Mike Kasdan speaks with ESPN football analyst and former Indianapolis Colt offensive lineman, Jeff Saturday, about nutrition, life as an analyst after playing, Super Bowl build-up, and the integrity of the game.
Jeff Saturday has had a storied NFL career, including winning Super Bowl XLI and protecting his good buddy Peyton Manning for much of his career. He also served as team representative and on the Executive Committee of the NFL Players Association, focusing on issues that included the health and safety of the NFL players.
While it may not get the press of, say, concussions, nutrition is a crucial health issue for players. Nutrition and healthy eating is a natural post-career cause for an offensive lineman, who came from a place where they were regularly crushing 8000 calories a day. But its not just a health issue for retired football players. It connects to everyone: commuters, businessmen, and all of us regular working stiffs, stopping for a snack on our rushed commute home through the airport or train station.
Saturday explained that while playing, the teams and staff carefully manage, monitor and calibrate and control players weight, diet and exercise routines, but after careers end, players go one of two ways:
“You either get fit or you get fat.”
Saturday, whose wife is a physical therapist, has jumped on the cause of healthy eating and nutrition and is a tremendous ambassador for it. Upon retirement, he set goals, began working with his strength coaches and his wife to create a plan:
“I knew that nutrition is the number one factor. Everyone talks about – well – I’m going to work out, I’m going to lift, and that’s all well and good, but smart snacking and good nutritional habits is the key.”
Since retiring, he has lost over 65 pounds.
Jeff Saturday speaks with GMP Sports Editor Mike Kasdan about nutrition as a crucial health issue for NFL players, ex-players, and all of us.
Here are Jeff Saturday’s Top Super Bowl Party Eats
- Almonds! They are a delicious, heart-healthy snack great for everyday snacking, tailgating parties and to power through hunger during game day gatherings.
- Wings: One of my favorite meals and a tailgate staple.
- Venison Bacon
- Green and Black Olives
- Veggies and Hummus
- Summer Sausage
- Gourmet Crackers
- Chipotle and Habanero Flavored Snacks
- Potato Chips with French Onion Dip
And Here Is Jeff’s Own Game Day Diet:
First Breakfast: Continental Breakfast at the hotel.
- Hard Boiled Eggs
- Protein Shake
- Wheat Toast with Butter
- Five eggs
Late Lunch Before Game:
- Mashed Potatoes
- Spaghetti and Meat Sauce
- Wedding Soup Heavy on Noodles
- Chicken Noodle Soup Heavy on Noodles
- Protein Bars
Jeff also spoke with us about the differences between the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl as a player and as a fan or member of the media. As a player, coaches work hard to keep a sense of head-down normalcy and grind. But as a fan, “it is crazy, the entertainment value of the build-up to it and how fanatical we are” for the NFL.
Jeff declined to give us his Super Bowl pick, saying he waits until the very last minute, but he did have some thoughts on the Patriots Deflate-Gate scandal:
“Anytime you are questioned for cheating or breaking the rules, and you’ve done it before, you don’t get the benefit of the doubt . . . you hope these guys didn’t know . . . but quarterbacks know footballs; just be real.”
In the end, we agreed that while it’s fun to say “balls” and make funny jokes about it, “cheating is cheating, and it’s one of those things you hope that the integrity of the game is always upheld and that’s the thing that makes our game great.”
Jeff Saturday, on “deflate-gate” and how cheating impacts the integrity of sports.
Photo Credit: Cover/(Associated Press/File); Analyst Picture/(Jeff Saturday); Weight loss side-by-side (Darron Cummings/AP and Matt Kryger/The Star)