Marcus Stroud: Sunday Morning Rituals and Getting Ready for an NFL Game Day

Marcus StroudGuest ColumnistSeptember 30, 2011

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Marcus Stroud takes the field before play against  the New York Giants on ESPN Monday Night Football Nov. 20, 2006 in Jacksonville.  The Jaguars won 26 - 10.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Hello to all of you Bleacher Report fanatics! 

It’s me again, your resident NFL “expert,” and I use that term loosely. Just kidding about that expert thing, as you can see that with my 2-3 record last week. 

This week, I was asked to take my article in a different direction (and it’s not because of my picks either!), so I decided to share my game-day experience. I have had many people ask me about this, especially during my time with the Jaguars. So here is a brief look at how I used to spend my time leading up until kickoff on Sunday morning.


8:00 a.m.: I would set my alarm for this time every Sunday. We didn’t have to get up that early, but I am an early riser. During this time, I would take a shower, listen to my music and read my bible. After that, I would sit down and take a look over the game plan for the day. I would make sure that I had all of the plays down and what tendencies to look for from the other team. Then I would try to envision myself making plays throughout the game.  

9:00 a.m.: It was mandatory to eat breakfast by this time, so that’s what we did.

9:15 a.m.: I would go back upstairs and play a few heads-up games of dominoes. This was my way to get my competitive juices boiling. I hate to lose at anything, so these games were important. 

10:30 a.m.: I would always leave the hotel around this time so that I could get in my car and ride around the city before we played. I would get into my 1974 Caprice Classic, drop my top and cruise. I always like to see the energy the fans had around the stadium. This would always give me a little jolt as I watched the people tailgating in the parking lot, cheering for their favorite players. They all looked to be having so much fun and I would think that everyone is here to see us. Wow!

11:00 a.m.: Two hours before the game and all players had to be in the locker room at this time. 

11:10 a.m.: This is one of the most important times of the day, entering the training room to get taped. Now, this is an exact science, believe it or not. You don’t want to get in too early, and if you come too late, it will be crowded. So now I would get stretched, use the hot tub to loosen up and then see the trainer to get taped.

11:45 a.m.: By this time, the body is ready to go. Now it’s time to get dressed for the game. 

12:05 p.m.: Now it was time to head out on the field with the rest of the defensive line for stretching and pregame warm-up drills. We would line up and get off on the ball snap and practice our tackling. 

12:15 p.m.: Next, we would line up against the offensive line to practice run blocks and pass sets. 

12:25 p.m.: This time, we all come together as a team and run plays against each other. We also practice special teams and field goals just before the team heads in.

12:40 p.m.: As a player, this is the time that I hated the most. We would come in after a great stretch and warm-up and just sit down and be quiet for the next 15 minutes. I would put on my headphones, grab my playbook and jump on a bike. I just wanted to keep moving and stay loose. It didn’t make any sense to do all of the warming up just to sit back down and get stiff. 

12:50 p.m.: The coach would call all of us up as a team and we would pray. After the prayer, coach would tell us the things that we needed to do as a team to win. We would then huddle up and break before going out on the field. 

12:53 p.m.: Now this was one of the most intense times of the day. Some of the players would already be lined up to go outside, but not all of us. One particular player, my good friend John Henderson, would go back to the training room. He wasn’t headed there because he was hurt or anything, but he had just a little something extra he used to do to get ready for the game. As a matter of fact, it’s not something I can tell you; it’s something you have to see to believe! 

Now it’s officially game time!

After seeing that, I was ready to knock snot from my opponents. Boy, do I miss game day!  Thanks for checking me out once again. I can’t wait until next week.  

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter @marcusstroud99.