Under the leadership of head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, the New England Patriots are known for their discipline on and off the field. While they are certainly focused on preparing for Sunday's Super Bowl matchup with the Atlanta Falcons, they can't be all business all the time. Even the most dedicated players deserve a little time for sightseeing.
On Tuesday afternoon, about a dozen Patriots got a taste of Texas when they dined at Killen's Barbecue in Pearland. Chef-owner Ronnie Killen tells CultureMap that center David Andrews organized the trip, based on a recommendation from former Texan Ben Jones. The group also included backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and offensive linemen Marcus Cannon, Joe Thuney, Tre Jackson, Chris Baker, LaAdrian Waddle, Shaq Mason, Cameron Fleming, and Nate Solder.
"They were really nice and big, big, big guys. Their offensive linemen were eff-ing huge," Killen said. "I put out about 40-pounds of meat, and they ate every bit of it, except for a couple of beef ribs. They ate dessert, too."
The players also happened to be at the restaurant when Dan Patrick show producer Paul Pabst and blogger Andrew Perloff visited as part of a citywide barbecue tour that has also included stops at The Brisket House, Pinkerton's BBQ, and The Pit Room.
Of course, Killen invited them to sign the same wall that a number of pro athletes have. They even took home some hats and t-shirts. Andrews paid tribute to the meal in a Tweet.
Attendees at Thursday night's Big Texas Party will get to sample some of what Killen fed the players. He said he's purchased 1,000 pounds of beef ribs for the barbecue-themed event, which is a joint production between CultureMap and ESPN 97.5. (A few tickets remain and can be purchased here.)
"I'm going all out," Killen said. "Real Texas. Hopefully, it works."