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January 29, 2014

Super Bowl players score with food ventures

Sure, the Seahawks and the Broncos are hungry for a Super Bowl win. But sometimes they’re hungry for other things, like pizza and Skittles. And apparently a whole lot of eggs.

The food-football connection is a strong one, whether you’re munching in the stands, tailgating, or wading into the chips and dip at home. But while everyone is familiar with the classic foods associated with watching the big game, some of the foodie connections with the players on the field are less obvious.

Unflappable Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is a player in possession of poise — and pies. He owns several Papa John’s pizza stores in the Denver area. And the Seahawks have a few food traditions of their own, including throwing Skittles candy on the field when running back Marshawn Lynch makes a big touchdown run. According to the team website, the athlete has been a fan of the chewy candies since his mother used to give them to him as “power pellets” when he was a kid playing sports, and his affinity for the rainbow-colored candy has not abated.

When it comes to regular meals, eating like an NFL player isn’t the steak, steak and a side of steak kind of diet you might expect.

Food & Wine magazine restaurant editor Kate Krader researched NFL diets and found quite a few players who have gone vegan for a time and still rarely eat meat, including Houston Texans running back Arian Foster, Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez, who announced his retirement in December, and Detroit Lions running back Montell Owens.

That was a surprise. “I feel even though just about everybody eats more thoughtfully now, I associate NFL players with a paleo diet, all protein, eat like a vampire, basically.” Some players got flack for shunning meat from critics who thought it would make them slower or weaker, but they were undaunted. “They were like, ‘Nope, watch me go,’” says Krader.

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