While you're chowing down on billions of chicken wings, Seahawks and Broncos alike will be eating (and drinking) for warmth at Sunday's first Super Bowl to be played in a cold-weather stadium.
And that may mean swapping their usual water and (NFL sponsor) Gatorade for a humbler sip, according to Dr. Matt Matava, M.D., president of the National Football League Physicians Society and the head team physician for the St. Louis Rams. If it gets really cold (and the forecast predicts a high of 29 degrees in the evening), players are often presented with chicken broth in the locker room, he says. Grandma's favorite cold remedy helps replenish not just fluids, but also salt, he says, since the players will still be sweating (somehow!) despite the frigid temps.
A bowl of broth is likely to be the only change to a player's diet during the big game, according to Matava. "Food is one of those things they want to keep as stable as they can from day to day and week to week," he says. "They really don't want to get out of their ordinary routine." That includes hitting the hay at around the same time as usual in their hotel rooms and eating their usual gametime snacks (like protein bars, nuts and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, he says).
Of course, with their sky-high caloric needs, football players eat a lot, but Matava says just like awareness of the dangers of the sport has increased, so too has the awareness of the importance of nutrition. "It's taken very seriously," he says, even during the off season.
That doesn't mean the occasional fast food run has been completely wiped out. "Fried chicken is a staple," says Matava, but players who enjoy the once-in-a-while treat at least don't eat it on game day, he says. Everything in moderation, we say.