NFL players eat a lot, this should surprise nobody — but the vast amount of food an entire team consumes in the course of a week is staggering in totality. An ESPN article on the eating habits of the Buffalo Bills really puts into context just what it takes to feed a team.
In order to really dig into this, we need to look at the numbers. A team has 53 players on the active roster, 10 players on the practice squad as well as coaches, support staff, etc. So let’s make this an even number and assume 80 people are eating at the Bills’ cafeteria every day. Granted, not every person is eating like an NFL player — so the numbers might vary a bit, but it’s still staggering.
What the Bills eat:
|Food||Amount per week||Amount per person per day|
|Rotisserie chicken||700 pounds||1.75 pounds|
|Grass fed beef||550 pounds||1.37 pounds|
|Salmon||275 pounds||0.68 pounds|
|Broccoli||300 pounds||0.75 pounds|
|Strawberries||280 pounds||0.7 pounds|
|Asparagus||250 pounds||0.62 pounds|
|Smoothies||56 gallons||18 oz|
|Water||195 gallons||62.4 oz|
This isn’t all players are eating either. The ESPN piece doesn’t list the immense amount of carbs players are eating, but it gives us a rough starting point. Based on these numbers each person eating in the Bills cafeteria is consuming 10.87 POUNDS of food and drink a day, and keep in mind we’re including support staff in here as well, and they’re eating much less than players are.
Meanwhile in Baltimore, the Ravens are feasting every day as well — just like teams around the league are. Sports Illustrated caught up with the team’s chefs too, and while we got fewer raw numbers, there’s one amazing number that sticks out:
750 PB&J’s a week.
Each player is eating 10 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a week. A meal to anyone else, players treat them as between-meal snacks. The calories aren’t really a concern for NFL players who are burning thousands a day in practice and need to keep weight on, and the sandwiches help keep players away from fast food restaurants — a consistent theme both the Bills and Ravens shared.
It’s a part of a greater move across the NFL towards keeping players bulked up, but in a healthy way.
“Ten years ago, we would’ve done burgers, hot dogs, fries,” Moore says. “We took out the fryer. We don’t have that anymore. We’re all about introducing them to new foods and teaching them the best way possible to eat.”
Fried foods are off the menu for both teams. The concept is pretty simple: If players eat the right foods at work, then they’re OK to splurge a little on their personal time — and food extends beyond what they eat while at the facility. Teams prepare meals for players to take home, should they so choose — which takes any guess work out of healthy eating.
It’s a fascinating and oft-ignored piece of the puzzle in the NFL. So much focus is often on the external, hot-cold baths, physical therapy, and injury prevention that now teams are looking more and more at what fuels their stars. It turns out it’s a lot of food, and a whole lot of thought from those charged with preparing it for them.