NFL’s Finest Dish on Their Favorite Super Bowl Recipes
By Fabiana Santana
The Super Bowl is the most-watched sporting event of the year. Aside from the final score and the supersized commercials, the most anticipated part of the day is without a doubt the food. There are, of course, the staples of any Super Bowl spread. The wings, the beer, the chips. But what do the guys of the gridiron nosh on during the big game? We asked some of the NFL’s finest what their chow of choice is when they are not scoring touchdowns. It turns out a few players are pretty savvy cooks. And a few even give the props to Mom. After all, she has as much to say in the kitchen as the coaches do on the field.
Pittsburg Steelers’ LaMarr Woodley and Jerome Bettis
Pittsburg Steelers’ linebacker LaMarr Woodley was elected by the Steelers in the second round (46th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft and played as a both a reserve linebacker and a contributor on special teams as a rookie. Off the field, you can the 2009 Super Bowl winner in the kitchen, at least in the morning. So what’s on the menu?
“Good pancakes, scrambled eggs with cheese and toast on the side. I think I can make a good breakfast.” It’s his mom Janice Staples though, that makes the ultimate Super Bowl mac ‘n cheese. “It’s real cheesy, extra cheese like on a cheese pizza. I love cheese; it makes everything better, so the more in my mac ‘n cheese, the better.”
The former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis isn’t called “The Bus” for no reason. He is considered one of the best backs to ever play the game and is fifth on the NFL’s all time rushing league, all stats that helped the Steelers get to and win Superbowl XL in his hometown of Detroit. Hines Ward, the MVP of the game, stressed Bettis’ greatness during his Super Bowl commercial by saying: “I’m going to Disney World and I’m taking The Bus!”
Mom Gladys couldn’t have been happier to have her hometown host the big game. She’d traveled with her husband to nearly every game Jerome has played in 13 seasons as a professional. And on holidays, “he’d call me up and say ‘Mom, I’m coming home for Thanksgiving and bringing the guys with me.’ We’d have the whole team over for dinner on many holidays.” A classic dessert of sweet potato pie can always be found on the Bettis table come holiday season, and that includes the Super Bowl. Good thing, too cause it’s The Bus’ favorite.
NY Jets Damien Woody, Kerry Rhodes, and Vernon Gholston
New York Jets right tackle Damien Woody, who has started in 125 NFL games (including playoffs) not only works hard on the field, he does off the field, too. His has a charity foundation called Woody’s Kids which helps families of ill children and in 2001 he presented more than 4,500 cans of Campbell’s Chunky Soup to Greater Boston Food Bank as part of Chunky’s 2001 NFL Tackling Hunger. His most memorable Super Bowl meal: alligator.
“In my first Super Bowl in New Orleans I had alligator, which was pretty good. It just exceeded expectations. Somebody talked me into eating it. I didn’t even know you could eat alligator and it was actually really good. It caught me completely off guard. I haven’t had it since. Next time I go out to New Orleans I am going to have it.”
As for the home cooking? “My mom makes the best lasagna. No question about that.”
Teammate Kerry Rhodes is no slacker on the field. The safety led Jets in 2007 with five interceptions. He became first Jet since Otis Smith in 1995 to have an interception in four consecutive game and has started all 48 regular-season games and one postseason game Jets have played since being drafted in 2005. So how does the big guy fuel big time? “My mom makes the best chili in the world”.
Jets linebacker Vernon Gholston was drafted by the team sixth overall in the 2008 NFL draft. The former buckeye (he played for Ohio State) was named All-America first-team by AP and NFL Draft Report and second-team by Walter Camp. Pizza makes an appearance on his big game day menu, too. But instead of wings on game day, Gholston goes for the ribs. “My mom would always get us ribs and that is my favorite.” It’s been a while since he’s been home to Detroit for some of mom Cheryl’s home cooking. So what does he miss the most? “I like breakfast and she makes some good pancakes”.
Altanta Falcons’ Chevis Jackson
Atlanta Falcons corner back Chevis Jackson, who helped LSU capture the National Championship and SEC crown last year, may be a rookie on the field (this is his first NFL Season), but he is not one in the kitchen. When he hosts a Super Bowl party, he says he’s got the goods. “I make the best tacos. They are so good…I make them for my family, my teammates, anyone I want to impress!”
Kansas City Chiefs’ Branden Albert
Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Branden Albert, a first round draft pick for his team, says that the a Super Bowl isn’t complete unless both pepperoni pizza and buffalo wings are on the menu. “Without question, it is the perfect Super Bowl meal.”
Arizona Cardinals’ Reggie Wells
Arizona Cardinals left guard Reggie Wells Jr. has been fed well. He is used to big Sunday dinners prepared by mom, Diane Wells. Diane, who runs Dwells Development, a corporate development company, explains that Super Bowl Sunday is no different. “We call it ‘Super Bowl Fun-Day’”, she says, “because it’s not only about football, but also about family and friends.” Reggie still makes his way back to the very house where Super Bowl Fun-Day all began to full-fill what he says “is a very special, memorable times with the Fam”. Want to know what his favorite Fun-Day Food? “Mom’s Home-Made Pepperoni Rolls with Marinara Dipping Sauce.”
Chicago Bears’ Anthony Adams
When the Super Bowl was in Detroit, Chicago Bears Defensive Tackle Anthony Adams promised his mom Connie, a Detroit native, tickets. “I was so excited. Right before he came home he said ‘Ma I have good and bad news’. I asked for the bad news first. He said ‘I’m not giving you the tickets.’ I was upset – I had planned on watching the game with my friend, Gladys Bettis. Her son Jerome was playing in the Super Bowl that year. But then he told me the good news. He was giving the tickets to a student at Youth Ville.”
Youth Ville is a Detroit after school program set up for the inner city youth get help with homework and also participate in extra curricular activities. Anthony rewarded a Youth Ville youth who improved his grades. “He hoped it would inspire him to continue on the right path. It worked the young man to this day is still an honor student. Every time Anthony comes home, he gives him tickets to the game. They still keep in touch. And of course, so do me and Gladys.” So what did they eat that year they stayed home to watch the game on TV? Super Bowl Lasagna Extravaganza!
Try these Super Bowl recipes from the pros!