“I just want to go home, listen to some music and eat a bologna and cheese sandwich,” declared Head Coach Doug Marrone of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars after a particularly nail-biting win recently, per a widely circulated ESPN report.
Thus, was a culinary legend born.
Marrone’s off-the-cuff remark at his press conference following the team’s win over Los Angeles prompted the Beef Checkoff and National Hot Dog & Sausage Council to send the frazzled coach 350 pounds of Boar’s Head branded beef bologna to help him unwind after future games.
While Marrone donated most of the bologna bounty to local food banks, the gesture struck a chord among the culinary staff of Delaware North Sportservice at the Jaguars’ EverBank Field home stadium.
“We thought it was a great opportunity to have some fun with it,” says Luis Rivera, F&B director for Sportservice at EverBank Field, “but we knew it couldn’t just be a basic baloney sandwich, it had to make a statement.”
The staff, led by Rivera, developed a version of a bologna sandwich that may not pass muster in the old school coach’s kitchen—he prefers the traditional white bread/cheese/thin-cut baloney/mustard combo—but does kick it up several notches.
The Marrone Bologna sandwich consists of a grilled thick-cut (about 5/8 inches) slab of Boar’s Head beef bologna nestled between two slices of American cheese, topped with spicy brown mustard and placed between two slices of paisano artisan bread from local baker Village Bakery.
The bread is slathered with garlic butter and grilled on a flattop to produce what is in effect a baloney and grilled cheese sandwich. The item sells for $6—one of the lowest priced selections on the concessions menu at EverBank Field—with proceeds donated to the team’s Jaguars Foundation, which assists economically and socially disadvantaged youth and families in the area, as well as supporting other NFL and team charitable activities.
The Marrone Bologna debuted Dec. 10 during the Jaguars’ home game against Seattle and sold out some 1,500 of the sandwiches, with another hundred delivered to and devoured by the traditionally ravenous media hordes in the press box.
Word even got to the stadium luxury suites.
“I got calls all game from Jaguars suite executives saying the suite holders are asking for baloney, where can they get baloney?” Rivera laughs. They were sated with sandwiches prepared in a nearby kitchen while nine service points around the stadium served fans in the regular seats with the specialty item.
The sandwiches were slated to be available again in the team’s last home game Dec. 17 and at any home playoff games (the Jaguars are currently in line to make the postseason). Continuation into next season has yet to be determined but there’s no doubt the item has made a big splash, in part because of its tie to Marrone’s statement, in part because of its taste appeal and certainly in part for its charitable aspect.
“It’s an important thing for Delaware North,” Rivera adds. “We want to be committed to our fans, we want to be committed to the communities we operate in and whether it’s a baloney sandwich or another item, we believe if we have a signature item from which we can donate proceeds to local charities, it is the right thing to do.”