Commentary

The NFL's Hometown Discount: Do you stay for less or bolt?

Meet Vikings center Matt Birk. Like a lot of NFL free agents, he has a tough decision to make: go shopping for the biggest bucks, or offer up the hometown discount.

Updated: February 26, 2009, 4:32 PM ET
By David Fleming | ESPN The Magazine

Vikings center Matt Birk entered free agency with just one weakness. Armed with a résumé that includes six Pro Bowls and seven consecutive Man of the Year awards from his team, Birk is likely to garner attention and big-money offers from several franchises. The only thing that could possibly hold him back is a cheeseburger. Born and raised in St. Paul, the year-round resident of the Twin Cities (with wife Adrianna and their four children) is such a fixture in these parts that he was recently awarded the Midwest's highest honor: sandwich nomenclature. For 10 bucks at St. Paul pubs like the Nook, fans can enjoy the Matt Birk Burger, a giant, two-patty, artery-clogging colossus smothered in pepper jack cheese.


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