September 27, 2022
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.
Eagles at Commanders, Week 3
Let me first thank the NFL's schedule makers for getting this game out of the way in Week 3. This is always the worst road trip of the season and the sooner that it is over and done with, the better.
Let's start with parking, which used to be normal. Not anymore. These clowns put media parking a half mile away from the media entrance. Actually, it was 0.48 miles.
Personally, as long as the weather is still nice, some of us like a little 10-minute walk more than others. Count me among them. I got to take in a little of the parking lot atmosphere, get some extra steps in, etc.
Still, when you're dropping a pin so that you can find your parked car after the game is over, that's far. Now, I'm not saying that media folks should be entitled to better parking than the average fan attending the game, but the Commanders seemingly going out their way to move us from the lot that was right by the media entrance to one that was substantially further away was a petty 🖕 and an example of the inhospitable malaise that infests every corner of this franchise, in my opinion.
OK, so you get inside, find your seat, and gaze out upon the view of the field, and, well, it's the worst view in the NFL.
The DeVonta Smith touchdown was in the corner of the end zone closest to us, so we could see that. But if the action is on the other side of the field, forget it, you ain't seeing sh-t. Oh, and if you're in the front row of the press box, there are no working televisions, or at least there weren't where I was sitting. So if you didn't see the play clearly on the field, you're not getting a replay of it either. We did, however, have a sweet view of this mystery moisture dripping onto someone's seat.
It wasn't even raining, lol. I'll note that the dripping did subside, but the dude sitting in that seat wore a Commanders towel over his head throughout the game. Maybe they gave him a 10 percent discount on that towel for his troubles? Let's hope so.
OK, onto the food. Their spread:
And then at halftime they had hot dogs and cheeseburgers.
I ate a piece of the chicken. It felt wrong, but I did it. It wasn't good, of course, but it felt like the most edible food item they they had prepared, so I took one for the team and dove in. I didn't die, so we'll call it a win. Jeff McLane of the Inquirer noted that he has never seen gray breakfast potatoes. Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94.1 WIP remarked to me, "As part of your job, you should have to eat the eggs."
I'd rather quit. Honestly, even just uploading this picture into this article got me a little nauseous.
The Commanders' coffee is supplied by Black Rifle Coffee Company, which offers brands such as AK-47 Espresso, Silencer Smooth, and Murdered Out.
You may remember Black Rifle in the news this summer, when the Dallas Cowboys announced a partnership with them, fresh off of the mass shootings in Uvalde, TX and Highland Park, IL. I was not aware that the Commanders had a partnership with them as well, but of course they do.
The hotdog at halftime was fine, and they had a decent rack of assorted snacks, which would put them above the level of an F, but given all the other badness of this stadium and organization as a whole, I just can't see to it to grade them higher than a D-. I think the only reason I still go to games here is for this stupid column.
Last year I definitely gained weight because of my press box gorging. This year I want to make sure I offset that to some degree by hammering out at least a 20-banger on the travel day preceding gameday, which was a sacred day typically reserved for old fashioneds at the airport 🥃🛫. I mean, I'll still have the old fashioneds, but let's add some exercise in, too. As a way to keep myself accountable, let's go ahead and track those efforts publicly:
Week 1, Lions: 23,793 steps ✔️
Week 2, Eagles: 20,234 steps ✔️
Week 3, Commanders: 20,047 steps ✔️
Week 5, Cardinals:
Week 9, Texans:
Week 11, Colts:
Week 14, Giants:
Week 15, Bears:
Week 16, Cowboys:
Vikings at Eagles, Week 2
In 2020, the Eagles had the best press box food spread among the six spreads I sampled (I did not travel to Dallas due to spikes in COVID), with a really solid B+ showing. They took a step back in 2021, when they earned a C+. And so, 2022 is something of a crucial year for the Eagles' spread. Would they settle in as a "middle of the pack" type of spread, or would they take their game to the next level with a team on the field that can perhaps compete for a Super Bowl, thus soon likely becoming a magnet for increased national media attention?
Unfortunately, in my opinion, it was the former, at least on Monday night. The Eagles had three main entrée dishes:
• Korean BBQ pork roast: This was a polarizing dish. "Tender and tasty," podcast partner Brandon Gowton (BLG) of Bleeding Green Nation said.
E.J. Smith of the Inquirer was not as impressed. "The short rib was literally one of the worst things I’ve eaten in recent memory," Smith said. "Ruined my appetite for the midnight Stromboli. Whatever grade you were planning, make it lower."
I lean more toward E.J.'s thinking here. Mine was bad. In fairness, there was only like one piece left on the tray when I got mine, so I got the piece that the rest of line deemed unfit for their plate. It was fatty and gristly.
• Chicken Bruschetta: The chicken was fine, I guess. It was cooked correctly, with the right amount plumpness. It just didn't have much flavor.
• Four-cheese tortellini: I only grabbed two tortellinis just for the purpose of sampling them, and had no desire to go back for more.
I think that just as a general bar to set when evaluating food dishes, I ask, "Would it be better if I made it?" And in my opinion, while I'm not exactly Wolfgang Puck, yeah, I could make a better pork roast, chicken bruschetta, and tortellini. In chart form:
|Korean BBQ pork roast||✅|
The Eagles also had their traditional hoagie options, as well as their typical snacky treat table.
From left to right:
• The cannoli cream was very tasty, though the shell was kinda soft. I'd prefer a flakier shell, personally, but the taste of the cream made up for it.
• Jeff McLane of the Inquirer felt that the cookies were more like muffins. Gowton made a similar comment, noting that they were "cakey." Agreed on both takes. I felt that the rainbow sprinkle cookies were the most like actual cookies.
• The last two seasons, the Eagles had individually wrapped pretzels. They were trash. This year, the old pretzels are back, and they were delicious. They had ideal texture and great salt coverage. The upgrade from the prepackaged pretzels to the fresh ones is a HUGE development, and worth a half letter grade bump. 🙌🥨
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. I sit next to Eliot Shorr-Parks in the press box at home games, and one of his patented moves is to go get his chicken fingers while there's still time left on the clock during the first half so that he can beat the line. It's usually a veteran move that I respect, but I had to convince him not to do that on Monday night, as there was a decent chance he'd miss something. And sure enough, the Eagles had a great drive at the end of the first half that ended in a Jake Elliott field goal. You're welcome by the way, ESP.
Postgame, they always have strombolis, as E.J. noted above. I wasn't touching sleep-inducing carb pockets at 1:00 a.m. when I still had to write and drive home.
While we're on the Eagles, I quickly wanted to give a shoutout to former Eagles PR guy (and current Bills PR guy) Derek Boyko, who raised the bar this week by sending out the press box food spread menu in advance. This comes via the No. 2 ranked press box food spread analyst in the world, Ross Tucker:
That is outstanding work by the Bills, and Ross is correct that every other team in the league must adopt this approach immediately.
Grade: I really like the people who serve the food (and I don't think there's much they can do about the quality of it), so I'll be kind and give the Eagles a C+.
Eagles at Lions, Week 1
I arrived at Ford Field at around 9:00 a.m., and food wasn't being served yet, but they had coffee, which was good enough. While getting my computer and other electronics situated at my press box spot, a Lions PR guy approached me, addressed me by name, introduced himself, and chatted me up for a bit about the upcoming season. This was out of the ordinary. Well, for me it was, anyway. Maybe not for someone like, I don't know... let's go with... Mike Garafolo? Was this PR guy aware of my press box food spread schtick and he was trying to butter me up, or was he just super good at his job? Maybe it was both? Whatever the case, as a memo to PR guys/gals around the league, being extra nice to me on gameday will indeed improve your press box food spread grade. Please make a note of it.
The Lions' breakfast offerings, served at 10-ish:
I sampled the biscuits and sausage gravy, which was actually quite good. Fluffy biscuits, tasty gravy. The potatoes... eh.
I also had the ground chorizo with shredded cheese, which was also good and had some heat.
At halftime, they had hot dogs and "Detroit-style Coney dogs," which have Coney sauce, diced onions, mustard, and shredded cheese. What's Coney sauce? After some research, it appears that ground beef, tomato sauce, and chili powder as the base ingredients. I went regular hot dog, and it was good. No mustard, though, unless I missed it. They only had honey mustard, which I tried on half my hot dog just to see if I had been missing out on something great all these years. (I hadn't.)
They also had an ice cream freezer, which contained the following:
To note, they did not have bites taken out of them, as shown in the pictures above. Strawberry Shortcake was an odd choice. Of the the three Good Humor bar staples (Strawberry Shortcake, Chocolate Eclair, and Toasted Almond), the clear No. 1 pick is the Chocolate Eclair. But whatever. They had ice cream, which is an automatic bump in a half letter grade for me. It's so easy to do. Buy a small freezer, load it up with some ice cream, and let people grab and go. Boom. (I went ice cream sandwich, for the record.)
They also had a snacky treat station at halftime, which included an assortment of nuts and trail mix (for lack of a better description), and boxes of popcorn.
We had our first food-related injury of the season. Jeff McLane of the Inquirer had a chunk of his tooth break off while sampling the popcorn. I blame the Eagles' passive training camp / preseason for not having Jeff ready for the regular season.
Post-game, they had pulled chicken and pulled pork. The pulled chicken was gone by the time we made it back up to the press box after locker room availability, but the pulled pork was still there. It tasted better than it looked:
Grade: Overall, it was a nice enough showing by the Lions, who improved from a C- last year to a B- this year.
Other random gameday experience notes:
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