Stadium Food Power Rankings: New England Patriots Vs. New York Jets

Thanksgiving Day and the NFL are a perfect match — food and football go together like turkey and stuffing, like mashed potatoes and gravy, like family visits and a big glass of wine (or beer, for that matter). On a day so driven by food and drink, this matchup is more important than ever. So, in Week 12 of the NFL season we've chosen one game and one game only — two teams with in-office representation, and a ton of trash-talking and pride: the New England Patriots versus the New York Jets.


Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, is situated in Foxborough, Mass. The stadium can seat just less than 70,000 fans, and the Patriots have sold out every home game since the stadium's opening in 2002. Gillette Stadium has housed NCAA championships, Major League Soccer games, many concerts, and as of this year, University of Massachusetts football. Just this summer, the stadium underwent a complete concessions revamp, rebranding and updating all 38 permanent concession stands and introducing new and healthy options. While old favorites still exist, the menu now offers more options, as well as vegetarian and healthy selections.

Cheesesteak Sandwich at Gillette Stadium. Photo by flickr_Lorianne-DiSabato.

Unique/Popular Items
After the stadium's concessions makeover, there is a mix of old and new in terms of the food offerings. Champions Brew Pub offers a host of premium beers along with Buffalo or barbecue wings and french fries. More standard game fare is served at Lighthouse Grill, along with cheesesteak sandwiches, handmade pizza, and grilled chicken sandwiches. Smokehouse Grill and Backyard Barbeque offer house-smoked barbecue and grilled options, featuring pulled pork, beef brisket, and pulled chicken sandwiches, barbecue ribs, flame-broiled half-pound Angus burgers, and cornbread and coleslaw sides. Papa Gino's pizza is served at stadium pizza stands, along with other standard game day fare, and Tenders & Wings provides exactly what the name says, chicken tenders or Buffalo wings served with french fries. Italian sausage, served with peppers and onions in a hot dog bun, is also big at the stadium (and in all of New England), as are brats and hot dogs.

Gillette Stadium's Italian Sausage. Photo by flickr_Lorianne-DiSabato.

Healthy/Allergy-Friendly Options
New Market Fresh Deli locations throughout the stadium offer a menu of healthy and vegetarian fare. Fruit, wraps, deli sandwiches, freshly prepared salads, and vegetables with hummus are all on the Market Fresh menu.

MetLife Stadium, home to both New York teams, the New York Jets (featured this week) and the New York Giants, is a part of the Meadowlands Sports Complex, situated in East Rutherford, N.J. The stadium seats just more than 80,000 fans, making it the largest stadium in the NFL in terms of permanent seating capacity, and its front row seating is the shortest distance from the sideline when compared to all other NFL stadiums.


MetLife Stadium's Pretzel Braids. Photo courtesy of Sportservice.

Unique/Popular Items
Food at the stadium ranges from standard fare to more inventive items. Executive chef Eric Borgia, a native of the area, uses his own grandmother's recipe for the stadium's Nonna Fusco's Meatballs, a popular item. "It's been meatball fever over here," said Borgia in a press release. "We go through almost 1,000 just feeding the stadium staff and for catering." Other unique items include the Italian roast pork sandwich, the pepper and egg sandwich, pork rolls, the Food Network Sloppy Joe sandwich, the NY Pub Brisket sandwich, and the Buffalo chicken mac and cheese. Most popular items stick to the classics, such as chicken tenders and fries, Thumman's hot dogs, and J&J pretzel braids. MetLife partners with the Food Network, Papa John's, Nathan's Crinkle Cut French Fries, Thumman's Hot Dogs and Deli Meats, and Lobel's Prime Meats in their food and drink offerings at the stadium.


MetLife Stadium's Pepper and Egg Sandwich. Photo courtesy of Sportservice.

Healthy/Allergy-Friendly Options
The stadium hosts "Good to Go Organic" trailers and portable food locations offering a range of healthier choices for fans. All-natural barbecue chicken melts, organic beef hot dogs, vegie hot dogs, and Naked juices are among the healthy and vegetarian options.

MetLife Stadium's Italian Roast Pork Sandwich. Photo courtesy of Sportservice.

The stadium has also undergone recent environmental renovations, kicking up their focus on green initiatives, energy and water conservation, and natural resource protection, in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). One of the recent improvements in the stadium was the creation of a porous pavement, made of crushed granite stone material to allow rain water to recharge groundwater, thereby reducing stormwater flow into the sensitive surrounding environmental area.


Well, sorry New England, but New York is taking it home with its stadium fare this Thanksgiving Day. Although the Patriots have revved up their selection, the Jets still outweigh their eatery options in terms of creativity, originality, and mouthwatering selections. So... will the scores reflect our prediction? We will have to wait and see. Tune in Thanksgiving Day at 8:20 p.m. to find out.


For an update on our Stadium Food Rankings thus far, check out our Week 11 Recap.

Tune in next week for our matchups between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens, and the San Francisco 49ers and the St. Louis Rams


Tyler Sullivan is the Assistant Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @atylersullivan