Bucs attempt to settle Thanksgiving debate: Is it stuffing or dressing?

TAMPA, Fla. -- An important debate has swept the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' locker room, and it might just make its way to your Thanksgiving table, too: what is the proper name for the breadcrumbs you season and stuff inside a turkey? Do you call it "stuffing" or "dressing?"

"It's stuffing," said wide receiver Mike Evans.

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy disagreed, when asked about it moments later.

"It's dressing," McCoy said.

Evans didn't seem to think there was a difference. McCoy believes there is though, that stuffing has a dryer consistency, which he is not a fan of.

"I don't like stuffing," McCoy said.

"Aren't they the same thing?" asked special teams captain Josh Robinson.

He then asked cornerback Robert McClain across the ping-pong table, "What do we call it? 'Dressing' or 'stuffing?'"

McClain responded, "Stuffing."

Unsure, Robinson said, "I think I call it dressing?"

"I never heard of 'stuffing,'" said rookie linebacker Kendell Beckwith. "I don't know what stuffing is. All I ever knew was dressing. 'Stuffing' is that stuff you go up to the store and buy. Dressing is homemade and made from scratch. The base of it is cornbread."

Rookie safety Justin Evans, whose locker is right by Beckwith's, believes it's based on geographics.

"Like if I hear 'stuffing,' I know what it is, but no one says that where I'm from," said Evans, who's from Wiggins, Mississippi, near Gulfport-Biloxi.

Evans' point was somewhat valid. Generally players from southern states like Louisiana and Mississippi referred to it as "dressing," and players from New York and Pennsylvania called it "stuffing."

Evans turned toward Keith Tandy, "What do you call it, Tando?"

Tandy, who's from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, said "Dressing. Turkey and dressing."

Rookie linebacker Riley Bullough, who is from Traverse City, Michigan and played at Michigan State, was adamant that it's called 'stuffing.'

"Definitely stuffing," Bullough said. "I've never even heard it called 'dressing.' No. 'Stuffing' all day."

There was some variance though, such as players growing up in coastal regions or in towns with a lot of transplants. Mike Evans is from Galveston, Texas, and like Justin Evans (no relation), played college football at Texas A&M. Mike called it 'stuffing,' and Justin called it dressing. McCoy, who is from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and played at Oklahoma, called it dressing.

J.R. Sweezy is from Mooresville, North Carolina, also regarded as a southern state, and he called it stuffing, and McClain, who is from Lusby, Maryland, also referred to it as stuffing.

Players from the northwest saw some variance, too.

T.J. Ward, who is from the northeast in San Francisco and played at Oregon calls it dressing, and defensive tackle Sealver Siliga, who is from West Jordan, Utah, and played at Utah, believes it's stuffing.

Head coach Dirk Koetter, who is from Pocatello, Idaho, did little to settle the score. "Both," he said with a chuckle. "I like them both."

Linebacker Mark Nzeocha, who is half Nigerian, is from Ansbach, Germany, and played at Wyoming, said, "It's 'stuffing.' [Dressing] is kinda weird.'"

The company Butterball offered this explanation on its website: "If you call it dressing, odds are you cook it separately from the turkey -- and you live in the southern region of the United States. Otherwise, you're a stuffing family, and you cook it in the turkey."

One thing that was agreed upon in the Bucs' locker room -- no one likes cranberry sauce.

"I don't like it. It's supposed to break it up, I think, but it doesn't do it for me," said center Ali Marpet.

Nzeocha doesn't believe it should be anywhere near a turkey. "They just don't go together," he said.

"What purpose does it serve?" asked guard Michael Liedtke. "And everybody just like dumps it out of a can. It definitely doesn't belong on a Thanksgiving table."

Liedtke also didn't agree with running back Doug Martin's affinity for chitlins, which are made from the small intestines of pigs and sometimes other cattle.

"I never in my life have heard of someone eating chitlins for Thanksgiving," Liedtke said. "He ruined our morning discussion by [talking about it]."

About 10 players were eating breakfast together at the facility Wednesday morning and started going around the table, asking what everyone's favorite dish was.

"He started with that and just threw the whole game off. Nobody knew what to say about that," said Liedtke, adding that it was a similar reaction to when teammates found out that left tackle Donovan Smith had never seen the Lion King before. "There was a lot of confusion. A lot of confusion going around."