1

votes

If you owned an NFL franchise . . . ?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created November 05, 2011 at 5:13 PM

NFL teams spend millions of dollars per player per year in salary, and quite naturally have state-of-the-art training facilities and expert physical trainers on staff. Their weight-training programs are first-rate.

But the players on most teams eat surprisingly crappy food ??? McDonald's, candy, chips, soda, etc. (I've heard this from a former player.)

It shocks me that so little effort is spent on nutrition in comparison to weight training when both, I would think, are vital to the players' performance.

Tony Gonzales, an All-Pro tight end, is in his fifteenth season and still going strong. About five years ago, he became interested in nutrition, read T. Colin Campbell's The China Study, and flirted with veganism. Since then, he has added animal foods back into his diet (especially fish), but still limits red meat. He does avoid vegetable oils and most processed foods. (He wrote a book about his current diet.) Even when he was a vegetarian, I suspect that his diet was healthier than that of most of his teammates, just because he avoided fast food and candy and the like.

Today on the Detroit Lions website, there was an article about the team's emphasis on good nutrition. It is more conventional wisdom: chicken salads, egg whites, turkey bacon ??? apparently limiting red meat and saturated fat. I do suspect that this diet is far better than the one most NFL players eat; but there seems to be a ton of room for improvement.

Which got me thinking . . .

If you owned an NFL team, how would you handle the issue of players' nutrition? Putting aside the issue of exactly what kind of diet is optimal (which we'd likely largely agree on, more or less), I'm interested in your thoughts from a procedural standpoint.

During training camp, the players eat nearly all their meals at the team cafeteria. But training camp lasts only about a month. During the season, and even more so during the offseason, players are typically on their own for many of their meals.

Would you have mandatory classroom time for the players to teach them about proper nutrition?

Would you require players to eat a majority of their in-season meals at the team cafeteria, where food choices can be controlled? (Or strongly encourage it, if requiring it is not allowed under the CBA?)

Or provide hands-on cooking classes?

Would you partner up with a local healthy eatery and arrange take-out service for the players on the team's account (if this is allowed under the salary cap)?

If you could not find a local eatery up to your standards, would you have your own food-preparation and delivery service made available to the players? This is the route I would probably go. The expense seems trivial in comparison to a team's overall investment in its players. And as long as I were setting up my own healthy food-preparation service for the team, I'd probably open it to the public as well. It might even prove to be a successful business in its own right.

Any other ideas?

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on November 06, 2011
at 04:28 AM

very few eat badly. The ones who do are usually rookies or guys who wont see a second contract.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 05, 2011
at 08:14 PM

....just like college recruits Aroused their interest in their school is suppose....if it aint broke dont fix it ;)

  • E639bc85fd42430285596434a6515ad5

    asked by

    (2226)
  • Views
    1.3K
  • Last Activity
    1283D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

6 Answers

6
4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on November 05, 2011
at 06:04 PM

If your job is to weigh 300lbs+, be freakishly strong and recover from brutally difficult work over and over again for years, you need to eat a lot. Way more than your body naturally wants to eat, way more than you probably can eat if you're eating strict paleo. I mean I'm sure with sufficient dedication you might be able to eat that much meat and vegetables, but when it comes time to eat your 6000+ kcal for the day, ice cream and junk food are going to make it a lot easier on you than ten pounds of steak.

NFL Football is optimized on one thing: winning games. If they players keel over and die at 40 (which some of them do), that's not really a problem for the teams. If you could prove that optimal nutrition would bring gameday benefit, the switch would be immediate. But I doubt it would really change much for these guys.

2
C1c86f42410cd4788bd9c5cf801dcd8f

(2246)

on November 05, 2011
at 09:35 PM

Paleo + Raw Milk in massive amounts.

1
96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on November 05, 2011
at 05:42 PM

Well, I'd be careful about telling huge, muscular men what to do but I might invite some beautiful and healthy primal/paleo women who are glowing with health and vitality to visit the team and let THEM share with the players the benefits of our lifestyle. Once I aroused their ... interest ... I'd follow up with some tips and info on shifting to a healthier diet. It would be targeted for ultr-high-energy activity of course.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on November 05, 2011
at 08:14 PM

....just like college recruits Aroused their interest in their school is suppose....if it aint broke dont fix it ;)

1
64433a05384cd9717c1aa6bf7e98b661

(15236)

on November 05, 2011
at 05:23 PM

I've thought the same thing, but no I think the players are hipper with nutrition than we often hear about. John Welborne is of course a testament to this.

I have talked with Quilt about this and I think he has some good insights on athletes eating pretty well, even by paleohacks standards.

0
Medium avatar

on November 06, 2011
at 03:29 AM

Yep, NFL football players eat crappy food. Yep, many seem to achieve notable levels of "success." Apart from the factor of their training:

Is football your idea of the paragon of ultimate human potential?

If I owned an NFL team, I would hope to sell for a profit as soon as possible, and use the proceeds for something useful.

Hey, I like watching football, on occasion. I also like watching the Weather Channel. I don't obsess about the diets of Weather Channel reporters. Do you?

Ed71ab1c75c6a9bd217a599db0a3e117

(25477)

on November 06, 2011
at 04:28 AM

very few eat badly. The ones who do are usually rookies or guys who wont see a second contract.

0
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on November 05, 2011
at 09:19 PM

I remember reading that Mike Williams (an offensive line man that had to get back in shape to play for the Redskins) had to get his weight down from 450 to 350 in order to play.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jun/28/a-weighty-matter/?page=all

He talks about how the last 20 pounds were hard, getting from 370 to 350.

The concept totally blows my mind. I thought I was overweight at 230. 370? Sure he is 6 inches taller than me. But jeez.

I guess your typical NFL player is in their mid-20's and in supreme physical condition and they work out really hard every day for years. You could probably eat anything and be fine. It's when you start to get older or get injuries that you need to be more careful about diet. The sport is so extreme and so taxing on the body, you would think that they would know more about nutrition.

If you want to learn about nutrition, talk to a boxing coach. Boxers regularly have to gain or lose 10-30 pounds while remaining in excellent physical condition, and often do so into their 30's and 40's.

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!