Everything an NFL Player Eats on Super Bowl Sunday

New England Patriots eating turkey
Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe / Getty Images
Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe / Getty Images

If you think you're going to eat a lot on Super Bowl Sunday, you've got nothing on a guy who's actually playing in the game. Ok, you'll probably be drinking more. But foodwise? You don't stand a chance.

To get an idea of what an NFL player shoves in his massive face pre- and post-game, we spoke to six-time Pro Bowler, ESPN talking head, almond enthusiast, and Super Bowl winner Jeff Saturday, a guy who heard Peyton Manning shout "Omaha!" a million times when they played together on the Indianapolis Colts.

eggs and bacon
Flickr/Michael Sharman

Pre-game breakfast

Saturday was listed at 6'2", 295lbs when he played, so he can (using his words) "crush" food. The man would eat about 8,000 calories a day in the preseason. That would explain the two breakfasts he had the morning of the Super Bowl. He went back to his hotel room to lay down in-between these two breakfasts.

Breakfast -- Part 1

Breakfast -- Part 2

  • 5 eggs (3 egg whites, 2 whole eggs)
  • 2-4 pieces of bacon or 2 links of sausage
  • 2 small pancakes

Pre-game lunch

He said teams typically go to the stadium around 3-4pm for a 6:30pm kickoff, and will have a pre-game meal there. He said the whole point of this meal is to "hit the carbs heavy." You need energy for the game, after all.

  • Spaghetti with a heavy meat sauce
  • Filet mignon or lean skirt steak
  • Toasted bread


Pre-game snack

You might be surprised that he'd be eating so close to kickoff, but Saturday says he never felt like he ate too much before the game. He said some guys have nerves before the game and don't eat for fear of hurling during it, but he was never one of those guys. We're guessing Donovan McNabb probably was.

  • Protein bars
  • Pedialyte
champagne sabering
Dave Presley/Thrillist

Post-game insanity

Saturday has won and lost Super Bowls, and he says if you lose, you retreat to your hotel room and order room service. Because "you don't want to hang around after a loss." Ouch. Here's what the winners eat:

  • A massive buffet provided by the team (the losers have one too, but players don't typically attend)
  • Anything the players want at an open bar back in the team hotel's "celebration suite"

If players aren't feeling the buffet, they can also hit up a steakhouse near the stadium. After regular season wins, Saturday would roll with 15-20 friends and family members to a local wings joint. He'd order "hundreds of wings" of all types -- hot, Asian, whatever they had. When he used to play in Green Bay, he'd pair that chicken with a Spotted Cow from New Glarus.

Win or lose, the NFL's elite athletes will be stuffing their faces somewhere in Phoenix.

Lee Breslouer writes about food and drink for Thrillist, and wonders if his stomach would burst if he tried to eat 8,000 calories in a day. Follow him to sad tweets about football season ending: @LeeBreslouer.