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December 29, 2023

2023-2024 NFL press box food spread ratings

Jimmy Kempski reviews food spreads from press boxes across NFL stadiums.

Eagles NFL
100123Howard Jimmy/for PhillyVoice

This is Howard, omelet master.

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, dweeb. Please note that we'll have the most recent press box reviews at the top.


Eagles at Seahawks, Week 15

Before we get to the food review, I would like to first say that Lumen Field has an elite location. I love a good walk from my hotel to the stadium, and my walk from Belltown to Lumen through a misty rain was pretty great. The stadium is right in the city, and just a couple of blocks from Elliott Bay. 


My stadium location power rankings (using team names, not stadium names):

  1. Saints
  2. Seahawks
  3. Titans 
  4. Broncos
  5. Bears (just not after December begins)

And by bottom five (1 being the worst):

  1. Commanders
  2. Patriots
  3. 49ers
  4. Chiefs
  5. Giants/Jets
Here's what the Seahawks served pre-game:

• Herb crusted pork loin carving station, served with roasted Washington apple gastrique


What's a "gastrique," you may ask. According to

"In plain terms, a gastrique is a sweet-and-sour sauce at its simplest. You caramelize sugar (or sometimes honey), combine it with equal parts vinegar, and reduce it slightly to make a tart, slightly thickened syrup."

The Washington apple gastrique was delicious.

• Chicken saltimbocca, with crispy prosciutto served with sage beurre blanc

• Roasted garlic mashed potatoes with fresh chives

• Roasted tri-color cauliflower with preserved lemon, garlic confit vinaigrette

• Assorted breads from Macrina Bakery with assorted seasonal butter

• Fruit table


• Assorted cookies and brownies

• And, of course, the Seahawks' main attraction, the coffee bar: 


Here was my plate: 


At halftime, they had hot dogs, and unless I missed it, that was it. Postgame they had some crappy pizza.

I thought all of the Seahawks' pregame food options were fresh and tasty, but lacking in variety. Overall, B- level. However, their grade gets a big boost from the coffee bar, which is a unique treat, and emblematic of the host city. 

I remember back in 2017, the last time the Eagles played in Seattle, someone came to our work stations, took our coffee orders, and served them to us like we were in a restaurant or something. That was pretty remarkable. They didn't have that this time around, and certainly I don't fault them for that. I asked for a caramel macchiato, expecting them not to be able to do that, but they delivered.

Grade: B+


Eagles at Cowboys, Week 14

Buckle up.

Pregame, the Cowboys had a bunch of hot and cold options:

• Hot offerings:

  1. Prime rib
  2. Grilled Buffalo chicken breast with lemon butter cream sauce
  3. Cowboys mac and cheese
  4. Grilled asparagus with roasted tomatoes
  5. Creamy Yukon mashed potatoes
  6. Artisan rolls

• Cold offerings:

  1. Baby greens and mixed kale salad: Field greens, baby mixed kale, roasted pistachios, ricotta salata, roasted corn and jalapeño blend, marinated heirloom grape tomatoes, bacon, English cucumbers, honey-lime and chipotle vinaigrette
  2. Roasted potato medley composed salad: Potato medley, red onions, crispy chicken cracklings, celery, ranch and creole mustard dressing
  3. Roast beef and salame sandwich: Roast beef, roasted garlic and horseradish cream, Boar's Head salame, dill marinated Roma tomatoes and cucumbers, arugula, provolone cheese, creamy sweet onion spread, toasted brioche slider

The cold stuff looked great, but I went right for the hot stuff. My pregame plate:


The chicken was especially good, and honestly, I didn't even know that it was a lemon butter cream sauce on top when I ate it, but it was awesome.

If you've read our reviews in previous years, you know how much I rave about the Cowboys mac and cheese. For those of you new to this series:

The pregame offerings alone are better than like 98 percent of wedding receptions I've attended, but at halftime the Cowboys roll out an entirely new spread, lol. Most teams have like one extra thing. The Eagles, for example, will have hot dogs and chicken fingers at halftime, which is great. Many teams have nothing. The Cowboys go big. Here's what they had at halftime:

  1. Cowboys cheesesteak, with poblano ranch
  2. Wing Bar: Lemon pepper bone-in wings, traditional naked bone-in wings, BBQ and Buffalo sauce, celery sticks, carrot sticks, ranch, bleu cheese dressing
  3. Nacho Bar: Queso, pico de gallo, sour cream, jalapeños, blue corn chips
  4. Guac Fiesta Bar: Pulled brisket, taco ground beef, queso fresco, grilled jalapeños, spicy crema corn, tortilla chips, chicharrónes
  5. Kosher-style hot dogs: chili, ketchup, pickle relish, mustard, sauerkraut

Their halftime spread alone would get a better grade than most of the spread in this series. Here's a peek at the Guac Fiesta Bar:


I was pretty full, so I tried a half cheesesteak and a couple of wings.


Normally, I don't advocate that teams try to serve a food that the visiting team's city is known for. You're almost certain not to do it as well, and, you know, if we can get it at home why would we eat it on the road? Just do what you and your city does best. But holy crap, that cheesesteak was delicious (I mean, look at it), and it even had a little kick to it. The Cowboys were like, "Yeah, we're gonna kick the Eagles' asses on the field, and while we're at it we're gonna go ahead and make a pretty damn good cheesesteak in the press box while we're at it."

So that was probably it, right? NOPE! There were a bunch of high end desserts:

  1. Dulcey cheesecake fried rolls
  2. Ivory cream cheese carrot cake
  3. Toffee mousse and caramelized green apple tarts
  4. 86% chocolate cremieux shooters with raspberry ganache
  5. Cowboys Funday Gelato Jar Bar: With raspberries, blackberries, cherries, M&Ms, crumbled toffee, black and white crunchies, whipped cream, and sprinkles

Above, you may have wondered what the thing at the top left corner of my pregame plate was. This thing: 


That was the Dulcey cheesecake fried roll. That brown sliver along the bottom of it was some kind of caramel concoction, and it was incredible. After I ate that, I just so happened to be walking by as a Cowboys beat reporter was giving his dessert recommendations to an Eagles beat reporter. He said the Dulcey cheesecake fried roll was "just OK." Just OK 🤯?!? That's like Nick Sirianni having better than a 0.700 career winning percentage and people calling for him to be fired after a loss. 

Here's the "Cowboys Funday Gelato Jar Bar:


I went with chips, M&Ms, and sprinkles.


I sampled some of the other desserts as well, because, I mean, of course I did. 


The thing on the left is the "86% chocolate cremieux shooter with raspberry ganache." I don't know what raspberry ganache is, but I recommend it. The thing on the right was the "toffee mousse with caramelized green apple tarts." That was my least favorite of the desserts, but seemed to be the favorite of a bunch of others.

I should probably mention the coffee, while we're at it. That's not just some hotel-style coffee where you have a choice of regular or decaf. Nope. In the Cowboys' press box, you get a lot of coffee options:


I was feeling fancy, what with my raspberry ganache and whatnot, so I went Chai Latte, which you even get to customize.


And then of course there's the candy station. While picking out my candy team, I felt like I was being watched, and sure enough:

Anyway, the Cowboys had some oddball choices in there, like fruity Tootsie Rolls, which wouldn't be a go-to candy for me, but are fun as a once in a while candy, so they made the cut.


For moment I'd like to focus on that lime fruit slice above. Back in 2016, published my candy mock draft, which was widely panned:

The most common criticisms:

  1. The fruit slices at No. 3
  2. Gummi octopi at No. 5
  3. "Orange Tic Tacs aren't candy."
  4. "Why did you arrange this list vertically instead of horizontally?"

I can't argue with gripe No. 4. That was a bad choice by me. I also wouldn't put up much of a fight defending orange Tic Tacs at No. 8, even if (a) they're delicious, and (b) they are most certainly more of a candy than a mint.

But I would like to take a moment here to defend those fruit slices at No. 3. To begin, they're hit and miss, depending on where you get them. If you get them, at saaaayyy Shop Rite, they're probably going to be gross. If you get them at a proper candy store, at saaayyyy Lucille's in Manahawkin or Stutz on Long Beach Island, then they're one of the best candies on earth. Stick them in the fridge for a harder — yet still chewy — consistency, and they're special. It's that version of fruit slices that landed at No. 3 overall.

I'd never seen individually wrapped fruit slices, and doubted they'd be good, but obviously I had to find out. To my surprise — and maybe I shouldn't have been surprised since this is the Cowboys food spread we're talking about here — they were on point.

Grade: Back in 2020, The Athletic blatantly ripped off this series, which honestly is fine, as long as you mention that you're borrowing from my game, and all is well. (They didn't.) 

But even more objectionably they had the Buccaneers ahead of the Cowboys! (You can scroll down a bit a read my Bucs review from Week 3.)

Lol, what?!? If I were to do a full-league ranking, it would look like this...

1) Cowboys

(Gigantic chasm here)

2) Who cares?



Eagles at Chiefs, Week 11

Kansas City has two major professional sports teams — the Chiefs and the Royals — and their stadium setup is kinda similar to Philadelphia's in that they're right next to each other. On a Monday night game the traffic around the stadium is an absolute nightmare, and there isn't much in the way of police or parking guys/gals to shepherd folks to their intended lots. 

If you take an Uber or Lyft to Arrowhead, it's, uhhh, a shitshow. You don't get dropped off at the stadium. Instead, you get dropped off at a Taco Bell and an adjoining BP gas station near the stadium. You can see the Taco Bell on the right side of the image below:


From there you're walking to the media entrance, which of course is on the opposite side of the stadium. If you'll recall, the Eagles-Chiefs game had heavy rain at times leading up to kickoff. Along the walk to the stadium from the Taco Bell, there was a grassy/muddy hill. I'd say it was about 30-40 feet long, and just steep enough that if you're wearing dress shoes with compromised traction you have a decent enough chance of slipping and falling on your ass in the mud, at which point your entire night is ruined.

Here's the satellite image. The grassy/muddy hill was somewhere in the area circled in red:


Upon entering the press box, I told my colleagues of my brave journey down the muddy hill, and soon after some others — if I recall correctly, Tim McManus of ESPN, Eliot Shorr-Parks of WIP, and E.J. Smith of the Inquirer — also entered the press box with stories of how they traversed this unnecessary obstacle.

My strategy was to just gallop down the hill all in one shot. I did not want to have a bunch of stops and starts, which I felt would increase the chances of a slip and fall. This worked for me, and to my knowledge none of the other beats were bested by the hill.

If any Chiefs folks read this... Come on, guys. Let's get it together.

Anyway, once you got past the muddy hill, there may not be better smelling parking lots in the NFL than the ones at Arrowhead, where it's just one BBQ pit after another. It's basically impossible to walk through their lots and not get hungry, and I was ready to eat upon entering the press box. Here's what they served:


  1. Garden salad with ranch dressing
  2. Roasted chicken with country gravy
  3. Roasted fingerling potatoes
  4. Corn on the cob
  5. Dinner rolls
  6. Fruit platter
  7. Three different kinds of popcorn (cheddar, caramel, butter)
  8. Tortilla chips with nacho cheese
  9. Triple chocolate cookies


  1. Chicken tenders
  2. Brats with sauerkraut
  3. Hot dogs

My pregame plate:


Aaaaaaand my halftime plate:


Grade: Disappointing. Nothing on the pregame plate was good. The hot dog was probably the best thing they had, which is never a good sign. Walking through the parking lot and seeing/smelling all the delicious BBQ only to eat dry chicken is what dogs must feel like when they watch the humans stuff their faces on Thanksgiving and all they get is a can of ALPO. D.


Eagles at Commanders, Week 8

Every year when the schedule comes out, one of the first things I look for is when the Eagles have to play the Commanders on the road. It's consistently the worst road trip on the schedule, so ideally it comes early in the season just to get it over with and out of the way. 

Why does it suck? Hm, where do I begin?

• Well, for starters, you're looking at about a two and half hour drive, depending on traffic, if you're lucky. In the morning on the way to the game when you're bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, it's not so bad, but at the end of a long day that drive home suuucks. If you choose to stay in the area, you can venture into Washington D.C., but even then you're a half hour away. If you stay in Landover or a neighboring town, there's nothing to do. The best you can hope for is a 90% empty TGI Friday's within walking distance from your hotel.

• The stadium itself is the worst in the NFL by a country mile. I won't get too deep into that because it's well covered ground, but just at Eagles games alone in recent years, we've seen sewage pour out from the pipes into the stands, and a railing collapse that injured several fans and almost also took out Jalen Hurts. But from a press box perspective, you can barely see the game. This was my view this year:


I mean, I moved so that I could see, but lol. But even if you don't have a big metal bar right in front of your face, you can't really see what is happening at the far end of the field.

• The parking sucks. The media lot is about a half-mile walk to the media entrance, which honestly I kind of enjoy if the weather isn't awful. Others do not enjoy the walk.

• The food spread is usually gross. For example, look at my plate below, from 2020. It looks like there's a face on that chicken and it's going to try to bite me: 


That is nightmare fuel. 

But also, back in the day (like 5-10 years ago) they used to give you a ticket when you entered the press box, which you would later redeem for food at halftime. I remember the first time I covered a game there I did not know that I needed to get a ticket upon entering the press box, and sure enough, they sent my ticketless ass away after I waited in line for 10 minutes for a boiled hot dog. This was vintage Dan Snyder era stuff.

Anyway, I was curious if things would be different under new owner Josh Harris.

  1. Nothing he can do about the traffic.
  2. There will eventually be a new stadium, but in chatting with some of the Commanders beats, they don't think it's happening for quite a while. We'll probably still be going to this toilet of a stadium for the next half decade, at a minimum.
  3. The parking still sucks.
  4. But the food spread... Improved!

Here's what they had

  1. Lemon caper grilled chicken
  2. Roasted root vegetables
  3. Steak and cheese egg rolls
  4. Hot dogs
  5. Sausage
  6. Potatoes
  7. Assorted brownies and cookies

My plate:


Some notes:

  1. The hot dog was grilled, and tasty. The sausage was fine.
  2. There wasn't much of a variety of cookies, but they were smart to just go with tried and true chocolate chip. I've seen some press boxes offer like one variety of cookie, and they choose something like white macadamia or some such nonsense. Don't try to be a hero. Just serve the thing that everyone likes.
  3. Potatoes were bad. Flavorless and mushy.
  4. Chips were kind of stale.
  5. Not pictured is the lemon caper chicken. I sampled that. It was OK.

Still, that was a big improvement! They also had some nice additions, like this ice cream bin:


Boom, now we're talking. They even had mint chip and black raspberry in addition to vanilla and chocolate. I might suggest going the extra mile and providing a fixins station, with sprinkles, hot fudge, caramel, etc., but this is at least a start. Baby steps.

They also had the following candy/mint table:


That's an assortment of quality candies, but I was actually impressed with the inclusion of the individually wrapped mints in the back right corner. I don't think I've ever seen mints served in a press box, but it makes a hell of a lot of sense. When reporters are covering a game for 3+ hours, and usually working for 3 or more hours in the press box before the game, all while shoveling food into their faces, breaths can start to stink. 

Jason Kelce doesn't want to smell your stank-ass breath in the locker room after blocking Jonathan Allen for four quarters, but in Washington this year that wasn't an issue because they had mints! I say this with true sincerity — the mints were truly innovative and whoever thought to include them deserves a raise.

Grade: They still have a ways to go, but the food spread under Harris was greatly improved. B-.


Eagles at Jets, Week 6

Even though the Jets are an AFC team that the Eagles only play in the regular season once every four years, they have been a common road opponent because up until 2023 they used to play the Eagles in the preseason every year. Their spread is typically bad, so I came in with low expectations.

Pregame they served sandwiches (turkey, roast beef, Italian, and tuna salad) and vegetable wraps. 


I grabbed an Italian sandwich, and to my dismay I found that they had slathered mayonnaise on it. Why? Does the guy/gal who made these sandwiches really like mayonnaise and assume that everyone else does as well? Maybe I like mustard. Maybe I like oil and vinegar. Can we not just make some condiment packets available and people can dress up their sandwiches they way that they like them?

They also had some nasty looking hot dogs and tater tots.


I didn't dare touch the hot dogs, but I tried the tots. They were mushy. Not pictured: A bowl of tortilla chips, kettle chips, and a couple trays of vegetables. They also had some cookies:


I happened to be present when the Jets served the cookies, so I was able to get a picture of the full tray. There are around 60 cookies there, and I'm like 90% sure they didn't have reinforcements. With a couple hundred people in the press box, those 60 cookies will get wiped out in half a heartbeat, especially when the other food isn't good. I had a snickerdoodle, and when I went back for seconds sure enough that tray above had been picked clean.

At halftime the Jets served chicken, pasta, bread, and soup. The soup was OK. The chicken was tough, and the pasta was bad. The Jets did redeem themselves a bit with this impressive candy/snack selection. (You can also see my plate of chicken and pasta below, in front of the Swedish Fish)


In case you can't see all of that, they had a couple of different bags of popcorn, Swedish Fish, Sour Patch Kids, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Hershey bars, Kit Kats, Hershey bars with almonds, Skittles, Reese's Pieces, and Hershey Kisses.

If I were to do a power ranking of those candies, it would look like so:

  1. Skittles 🐐
  2. Reese's Pieces
  3. Kit Kat
  4. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
  5. Hershey Kisses
  6. Swedish Fish
  7. Hershey bar
  8. Sour Patch Kids
  9. Hershey bar with almonds

When Swedish Fish can't even crack the top half of a list, that's a pretty impressive selection of candies. And yet, I was less impressed than I might have been otherwise since the Rams had a very similar candy selection the week before (as shown in their review below).

Grade: If the above spread were to be found in Jacksonville or Cincinnati or some other small market team I might expect a spread like the one above, but I find it hard to be forgiving of an owner in the biggest market in the country. Maybe take a break from bootlicking a criminal and shell out for a respectable spread. Like, have some pride, man. I won't even get into the woefully unorganized parking situation that exists for Jets games but somehow doesn't for Giants games. D.


Eagles at Rams, Week 5

The Eagles last played in Los Angeles in 2018, when Rams home games were played at the dilapidated L.A. Coliseum. Their spread that season is in contention for the worst ever in this series. Here's what they had:

In case you can't see the detail in that picture, those are boxes with sandwiches inside, some fruit, popcorn, trail mix, and three lonely muffins. Yes, they served precisely three muffins. If there were four or more media folks who wanted muffins, they were either sharing, or fighting over them like a press box version of Lord of the Flies. I gave them an F.

In 2020, the Rams moved into SoFi Stadium, a sophisticated behemoth of a complex near LAX. They can no longer get away with the embarrassing spread shown above. Upon my arrival, breakfast was served. In the "hot food" area, they had French toast, bacon, scrambled eggs with pastrami, and hash browns.


At the additional food station, they had a lot of options.

  1. Roast beef and pepperoncini sandwiches
  2. Turkey pesto and Swiss ciabatta sandwiches
  3. Fruit cups
  4. S'mores chocolate pudding
  5. Assorted Danishes
  6. An impressive assortment of candies, including Sour Patch Kids, Peanut M&M's, Kind bars, Skittles, Hershey bars, Kit Kats, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Hershey bars with almonds, and some chewy granola bars.
  7. Mini muffins
  8. Iced tea bottles
  9. Starbucks Nitro Cold Brew — Regular and Vanilla Sweet Cream, They also had regular coffee off to the side.
  10. Fruit water, and bottled water 
  11. Assorted snacks (like Doritos, etc.)
  12. Also throughout the day, additional desserts just kept showing up and disappearing, like various cookies and cakes (not pictured below)


Pregame I had some bacon, some hash browns, a Kit Kat, Peanut M&M's, some fruit water, and a Cold Brew. The hot food wasn't great. "It's hard to mess up pastrami, and they did," said Mike Sielski of the Inquirer, who sampled the scrambled eggs with pastrami. 

However, all the additional stuff was great. I thought the MVP of the day was the lemon poppy mini-muffin, a true underdog story in the food spread realm. That thing was delicious.

Apparently, they also had bagels at one point. I missed that somehow. As noted above, additional food options would show up and then quickly disappear. You kind of had to be on your toes. "Literal perfection," Eliot Shorr-Parks said of the bagel toaster, which apparently was some fancy appliance and not your typical Hamilton Beach jawn. "I want the toaster they had on the exact setting it was on. It was golden brown and crispy, but somehow also chewy and soft," ESP added. Of course, Eliot also claimed during the game that he could beat Jason Kelce in a foot race, sooooo...

At halftime, they had a mix of food reminiscent of your last week of school at college, when you just cooked all the leftovers in your freezer. They had the following:

  1. Pigs in a Blanket
  2. Fried Chicken Sliders
  3. "Triple Fries"
  4. Spinach Empanadas (not pictured below)


By "triple fries," they meant three different kinds of fries (in this case steak fries, tots, and curly fries) just all sort of lumped together in a tray. Weird. Whatever. I had some.

The chicken sliders were the best of the bunch from the lunch spread.

Postgame, the Rams had...... (drumroll)...... BEER! Automatic half-grade bump. I had a Modelo or two, and a Stella.

Grade: I saw real effort here, and there were so many options to choose from that they covered for the "meh" hot food. And, I mean, they had beer. I'm going to award the Rams the "Comeback Spread of the Year" Award, but in a Geno Smith sort of way in that they came back from just not being very good initially. B+.


Commanders at Eagles, Week 4

Generally speaking, I arrive at games pretty early. Like, usually four hours before kickoff. On the road, it's rare that the food spread is set up when I arrive, and in many cases they don't make food available until 1.5 or 2 hours before kickoff. The Eagles' spread is always humming by the time I get there.

On Sunday, for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff, the Eagles served breakfast. They had the following:

• Sausage biscuits with gravy

• Scrambled eggs

• Bacon and sausage

• Fresh fruit

• Hotel-style bagel station


The bagel station is new, and they didn't have the bagel guillotine thing, but whatever. 

• It's back — the super popular omelet station.


• Snacky treat table, which includes soft pretzels, bags of Frito Lay chips (like Doritos, for example), popcorn, some bottled juices (apple juice, orange juice, cranberry juice), assorted Dunkin Donuts, mixed nuts, and muffins..


Here were my pregame plates. (Not pictured, a glazed donut.)


That stuff on my plate was all fine. Not bad, but not awesome. I arrived hungry, and was satisfied. I did not have an omelet. Our Shamus Clancy called his a "diner-quality omelet," which he meant as high praise. The soft pretzels are always very good.

At halftime, the Eagles had chicken fingers, as they have had for years. This year, the chicken fingers are way better than they have been in the past. In fact, they even overcooked this batch on Sunday, and they were still pretty good anyway.

Postgame, they had strombolis, cheesesteaks, and roast pork. I wasn't really hungry, but I was curious about the roast pork, and it was actually pretty good. They also had some cookies and brownies.


They were good, but I do have one small gripe — Why wait until after the game? Let's get those bad boys out a little sooner.

In addition to the food, the Eagles have a gift sitting at everyone's place in the press box when they arrive, which is a nice touch. In past years, the gifts weren't anything special, and oftentimes weren't even worthy of bringing home, so I never mentioned them in prior reviews. This year they have stepped up their gift game. Maybe we'll keep a running tab of the gifts this year? Yeah, let's do that:

  1. Preseason Week 2: Browns at Eagles: AAA emergency case for your car
  2. Preseason Week 3: Colts at Eagles: Bottle opener
  3. Week 2: Vikings at Eagles: Multi-USB port
  4. Week 4: Commanders at Eagles: Coasters

I couldn't find my AAA emergency kit, but here are the other three:


Those are all useful things! Because I'm a "BIG J" journalist and don't like owning things with Eagles logos on them, those are all getting thrown into a shoebox and gifted to my sister for Christmas. If you know my sister, please don't ruin this amazing surprise for her.

Grade: The Eagles used to have one of the best food spreads in the NFL, but in recent years they've been middle of the pack (C+ both in 2021 and 2022, for example). There's still room for improvement, but I like their comeback so far in 2023. I really labored over whether to award a B or a B+, but it's a gorgeous day, the Phillies just swept the Marlins, and I'm feeling generous. B+.


Eagles at Buccaneers: Week 3

Historically, the Bucs have had a solid spread. We gave them a B in 2021 and a B- in 2018. In 2023, they had:

• Nacho bar, with queso, chili, and other fixins: I did not make a plate of nachos for myself, but I snapped a pic of the Inquirer's Josh Tolentino's plate. To note, Josh did not see me do this, so if you're reading this, Josh, by the way I took a picture of your nacho plate.


I appreciate Josh's efforts to make his nacho plate look pretty.

• Cuban sandwiches: My Cuban didn't have any pickles on it, which of course are a staple of a Cuban sandwich. Whatever. The below Cuban sandwich doesn't look like much, but it was good.


• Hot dogs: The hot dogs were a little "sus," as my daughter would say. Thick and boiled. Pass.

• Carving station with roast pork and Spanish rice: Obligatory carving station pic... 👇


And here was my plate... 👇


The pork was good. The rice was surprisingly very good.

• Cookies and brownies: Solid cookie, solid brownie.


• Popcorn: I do not partake in press box popcorn. I fear getting a small piece stuck in my teeth, not knowing it's there, and then having it come flying out while interviewing a player in the locker room.

• Giant pretzels: Here's ESPN's Tim McManus' pretzel. It's a big boy. I'll just say Philly pretzels >>> Tampa pretzels, and leave it at that.


And, as they always do, the Bucs had Bananas Foster at halftime.


I made a similar point a few years ago, but 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 a minimum of 10 opportunities to have Bananas Foster per season, which I feel like is more than a lifetime's worth of Bananas Foster. Guys/gals who cover the Bucs for 20 years have over 200 opportunities to partake in Bananas Foster. If I covered the Bucs, I would document each time I had Bananas Foster over the course of my career, and upon retirement I would submit it to the Guinness Book of World Records for enshrinement.

Postgame, the Bucs did not have any food (no big deal), and they took away the coffee machines (not cool). I will note that there was a guy who was essentially "bussing tables" throughout the day, and by that I mean he was collecting empty plates from folks sitting at their places in the press box, which was a nice added touch.

Grade: Mostly quality food, and a decent number of options. Another solid B.


Eagles at Patriots: Week 1

Before we get to the food, let's first talk about getting to this stadium that is in the middle of nowhere.

To begin, I live in South Jersey, and it's about 20 miles from my house to Lincoln Financial Field. When the Eagles play at home on Sunday, I can typically commute there in 30 minutes or less. And that's driving into a major American city. If you've ever attended a Patriots game in Foxborough, you probably already know it's a nightmare. I stayed in Providence, RI (roughly 24 miles away), and left at around 11:15, anticipating major headaches and trying to get in early to avoid them. The first 20 or so miles up I-95 were fine. But once you get off 95, there's only one county road in and out of Gillette. 

First, let's take a look at the map of this shitshow of a stadium location, and then I'll show you what Waze had me do:


Waze directions:

• I went up 95, cruising, for like 21 miles. No traffic that early before kickoff.

• Waze had me get off at the exit onto Mechanic Street. Left on Mechanic. No crazy traffic yet.

• Right on Beach St. On Beach St., there are signs warning drivers not to use Beach St. if you're headed to the game. Now, I don't know if these are signs that were put up by law enforcement in Foxborough or by the folks who live on Beach St., but whoever put them there, piss off. Anyway, there was some traffic on Beach St., but nothing too crazy.

• Right on North St. No issues there.

• Left on Route 1. At this point, your GPS will say that you only have like 0.3 miles to go. But the reality is that this is really where your drive begins, as Route 1 on gameday is basically the ninth circle of hell. It took me less time to drive the ~24 miles from Providence to this point than it took from here until I parked my cahhh, as the locals say. There's virtually no signage of where to go / what lots are where, you'll sit at individual traffic lights for literally for 5-10 minutes (like, they're just red for that long), and the folks directing traffic are pretty much overwhelmed. And again, I got to this point of the drive at like 11:45, almost five hours before a 4:25 kickoff! I didn't get to the press box until like 12:40. I can only imagine what it's like if you arrive an hour or two before kickoff. You'll almost certainly miss some of the game.

There's no other stadium like this in the NFL. Like, even FedEx field, which is also in the middle of nowhere and is awful in countless ways, is at least relatively easy to get to.

Anyway, onto the food. Upon arrival, a coffee would've been nice, but, nope. They had nothing served whatsoever. By comparison, the Eagles' press box food spread was humming four-plus hours before kickoff for preseason games this summer. The Patriots didn't serve anything until around like 2:30-ish, I think(?), or two hours before kickoff.

The pregame options were:

  1. "Doms' steak tips"
  2. Rosemary roasted chicken breast
  3. Mac and cheese
  4. Mashed potatoes
  5. Vegetables
  6. New England clam chowder

My plate:


The steak tips were good, and the chicken didn't look very good but it was fine. The mac and cheese and mashed potatoes... 👎. I didn't even see the clam chowder, as it was hidden in the corner, but Ed Kracz of SI said it was "legit." 

Bo Wulf of PHLY also astutely pointed out that there was nothing to snack on during the game, which I agree is crucial. They did have cookies that were pretty good. I was happy with my chocolate chip cookie, and Shamus Clancy of PhillyVoice went out of his way to praise their oatmeal raisin cookies.

At halftime they had wraps and sandwiches. E.J. Smith of the Inquirer had a Chicken Caesar wrap.

"Chicken was solid, no weird pieces or anything, and the dressing was surprisingly good," he said.

They also had ice cream and pie, as well as some cupcakes that looked very good, but also very fattening.


It's funny to me that on each of the four peanut butter (?) cupcakes there's a broken pretzel on top. I guess they had no intact pretzels? I just had a scoop of ice cream.

Postgame, by the time we got back to the press box from postgame locker room access, they had a bunch of empty pizza boxes, and this one unwanted mystery pizza:


The red things weren't pepperoni, and the gray things weren't mushrooms. I wasn't sure what they were, nor were the folks in the general vicinity who I polled. OF COURSE that was the only pizza that was left, by the way, because, I mean, who would choose that? Oh, and no postgame coffee.

Grade: In past years, I recall the Patriots having good food spreads. This one was disappointing, and other factors (just getting there) also dampened the mood and hurt their grade. C.


Eagles at Ravens: Preseason Week 1

On my drive down I-95 to Baltimore, I was hungry and started thinking about the Ravens' spread, which I remembered to be pretty good the last time the Eagles played there in 2016, during Carson Wentz's rookie season. I recalled everyone raving about their crabcakes.

In preseason game No. 1, the Ravens did not serve crabcakes. Here's what they did have, via the second-best press box food reviewer in the game, Ross Tucker.

The hot dogs and salad were ready to go when I arrived, so, you know, I sampled each:


Soon after they rolled out their main course. I had the chicken cacciatore, a couple of meatballs, the pasta, a breadstick, and a cannoli. I forgot to take a picture of my plate before I started eating. It's the preseason for my food spread reviews, too, I guess. Anyway, here's my half-eaten plate:


The chicken cacciatore is absent from my plate above, but here's what that looked like in the tray:


The best thing on my plate was the pasta. Everything else... meh. The breadsticks were surprisingly bad. 

But where the Ravens' spread really fell off the wheels was at halftime. As you can see on Tucker's menu above, there were supposed to be chicken tenders and soft pretzels, but when halftime rolled around, there was nothing. I went back about 10 minutes into halftime, and still, nothing. They did eventually serve the chicken tenders. John McMullen of SI said, "They were crispy, and tender. I thought they were tremendous." Unfortunately, John's description doesn't put the tremendous chicken tenders in my stomach now, does it?

After the game, the Ravens were supposed to be serving pizza. Again, no pizza, as far as I could tell. They did at least have candy (I had a Snickers), and they left the coffee machines on, which was crucial for the drive home.

Pizza update 🍕📰: I have since learned that the Ravens did eventually serve pizza, after I left for the night. I am awaiting commentary from those who sampled it.

Pizza update No. 2 🍕📰: "Doughy," said Chris Franklin of "It was doughy."

Grade: It's the preseason. We're all trying to work out the kinks. I'll be kind. C-.

Press box food spread grades, to date

Team Grade 
Cowboys A+++ 
Eagles, Rams, Seahawks B+ 
Commanders B- 
Ravens C- 

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