Ryan Fitzpatrick is a man of many titles.
Loving husband and father.
Accomplished beard grower.
Fiery pregame speaker.
And because of his eating prowess, he's also a Hall of Famer.
Just after his 2011 season with the Bills concluded, Fitzpatrick, his wife Liza and three of their children piled into the family's recreational vehicle in Western New York and began their annual journey home to Arizona. Well into their trek, somewhere west of Fort Worth and east of Amarillo, Fitzpatrick decided to take the Big Tex Challenge at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo.
"They have all those teaser billboards," Fitzpatrick said. "Free 72 ounce steak! Free 72 ounce steak! We made the decision to stop, and we were going to attack the 72 ounce steak."
According to Fitzpatrick, and the rules on the restaurant's website, the meal consists of the steak, shrimp cocktail, a baked potato, salad, and a roll. To get the meal for free, it must be eaten in less than an hour.
Fitzpatrick said he finished the 4.5 pound steak and sides, as well as three glasses of sweet tea with time to spare.
"I did all of that in 48 minutes," Fitzpatrick said. "You gotta do it all in an hour, and you gotta keep it down. I did it, felt great about it, and got right back in the RV and drove about six more hours."
With the Texans and Cowboys squaring off this Sunday in Arlington, the tale of Fitzpatrick tackling a
Lone Star State challenge seemed appropriate. When Fitzpatrick's head coach heard the story, he fired back with a question.
"How much of the steak got stuck in his beard," Bill O'Brien said. "And how much of it got in his belly?"
Fitzpatrick's center, Chris Myers, took it a step further and doubted whether or not the accomplishment even happened.
"I'm really questioning his ability to eat," Myers said. "So to hear that he claims to have eaten a 72 ounce steak, I don't think that's possible."
O'Brien sided with the center, saying "Chris Myers is known as an honest man."
With a little digging, Fitzpatrick's claim was verified. He's listed here in the"72oz Hall of Fame". On
page 32 of the PDF file, he's recorded as downing the meal 10 seconds shy of the 50-minute mark, on January 17 of 2012.
After his success the first time around, Fitzpatrick tried it again in 2013.
"I was like 53 minutes in or something, and I had the baked potato left," Fitzpatrick said. "That was it. Trying to eat a baked potato when your jaw is sore and it hurts... I ended up throwing up in the puke bucket they provided right next to me. So I had to pay the 72 dollars for the meal."
Two tries, and that's it for Fitzpatrick. He said his days of tackling the 72 ounce challenge are done.
"I think I'm retired. I didn't really train for it in '12. I went into it cold, and crushed it. Didn't train for it in '13 but got overconfident, and my strategy failed me. I should've done the potato first."
One Lone Star challenge down...one more to go on Sunday.