue medical tent?

In the end, while there are usually major benefits to seeing a game live (assuming you can actually see it) and interacting personally with players and coaches afterward, I decided to skip it. If this game had been played in literally any other NFL stadium, I'd have gone. 

In case you're wondering, here's what they served, with the picture compliments of Jeff McLane of the Inquirer:


And here's what that food actually looked like:


That picture was courtesy of an anonymous Washington Football Team reporter, who wrote: 

"Not sure you made it to FedEx yesterday, so wanted to pass this pic along of some mystery-ass meat they had in the press box. I'm too much of a bitch to tweet it myself, but if you wanna shame that miserable stadium, please do."

Lol. Instead, on gameday, I had leftover Chinese food we ordered from King Wong in Marlton on New Years Eve, and it was delicious.


Grade (King Wong leftovers): B+

Grade (Washington): Incomplete.


Eagles at Jets, Week 13

This week's press box food spread update will be short, because it was basically the same spread the Giants put out a week ago, with some omissions and a few small changes. 

As a reminder, the Giants had the following, pregame. We'll cross out what the Jets didn't have:

  1. Omelet bar
  2. Fluffy scrambled eggs
  3. Sweet pork breakfast sausage
  4. Crispy applewood smoked bacon
  5. Potatoes O'Brien
  6. NY style bagels
  7. Croissants with honey butter and jams
  8. Yogurt
  9. House made fruit and granola 
  10. Fresh fruit

Considering the omelet bar was regarded by most of the Eagles' traveling media to be the best thing the Giants put out — and my favorite thing was the croissants — omitting those two things was not a good start.

MORE: McMullen: Buckle up, because nobody does a QB controversy like Eagles fans | Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Jets game | Eagles snap count analysis: Week 13 at Jets

At halftime last week, the Giants had the following:

  1. Crispy chicken tenders
  2. French fries
  3. Mini pretzel knots with a side of cheese dipping sauce
  4. Assorted ice cream bars

The Jets had the same fries, but instead of the chicken tenders and pretzels, they had Buffalo chicken sandwiches and pulled pork sandwiches. To call them "sandwiches" was perhaps a bit of a stretch. The "Buffalo chicken sandwich" was pretty much just a Buffalo chicken finger on dinner roll. It was pretty much the kind of thing I'd make if I had one leftover Buffalo chicken finger from my takeout order the night before and a small roll I had to do something with before it expired. It was still better than the Giants' rubbery chicken fingers.

The pulled pork was approximately 75 percent BBQ sauce. A look:


The Jets did not put out any kind of sweets at all. No cookies, no ice cream bars, nothing, which of course was an egregious oversight.

Prettttty weak stuff on two consecutive weeks from the no-fun guy and, well, this guy, in the biggest market in the NFL. D


Eagles at Giants, Week 12

The Giants' press box food spread has been on a steady decline over the last few years:


I hoped that their spread would improve this year with some COVID food service restrictions lifted, but was deflated when I received an advance scouting report from former Eagles beat writer turned Giants beat writer Zack Rosenblatt, who said, "Just want to preemptively warn you that the food at MetLife this year has been an abomination."

Upon my arrival, I learned that the Giants had an omelet bar, which according to several Giants writers is something that they had not had all year.


A few Giants beats credited my presence as motivation for the Giants' food spread folks to up their game a bit. I don't think I have that kind of power, but the sentiment was appreciated. Otherwise, the Giants had the following on their printed menu (their descriptions, not mine):

  1. Fluffy scrambled eggs
  2. Sweet pork breakfast sausage
  3. Crispy applewood smoked bacon
  4. Potatoes O'Brien
  5. NY style bagels
  6. Croissants with honey butter and jams
  7. Yogurt
  8. House made fruit and granola 
  9. Fresh fruit

At halftime, their menu said they had the following:

  1. Crispy chicken tenders
  2. French fries
  3. Mini pretzel knots with a side of cheese dipping sauce
  4. Assorted cookies

MORE: NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Week 13 | Week 13 NFL odds: Point spread, total and advice for every game, including Eagles vs. Jets | WTS: A loss that 'makes you wonder about Jalen Hurts, and his future' with Eagles

Martin Frank of the Delaware News Journal categorized the scrambled eggs as "fluffy," matching the description on the Giants' spread. I don't think he even knew that's how they described them. That's where the accuracy of those above descriptions ended. My gripes:

• The bagels were "NY style," if "NY style" means tasteless and difficult to cut with a plastic knife.

• The chicken fingers were far from "crispy." In fact, a year ago we said the following about the chicken fingers, when they were being served in COVID-safe plastic containers:

"The chicken tenders and fries looked good, but tasted like chicken tenders and fries that had been sitting in a plastic container for a few hours."

We included a picture at the time:


This year, they were served buffet-style, and as it turns out, the plastic container had nothing to do with it. That's just how they taste.

There were no cookies! You can't promise "assorted cookies," and then just not have cookies. That's what psychopaths do to their children. Channeling his inner Nick Sirianni, trusted Eagles beat writer cookie expert Tim McManus of ESPN said of the Giants' failure to serve cookies, “It’s not going to be an A, B, C, or D.”

The best thing I ate on Sunday was an improvisational pairing of the two foods they served that were actually half decent. I basically just shoved five sausage links into a croissant.


They did have some ice cream bars, as they typically do, but without the same level of variety that they've had in previous years

The Giants' decline from a quality press box to a poor one is probably a result of their deteriorating play on the field. What do you mean by that, Jimmy? Yes, good question, Jimmy. As the Giants have stacked one bad season over the next over the next over the next, there continues to be less and less interest in the team nationally. The teams gets less coverage, while fewer and fewer media care enough to actually attend games and watch them in the press box. 

As such, logically their downward trend of press box attendance could lead the team to think, "Well screw it, if we're not good enough for people to care about coming to see us play and our local media is mean to us to boot, we can put out a half-assed spread until we're relevant again."

I can't say for certainty that's what's happening here, but it's as good a theory as any, in my opinion. Or maybe John Mara is just a real life Grinch who is expanding his distaste for fun on the field to other areas of the stadium.



Eagles at Broncos, Week 10

The Broncos served breakfast and lunch before the 2:25 p.m. Mountain Standard Time kickoff. I'm not sure I've ever been in Mountain Standard Time, and the 2:25 p.m. kickoff was weird. Anyway, they served a "Continental Breakfast," which included fruit, yogurt, granola, muffins, and pastries.


For lunch, they had the following (descriptions theirs):

  1. Classic steak house Caesar salad
  2. House garden salad
  3. Honey glazed ham with Brussel sprouts and sweet potato fries
  4. Oven roasted carved turkey breast with green bean casserole and creamy mashed potatoes
  5. Potato leak soup

I had the turkey and mashed potatoes. The turkey was OK; the mashed potatoes were bad. They were chunky, but not in a good way.

They also had some assorted granola bars (we'll call it the hippie station), which I feel was appropriately on brand for Denver.


For dessert, they had cookies, muffins, and apple pie.


I had a sugar cookie and a chocolate chip cookie. They were both fine. Eagles beat writer cookie expert Tim McManus gave the sugar cookie a 6.5 out of 10. He lamented its hardness, and felt that sugar cookies should have some level of softness. That's the correct take, in my opinion, and why McManus is trusted league-wide as a reliable cookie narrator.

I did not have the apple pie, but Ed Kracz of SI did. He was neutral on it.

"There's really nothing, Jimmy, that makes it stand out, or set it apart from many apple pies that I've had in my life," Kracz said. "But it's good. It's solid. It's not warm; it's refrigerated. I prefer it warm, but it has a nice topping to it, very cinnamonny, and very crunchy, so I'll give it props there, but nothing really outstanding."

Yes, I interviewed Ed, and transcribed that.

At halftime, they had hot dogs, brats, and chicken wings. I had the wings. They were dry.

Postgame, they had pizza (plain and pepperoni). It was burnt.

Also, this is where I'll note that Bo Wulf of The Athletic demanded that it be made known that he got a mouthful of coffee grinds in his mouth while caffeinating. He was not happy about it.

Overall, I appreciated the effort that went into the Broncos' spread, and if you're into eating healthy food at a football game, they had some good salad options, and you probably liked it more than I did.

Grade C+


Chargers at Eagles, Week 9

Pregame, the Eagles served braised short ribs, chicken cutlets with spinach, potatoes, veggies, and lobster ravioli. I took a sampling of all of that, minus the veggies (empty vitamins).


The braised short ribs and the chicken cutlet were both fine, not great. I only took one bite of the lobster ravioli, because I was a little afraid of eating seafood at a venue where I knew I'd be for at least the next eight hours. Unless you're the Baltimore Ravens and you're serving crab cakes, seafood is a risky choice, in my opinion. Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer dove right into the lobster ravioli, and he thought the lobster was drowned out by the cream. You can probably see what he meant from the pic above.

The Eagles also had their traditional hoagie options, as well as their typical snacky treat table.


The snacky treat table always includes cookies, soft pretzels, popcorn, and the assorted chips to the right. And then they also have one unique snacky, which this week was a "pumpkin death bar." According to Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94.1 WIP, it had pecans, raisin, and caramel. ESP liked it, but said, "It's too sweet for my tummy." (Yes, that's a real quote.)

Brandon Gowton of BGN thought it was the best dessert snacky the Eagles had served all season. I for one am shocked that ESP and BLG would have different viewpoints on a subject. Anyway, a look at the pumpkin death bar...


Unfortunately, the pretzels that the Eagles now serve are not the same as the pretzels that they served for years, which were a mainstay on the "Press Box Food Spread All-Star Team." These new individually wrapped pretzels are a step down from the ones they have at Wawa. This has been a devastating development over the last two seasons.

The Eagles also had soup, which is not a mainstay, but they do have sporadically. It was lentil soup. Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philly gave it a “C+ on the Panera scale.” To be clear, I think that means that he liked it.

At halftime, the Eagles served their usual hotdogs and chicken fingers. The hot dogs simply don't look good, so I never touch those. The chicken fingers are reliably satisfying enough for halftime, but it's funny to me that they had chicken cutlets pregame, and then essentially different-shaped chicken cutlets as the halftime course.

Postgame, they always have strombolis. The pepperoni strombolis are the most popular, followed by the cheesesteak strombolis. When the Eagles were a better team and more folks covered their games, it was sort of hit or miss in terms of whether there would be any strombolis left by the time the beat writers would get back to the press box from postgame interviews. One of the things I'll miss most about Les Bowen, post retirement, is watching him go ballistic if all the stromboli slices are gone. 😂

A season ago, the Eagles had the best press box food spread among the six spreads I sampled, with a really solid B+ showing. Compared to what they served a year ago, I think they took a step back in 2021.

Grade: C+


Eagles at Lions, Week 8

The Lions didn't serve breakfast, but they did have a whole heaping mess of pasta out at the crack of 10 a.m. They had:

  1. Salad, with sliced tomatoes and mozzarella
  2. Lemon garlic roasted green beans
  3. Bolognese and cavatappi pasta
  4. Roasted garlic grilled chicken, with alfredo and penne pasta
  5. Parmesan garlic Texas toast
  6. Assorted dessert bars

I had the Bolognese and cavatappi pasta and the chicken with the alfredo and penne pasta. I also had a piece of Texas toast, obviously, and a cookies and cream dessert bar.


The Texas toast was basically like a garlic-flavored piece of cardboard. I ate it anyway. On my way back to the trashcan to dispose of my empty plate, I saw a number of plates that had one bite taken out of the Texas toast, and an empty plate otherwise. It's pretty hard to mess up garlic bread, but they did.

The chicken with the alfredo pasta was OK. The Bolognese, not as much, and I'm a Bolognese guy. According to a report from Jeff McLane of the Inquirer, they cleared the entire pregame spread at like 12:30 p.m., so if you didn't get there by then, you were just kind of screwed. The regular spread was replaced with hot dogs. They even took away the dessert bars. Why? That doesn't make any sense. If you're the type who likes to eat your meal, and then go back for dessert if there's still room, you may have gone back eager for a cookies and cream bar, only to find... hot dogs? 

MORE: NFL trade rumors: Will Eagles' win change Roseman's approach to the deadline? | McMullen: Eagles' rout of Lions was successful but hardly revealing | Indianapolis media is already calling for the Colts to bench Carson Wentz

At halftime, they had nachos and cheese whiz. That's a hard pass from me. And frankly it's kind of funny to me that you have to go through all sorts of COVID protocols just to get into the building, and then once inside, they're serving a giant open vat of germ-catching cheese that a hundred or so people are taking turns ladling onto their plates. 

E.J. Smith of the Philadelphia Inquirer was annoyed that there was so much cheese. 

"It was so cheese-focused," E.J. said. "I might even call it lazy. Don’t want cheesy pasta with red sauce? How about some Fettuccini Alfredo instead? If you’re insistent on avoiding dairy, you can have a salad and some rock-hard Texas toast. I held out for the halftime spread and was rewarded with CHEESE WHIZ AND TORTILLA CHIPS. Part of it is my own fault for trying to eat healthy in the press box, but still."

I could see if we were in Green Bay, and they served a lot of cheese-related dishes, because that's kind of their thing? But in Detroit, I have to say that I agree with E.J. here.

I did enjoy a little pregame warm apple cider. That probably saved them from getting an awful grade. 

You know, most people don’t know the difference between apple juice and apple cider. If it’s clear and yella, you’ve got juice there fella. If it’s tangy and brown, you’re in cider town.

After the game, they had pulled chicken sandwiches, wrapped in tin foil. They weren't good, but I ate one anyway, and then just felt bad about myself.

At least the food isn't as bad as the team.

Grade: C-


Eagles at Raiders, Week 7

The Raiders' press box in their new stadium was already known for being extravagant, as evidenced by this absurd donut creation Week 1: 

As such, my expectations heading into Allegiant Stadium were high. I arrived at like 8:45 a.m. PST, more than four hours before kickoff, and breakfast was already being served. A great start! They had:

  1. You choice of western scrambled eggs or a western tofu scramble with corn, black beans, and pico de gallo.
  2. Breakfast sausage and black pepper bacon
  3. French toast bake

A look:


They also had a dessert station setup, again, that they began serving before 9:00 a.m., that included: 

  1. Philly cheesecake bars
  2. Shoofly pie
  3. Root beer float push pop
  4. Butterscotch Budino cups
  5. Eagles and Raiders cookies
  6. Chocolate pizza

Very nice variety and setup:


The Raiders made a point to serve Philly foods, or at least what they thought were Philly foods, like the "Philly cheesecake bars." I associate cheesecake with New York, but whatever. They also had "Philly dogs," which were hot dogs that you could cover with cheesesteak meat mixed with peppers and onions. That doesn't exist in Philly, much less nature. Or at least it shouldn't. I feel like someone just made that up. Anyway, we'll get back to the Philly food theme in a minute. 

The cheesecake was good. I also got a Butterscotch Budino cup and Eagles/Raiders cookies. I felt the need to get one of each so as to remain impartial, being the "BIG J" journalist that I am.


And then on top of all that, the Raiders also had the most unique press box item of the season so far. Chilled coconuts!


And sure, why not? Candy, too.


Again, to make this point clear, this was all served before 9:00 a.m. The Raiders were off to a good start!

Prior to kickoff, I wondered if they would pull the breakfast foods out and serve lunch. They did not, but they did have a new set of lunch foods at halftime, which included:

  1. Mac and cheese
  2. Cheesesteaks
  3. Roasted zucchini and yellow squash

Coming off a pair of road games in which the Cowboys served the best mac and cheese on the planet and the Panthers had a really solid, B+ mac and cheese, the bar was high. It was not met. Bleh.


Its flavor was on par with its visual appeal. 

The cheesesteaks looked gross. I snapped a pic, but it's too blurry to show. That's my bad. I'll be better next time. But it brings me back to a point that I've made repeatedly in these press box food spreads. DON'T SERVE WHAT THE OTHER TEAM'S CITY IS KNOWN FOR. YOU WON'T DO IT AS WELL AS THAT CITY, AND IT'S SILLY TO TRY. Just do what you do.

Anyway, Raiders breakfast, good. Raiders lunch, bad.

After the game, the Raiders didn't serve anything and they kinda rushed us out of there as we were trying to write our postgame stories.

The Las Vegas Raiders' spread was a great representation of their city — all showy and exciting at first, with decreasing appeal the longer you stay. 

Grade: B-


Eagles at Panthers, Week 5

In the morning, the Panthers had Krispy Kreme donuts and coffee. I've had plenty of Krispy Kreme donuts in my day, and yet, I don't know if I've ever actually paid for one. Is that true for the rest of you? Anyway, my first thought whenever I see them is, "Yeah, I'm not eating one of those." And then I see them, and they look good, and I eat one, and it's delicious, and then I wish I had more self control. For the purpose of these food spread reviews, I didn't have to eat one. We've all had them. We all know what they are. I didn't have to sample it to tell you that they're delicious. And yet, I ate one anyway. Ugh.

The Panthers didn't serve breakfast otherwise, but they did at least serve lunch early. The lunch buffet served its first media guy at 10:16 a.m. That's perfectly acceptable. They had salad, a carving station (prime rib), turkey, roasted potatoes, mac and cheese, dinner rolls, and assorted cookies. I tried all of it.


Solid plate of food. The prime rib might look a little dry in that picture, and to some degree, it was, but it was flavorful. I do think that carving station guys in general should cut smaller pieces, especially if there are other food options. That's a lot of prime rib to have to commit to.

The potatoes and mac and cheese were both good, but nowhere on the level of the Cowboys' mac and cheese, which again, is the best mac and cheese I've ever had. I feel like any press box that serves mac and cheese the rest of the season is going to prompt a discussion about how good the Cowboys' mac and cheese was, and sure enough, Ed Kracz of SI didn't disappoint. Mike Kaye of thought the Panthers' mac and cheese was better than the Cowboys' mac and cheese, which is a take that is so bad that I'm mad at myself for even typing it.

The Panthers also had self serve soft ice cream. I went with the vanilla-chocolate twist with rainbow sprinkles and chopped Oreos. They also had chocolate sauce, chopped cherries, and nuts. 


Note to press boxes food spread directors who are hosting the Eagles this season — if you have ice cream, you will have points added on in your favor. Please make a note of it.

At halftime, they had sausages on hot dog buns. That's pretty common in NFL press boxes at halftime. It was fine. And then after the game was over they had chicken fingers. They looked like standard frozen chicken fingers, but these actually had a little kick to them. I was pleasantly surprised.

The Panthers had the unenviable task of following the Falcons (Grade: A) and the Cowboys (Grade: A++). It's almost like trying to be Jeff Garcia in San Francisco, trying to follow Joe Montana and Steve Young. Garcia was a good quarterback for the Niners, and even made some Pro Bowls, but he was never going to win a Super Bowl. Similarly, the Panthers had some good stuff, and I'd be perfectly happy if I were a Panthers reporter and got to eat their spread on a regular basis, but it's too difficult to stand out after we just graded Dallas.

Grade: B 

MORE: Handing out 10 awards from the Eagles-Panthers game | Five questions we have about the Eagles after their comeback win


Eagles at Cowboys, Week 3

To begin, I should first note that I weighed myself at the hotel prior to leaving for the stadium, with the intention of seeing how much weight I gained by the time I returned after the game.


Make your guesses now before scrolling down. Done? Cool. Continuing on...

I arrived at AT&T stadium around three and a half hours before kickoff, and the Cowboys were already serving dinner. Their pre-game spread, as always, was ridiculous:

• Smoked beef ribeye with green peppercorns, garlic, and crusted rosemary, with a brandy and mustard demi-glaze.

• Caesar salad: Romaine and heritage salad blend, with shaved parmesan cheese, kalamata olives, roasted tomatoes, Texas toast croutons, and jalapeño Caesar dressing.

• Greek antipasti salad: Heirloom pear tomatoes, asparagus, English cucumbers, sliced green olives, roasted red peppers, feta cheese crumbles, baby arugula, and while Balsamic vinaigrette.  

• Open-face roast beef caprese: Roast beef, mozzarella, baby arugula, marinated tomatoes, and Balsalmic spread on a herbed breaded loaf.

• Apricot brandy encrusted pork tenderloin with agave and chipotle glaze.

• Loaded double baked potatoes with bacon bits, chives, and cheddar.

• Grilled broccolini with sweet peppers and red pickle onions.

• Cowboys mac and cheese.

• Assorted dinner rolls with creamy butter.

I had the rib eye, the apricot pork, the mac and cheese, the twice baked potato, and a dinner roll, shown here: 


I'm more of a filet guy than a ribeye guy because there's a little more fat than I prefer on a ribeye, but it was still pretty damn good. The potatoes were great, and I appreciate the added effort that goes into twice baked potatoes.

But nothing compares to the mac and cheese, which is seriously the best mac and cheese I've ever had. To be clear, I don't just occasionally have mac and cheese. If I'm out at a restaurant and they have a mac and cheese side on the menu, I'm getting it, like every time. On Monday night, the Cowboys mac and cheese was amazing as always. Likely MVP this year.

And then I also think we need to acknowledge the apricot pork, which is a strong contender for Rookie of the Year honors. The apricot brandy sauce was delicious, and the pork was cooked perfectly, which isn't easy to pull off.

They also had a candy and a dessert station shown, as shown in the two pics below:


They used to have a big bulk candy station, which I guess they got rid of due to COVID? The candy boxes are a strong alternative. I grabbed a candy box, a cannoli, and a pudding shooter. My candy box had a Payday, a Milky Way, A Dum Dum, a KitKat, A Twix, two Starbursts (the good ones — pink and red), and M&M's. I ate all of it. They were small sizes, to be clear, obviously. Or maybe not so obviously? Whatever.

At halftime, they brought out an entirely new spread, lol. Here's what they had:

• Mini cheesesteaks with jalapeño jack cheese, and caramelized onions. 

• A "Guac fiesta bar" with grilled shrimp, pulled brisket, pulled pork, guacamole tortilla chips, chicharrones skins, queso fresca, grilled jalapeños, and spicy crema corn.

• Chicken spring rolls with sweet chili sauce.

• Buffalo boneless wings with celery sticks, carrot sticks, blue cheese dressing, and ranch dressing.

• Nathan's kosher style hot dogs, with your choice of chili, sauerkraut, ketchup, mustard, pickles, and relish.

• They even replaced the original desserts with new ones, which included chocolate chip and macadamia but cookies, as well as mini cupcakes.

I had the boneless wings (excellent), the pulled pork, pulled brisket, chips, a chocolate chip cookie, and a mini cupcake.

Normally, I don't like when opposing teams serve cheesesteaks, because (a) I can get those in or around Philly, and (b) they're not going to make them anywhere near as well as places in or around Philly. I didn't have the cheesesteak because I simply couldn't fit anything more into my body, but apparently they were very good, per Eliot Shorr-Parks of WIP. And I respect that the Cowboys put their own southwestern spin on them by adding jalapeños. It wasn't enough that the Cowboys beat the Eagles' asses on the field. They also had to go ahead and make better cheesesteaks while they were at it.

And then, as always, post-game, they had beer. They had Miller Lite and Revolver Brewing Blood and Honey. I had three tall glasses of the latter.


When I got back to my hotel, I fell asleep. 

Anyway, I did not weigh myself until the morning. The results:


Grade: A++


Eagles at Falcons: Week 1

From the time the Falcons opened their food spread at 11:00 a.m. until around 12:30 p.m., I had all of the following, in chronological order:

  1. Chicken parm
  2. Mac and cheese
  3. Garlic bread
  4. Carved turkey with chimichurri
  5. Vanilla and chocolate soft serve with rainbow sprinkles, crumbled Oreos, and crumbled mini M&Ms.
  6. A soft pretzel
  7. A hot dog

Normally, I don't eat everything that each press box offers, but it all looked good, so I thought I owed it to the Falcons — and more importantly, to you — to sample as much of it as I could. The game hasn't even started as I type this very sentence, and I want to take a long nap.

Update at 12:35 p.m.: Jeff McLane of the Inquirer just came over to talk press box food spread shop with me, and he noted that they also have a brisket sandwich. I'm sorry, but I just can't. That's not happening.

Anyway, the all-star of the pre-game spread was the ice cream sundae:


Yes, the Falcons served ice cream in the morning. And yes, they will be rewarded for doing so.

The chicken parm, mac and cheese, and garlic bread came in a pre-packaged box, COVID-style, like most teams served food during the 2020 season. For a boxed lunch, it was better than anything we had on the road a year ago.

The carved turkey with chimichurri was OK, and I only ate the pretzel to see how it stacked up vs. the Eagles' pretzels. Again, it was fine. Eliot Shorr-Parks of WIP asked if cheese came with it, and when I said I believed it was a dipping option, he opined, "I prefer my soft pretzels to have cheese on the inside." No word if Eliot traveled to Atlanta in a private Gulfstream G4 jet. 

The hot dog was very good, and it even came on a black sesame seed bun. Normally, I'd have skipped the hot dog, but if they're going to go to that extra effort, it would be rude not to eat it. It was delicious.

Again, I ate all of the above things before the game even started. At halftime, the Falcons served street chicken pitas with lettuce. Normally, the halftime meal is sort of like the ugly brother to whatever the main pre-game meal was, but the street pita was pretty good.


The Falcons also served popcorn, cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, and they had a salad bar (no room for empty vitamins). Normally, I'd at least sample the cookie, but I had already put my stomach through enough. I noticed during the game that Tim McManus of ESPN had sampled a couple of cookies, so I texted him bright and early on Monday morning for his take.


So there you go.

Grade: This spread wasn't quite as good as the one the Falcons put out in 2019, but it's fair to note that we're grading these on a curve, as COVID is affecting what each team is able to serve, and how they serve it. It was a far batter spread than anyone put out in 2020, and for that, on opening weekend of the 2021 NFL season, they earned themselves an A.

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