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NFL Pigskin: Kevin Rathbun and the Atlanta Falcons

The chef at Atlanta’s renowned Rathbun’s restaurant, Kevin Rathbun is originally from Kansas City, Missouri, and was born a Kansas City Chiefs fan. Today, Rathbun not only cooks for the Falcons’ front-office personnel, he supports the NFL’s Taste of the NFL charity and admits to cooking a little KC-style BBQ for games.

slideshow Atlanta Falcons: Roast Squab with Bacon and Grapes

How did you become a fan of your team? When?
Originally I’m a Chiefs fan, I kind of represent the Falcons now. The coach comes to my restaurant a lot; I’ve met the coach and the owner. I like football in general—people in the restaurant business just seem to keep up with it.

Did you ever play football?
No. I’ve been cooking since I was 14. When I was a young guy I gave up no-pay sports for a paycheck.

Do you have any favorite foods you make while you watch games or tailgate?
I’m a Kansas City barbecue fan, I’m a big brisket smoker and I love pork ribs and that kind of food. I also like anything that can be done in a pot. I lived in New Orleans for a little while and followed the Saints; boiled crabs, crawfish boils and one-pot jambalaya dishes are terrific at tailgates as well.

Favorite Atlanta beers to drink during the game?
There’s a brewery down here called SweetWater that everybody likes. They make a SweetWater 420 Extra Pale Ale that everyone really enjoys.

Any pregame superstitions? Do you always wear the same shirt or have to sit in the same seat?
I’m the size of a house; they don’t make shirts 4XL, I’d probably have to sew two together. I’m really mad at the fact that they only go to XXL. I would probably support the teams a little bit better. Usually I go in whatever I can put on. I would love to have some nice logo shirts but they just don’t make them big enough for me and you've got these football players, they’ve got to be wearing XXXL, XXXXL.

If you could be any player on the team or play any position, what would you choose?
I would probably play tight end. I would want to be touching the ball on offense, do a little blocking, just some short little spurts because I can’t run. I've got the height but I’m a little overweight for that position.

Predictions for the team: final season record, how they’ll do against their rival?
You know what, I think they’ll have a winning season. I think they’ll win more than they’ll lose. I’d give them .500 for sure.

Redman, Harrington or Ryan: Who is going to be starting quarterback?
I think it’s going to be Ryan, I think that’s going to be the deal.

Which matchup are you most looking forward to?
Chiefs and the Falcons—that’s here in Atlanta.

So what happens then? Who will you cheer for?
Well, I’ll cheer for the Falcons because they recognize me in the stands but underneath it I’ll probably be hoping the Chiefs pummel them. I will definitely do Kansas City barbecue for the tailgate!

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